The Sonata in D major by Heinrich Schmelzer is the fourth of six sonatas published in Nuremberg in 1664 as part of the collection Sonatae unarum fidium
. The original is for violin and continuo, but Elizabeth Wallfisch has made a version for unaccompanied violin, incorporating the simple bass line into the violin texture. Like the Biber Passacaglia, most of the sonata is a set of variations on four descending notes, though in the major rather than the minor. Towards the end the rhythms and forms of two dances, a sarabande and a gigue, are ingeniously incorporated into the variations. The sonata finishes with a free bravura passage. Schmelzer spent all of his career at the Viennese court, and ended up as Kapellmeister in 1679. He was an important influence on Heinrich Biber, and may have been his teacher.
from notes by Peter Holman © 2002