The Trio Sonata, in its various manifestations, came to be the most popular instrumental form at the close of the seventeenth century and in the first half of the following century, only superseded, in course of time, by the classical string quartet. It represented an ideal economy of means, in that it needed minimally only three or, more usually, four performers, while capable of expansion into a full concerto grosso by the addition of ripieno players to reinforce the louder sections. As it developed the Baroque trio sonata came to encompass two generally distinguishable categories of work, the Sonata da chiesa or Church Sonata, with its alternation of slow and fast movements, the latter generally fugal in character, and the Sonata da camera, a suite of dance movements.
Most commonly the trio sonata demanded the services of four players. Two melody instruments, normally violins, although publishers allowed some latitude in the matter, however unrealistically, were supplemented by a bass melody instrument and a chordal instrument in the form of a harpsichord, organ or lute. It was, however, always possible to play trio sonatas without chordal filling from the keyboard or its equivalent. Published music sometimes described the second violin part as optional, although such an omission would normally be impossible. Generally trio sonatas would be issued with only three part-books, the third to be shared by keyboard-player and player of the viola da gamba, cello or violone. In texture they might differ between sonatas in which each melody instrument held a contrapuntal line and sonatas in which the lowest instrument simply provided a harmonic basis for melodic interchange between the violins, or a close shadowing of the first by the second.
Georg Philipp Telemann, godfather of Johann Sebastian Bach's son Carl Philipp Ernanuel, who succeeded him as director of music in Hamburg in 1767, enjoyed greater fame than Bach in his own life-time. It was he who, as a student, established the Leipzig University Collegium Musicum that Bach later directed in that city, and it was he who was a preferred candidate for the position of Thomascantor that Bach eventually took in 1723. Telemann, descended from a family with strong clerical connections in Lutheran Germany, was prolific and versatile as a composer, providing quantities of music, both sacred and secular, for professional and amateur use alike. In common with most of his contemporaries he w rote trio sonatas in modest profusion, a hundred or so in all, many of them allowing some latitude in choice of instrumentation. The Trio Sonata in A minor included in the present collection opens with a movement marked Affettuoso, a common indication in an age in which the musical interpretation of the affetti was of supreme importance, although Telernann's affettuoso is nearer the galant than the classical.
Johann Rosenm�ller studied in the theological faculty of the University of Leipzig and in 1642 embarked on a career as teacher of music at the Thomasschule, where Johann Sebastian Bach was to be employed in the following century. A scandal prevented his appointment as Cantor in 1655 and he took refuge later in Venice, where he soon established himself as a composer of importance, being employed for a time at the Ospedale della Pieta, where Vivaldi later made his career. He later returned to Germany as Kapellmeister at Wolfenb�ttel, where he died in 1684. He left a large quantity of church music and a smaller amount of instrumental music, including sonatas for various numbers of instruments.
Arcangelo Corelli was a leading figure in Italian music at the close of the seventeenth century and in the first decade of the eighteenth. A product of the well known musical establishment at S. Petronio in Bologna, by 1675 he had moved to Rome, where he continued to exercise a marked influence on the course of violin-playing and on the form of music for the violin and for string orchestra, at first as musician to Queen Christina of Sweden and later as master of music to Cardinal Pamphili. In 1690 Pope Alexander VIII's nephew, the young Cardinal Ottoboni, became his patron and friend, a relationship that continued until the composer's death early in 1713. His compositions, which exercised the strongest influence over his contemporaries and subsequent generations, include a set of twelve Concerti grossi, published posthumously, a dozen solo sonatas, published in 1700, and 48 earlier trio sonatas, in two sets of which the arch-lute is specifically prescribed as a continuo instrument, an alternative, it seems, to the violone.
For many years in the mid-eighteenth century Johann Adolf Hasse occupied an unassailable position as one of the most distinguished composers of Italian opera seria, the supreme musical and dramatic form of the Enlightenment. Born at Bergedorf, near Hamburg, in 1699, he started his career at the Hamburg opera as a singer. He later moved to Italy, becoming a Catholic and working first in Naples. He divided his later career between Italy and Germany, employed particularly in Venice, Dresden and Vienna. He died in Venice in 1783. Hasse's compositions include a considerable amount of church music and some sixty operas. In addition to this he w rote a number of concertos and some two dozen trio sonatas, as well as solo sonatas for the keyboard and for other instruments. The C major Trio Sonata exemplifies Hasse's italianate style, with its easy command of melody and attractively balanced textures.
Minghino dal violoncello, as Domenico Gabrielli was known to contemporaries in Bologna, was a pupil of the composer Legrenzi in Venice and in his native Bologna a pupil of the cellist Franceschini at the basilica of S. Petronio, where he was employed as cellist from 1680, a position he held intermittently until his death in 1690. As a composer he wrote a dozen operas and a variety of vocal music, sacred and secular. His instrumental music includes a collection of Balletti, gighe, correnti, allemande e sarabande, published in 1684 as Opus 1, and notable additions to the repertoire of the solo trumpet, works in which his own instrument, the cello, often assumes importance.
Anton Diabelli really has no part in the history of the trio sonata, a purely Baroque form, replaced in the later eighteenth century by the string quartet. Better known as a very successful music publisher, Diabelli, a native of Salzburg, where he was born in 1781, the year Mozart left the town for good, was trained as a musician and later taught piano and guitar in Vienna. Employment as a publisher's reader led him in 1817 to acquire his own share in a publishing-house, of which he later gained control. This enjoyed the greatest success, helped by Diabelli's own experience as a musician and his musical and commercial perception. His delightful Trio for two violins and guitar is a work of great charm, firmly classical in style, from its opening March to the final diverting Allegretto, scored, no doubt, with an eye to the current amateur market.
Anna and Quido H�lbling
Anna and Quido H�lbling studied at the College for Music and Drama in Bratislava and formed a duo in 1969. Mr. H�lbling won the title of laureate at the 1967 Wieniawski Competition and the couple have performed in many recitals and concerts at several of the major festivals including the Salzburg Festival. In 1983 they were founder members of the Capella Istropolitana, the chamber group of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra.
This outstanding Slovak guitarist is a graduate of the College of Music and Drama in Bratislava and, as a soloist, has made many recordings of both Baroque and contemporary guitar concertos.