Suonate per camera e violino, e violoncello, Opera I, Bologna, 1691
A great artistic vitality reigned in the city of Bologna during the second half of the 17th century, the high point of which was certainly represented by the musical activities of the chapel of S. Petronio. Indeed, despite differences in size and cultural context, Bologna might be appropriately compared to the Vienna of nearly a century later, and this comparison leads us to composers who today are unjust considered of mere musicological interest. The flourishing of academies, festivities and public ceremonies (featuring the Concerto Palatino, the best paid position on offer to instrumentalists) favored, or rather demanded, a continuous musical production of diverse tastes and genres, be they sacred, theatrical or instrumental. And it can assuredly be stated that a certain compositional “fervor” has bequeathed to music history works of great interest, which today have been forgotten. In this environment may be placed the figure of Bartolomeo Girolamo Laurenti. Laurenti can unequivocally be considered one of the most significant figures–if not the most significant–of the Bolognese school prior to Corelli. The musical and esthetic substance of his art, as well as his stylistic elements and rhetorical and structural treatment, even if common to a period and employed by all composers, highlight a musician who possessed both great talent and a fascinating personality. In his violin works, such as opus 1 presented here, Laurenti’s thematic inventiveness is of particular importance, with its striking anticipation of Corellian formulas and treatment. Especially brilliant cases in point are the introduction of Suonata VII from op. 1, where an exquisite Grave, continuously calling for rich embellishment (as was the practice of the day), is interrupted by a virtuosic Presto, and the Sarabanda from Suonata III, based on the theme of the “Follia di Spagna”.