Giovannino del Violone – Sonata in A Minor

Very little is known about the composer of this work. The scores for this sonata and a number of others were placed in the library of the Faculty of Music at the University of Oxford at the end of the seventeenth century, and these were later catalogued in the nineteenth century. They were left unbound for ease of playing, suggesting that they had been performed in the composer’s time, but other than this little is known. Of the three pieces in this collection which share the instrumentation of violone and continuo, one is signed ‘Giovannino del Violone’ (in English: Little John, the violone player). It is not known whether the other two pieces in the collection, including this one, were also by Giovannino, though this work is commonly attributed to him. This is a charming work of intermediate difficulty that is a great example of early music for the string bass.