James Nares spent his career as a church musician—at York until 1759 and then in the Chapel Royal—and he is best known today for the anthem The souls of the righteous
. In fact, he wrote a good deal of secular music, including three sets of harpsichord lessons. The second set, Op 2, published in 1759, ends with a score of this concerted sonata. It belongs to a hybrid form, mid-way between the concerto and the accompanied sonata, that was cultivated by North of England composers such as Charles Avison, Thomas Ebdon and John Garth; it may therefore have been written before he came to London. Sonatas of this type are normally for keyboard with two violins and cello, but Nares clearly intended a second keyboard to supply a continuo part as well, for the bass part is sometimes figured in places when the solo part has rests or keeps the player fully occupied. Once again the idiom is derived in part from Domenico Scarlatti, but the work has many striking and individual ideas, such as the pizzicato passages in the first movement and the lavish ornamentation in the second.
from notes by Peter Holman © 1994