Most of the information that we have regarding Giovanni Battista Fontana comes from the preface of a posthumously published collection of his compositions. Published in 1641, eleven years after his death from the plague, Fontana’s lone collection consisted of sonatas for one, two, or three parts. His own instrument was the violin, a fact that is artfully announced in the preface:
Fontana was one of the most singular violin virtuosi of his time. He was well known not only in his native city, but also in Venice, Rome and finally Padua, where like a dying swan, he displayed more marvelously than ever the sweetness of his music…
The music within Fontana’s collection varies quite drastically in style and notational method, reflecting trends in Italian sonata composition during the first third of the seventeenth century.
We will now listen to a selection for violin and continuo from Fontana’s Sonate per il violino, o cornetto, fagotto, chitarone, violincino o simile altro istromento (Sonatas for violin or cornetto, bassoon, chitarrone, violincello, or other similar instruments). Concitato performs Fontana’s Sonata No. 2 in D Major for violin and continuo…
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Podcast produced by Joshua Sauvageau