Giovanni Bononcini ( 1670-1747)
The Divertimenti da Camera, published in 1722 and dedicated to the duke of Rutland, represented Bononcini’s first occasion to present himself to the cultured and influential society of London. By designating these works “for Violin or Flute”, the author intended not only to reach a larger number of potential buyers, but also to become known to the worlds of both professional and amateur musicians. In the same year the collection was reprinted twice in a version for solo harpsichord. This version did not contain significant changes; only some keys were altered and the Divertimento VII was exchanged for VIII. In the following years Bononcini published other chamber sonatas, well aware of the importance of keeping in step with the tastes of the public not only in his theatrical activities. In the Divertimenti, the composer invariably demonstrates a fine sensibility for the cantabile line, while the bass in the slow movements is often set as a dialogue with the recorder. It seemed appropriate in this version to utilize different instruments for the basso continuo of the various movements, choosing the forces according to the design of the bass line, the type of harmonic progressions and , above all, the diverse expressive and affective character of each movement. For some of these pieces we have preferred to use the solo harpsichord; elsewhere we have added the theorbo.