Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713) was one of the most sought-after violin teachers in Italy and his pupils included Castrucci, Gasparini, Geminiani, Bonporti and Locatelli. His set of twelve Violin Sonatas, Op 5, published in 1700 and dedicated to the Electress Sophia of Brandenburg, was a landmark in the history of violin playing. Over forty further editions of it appeared during the eighteenth century. Francesco Geminiani even produced a successful arrangement of the Sonatas as concerti grossi. The most famous Sonata of the set was No 12. Cast as a single movement in the form of a chaconne, it is almost too well known to invite comment, but mention should be made of Corelli’s unprecedented instinct for the overall balance of the variations; he always judges exactly when to succeed fast with slow, hectic with calm. And lest the role of the accompanist be forgotten, the Sonata ends with a sequence of dazzling semiquavers for the basso continuo. Although the famous ‘La Folia’ tune had appeared in dozens of arrangements during the seventeeth century this was its first taste of the exalted world of the sonata.
from notes by Tim Crawford © 1987