Giovanni Battista Bassani
Balletti, Correnti, Gighe e Sarabande, Opera prima
Sébastien De Brossard, in his Dictionnaire de Musique… (1703) states emphatically that “[…] Sonatas are really great compositions (Fantasies, Preludes…variati etc. ,), of all kinds of movement and expression […] we can find sonatas divided into 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 Parts, but usually they are for Violin solo or Violin duets and a Basso continuo for the harpsichord […] There are, in other words, infinite range of sonata styles, which, however, Italians usually reduce to two. The first genre comprises “church” sonatas […] On the other hand, the second includes those that we call “chamber” sonatas, which means suitable for the chamber. They are, in reality, suites of different short pieces suitable for dancing and composed in the same mode or tone […]”. It is to this second genre that the work “Balletti, Correnti, Gighe e Sarabande à Violino e Violone, overo Spinetta con il secondo violino à beneplacito. . . Opera Prima…” belongs. This is the title of his first instrumental collection, in fact the wording “Suonate da camera” was to appear only in the second edition, which bears the date 1680. The collection comprises twelve “suites”, each of them comprising four dances in the order specified in the title. The indications regarding the timing given by Bassani are very interesting, especially in the sarabands, all twelve of which bear the indication “Presto” or even “Prestissimo”, and are always the last dances.