WILLIAM CROFT (1678-1727)
1: Violin Sonata in g minor
    Adagio / Allegro / Adagio / (Gigue)
2: Violin Sonata in b minor
    Adagio / Allegro / Grave / (Gigue)

WILLIAM BOYCE (1710-1779)
3: Symphony No. 1 in B Major, Op 2
    Allegro / Moderato e dolce / Allegro
4. Trio Sonata No. 2 in F Major
     Andante Vivace / Adagio / Allegro / Allegro ma non troppo
5: Symphony No. 7 in B Major, Op. 2
    Andante Spirituoso / Moderato / Gigue (Allegro assai)
6: Trio Sonata No. 8 in E flat Major
    Largo / Allegro / Siciliana / Tempo di Minuetto: Allegro
7: Symphony No. 8 in d minor, Op. 2
    Pomposo-Allegro / Largo (Andante) / Tempo di Gavotta (Risoluto)
8: Trio Sonata No. 12 in G Major
    Moderato / Tempo di Gavotta - Dolce

With fifty some years between them yet sharing a remarkably similar musical background, the two composers represented on this disc span a wide range of English music. The first half of the 1700s was a prosperous time for England, and for London especially, expressing itself among other ways in the form of private and public music-making, in homes, theatres and public gardens.

William Croft's Violin Sonatas were published in 1700 by John Walsh. They are highly enjoyable works, despite being some of the earliest examples of English sonatas for solo violin.

A very popular figure of whom everyone spoke well, William Boyce's Eight Symphonies were published by Walsh in London in 1760 and were titled as: "Eight Symphonies in eight parts. Six for Violins, French Horns and Trumpets, with a bass for the Violoncello and Harpsichord. Opera Seconda." The words "opera seconda" suggest that these works had been in existence for some considerable time before their publication probably in manuscript form. During the 1740s Boyce became involved with the theater. He abandoned the theater in 1760, the year in which his Eight Symphonies were published. The link between these two facets of his life can be found in the Symphonies themselves, the movements of which are drawn largely from opera overtures and incidental music. These light and varied works were clearly intended for entertainment in the popular London pleasure gardens of Vauxhall and Ranelagh, as well as for performance by the many musical societies which had grown up during the middle years of eighteenth century London.

The Trio Sonatas also on this disc were published in 1747 as "Twelve Sonatas for two Violins; with a bass for the Violoncello or Harpsichord" – and they were an immediate success. Burney tells us that they were: "longer and more generally purchased, performed, and admired, than any productions of the kind in this kingdom, except those of Corelli. They were not only in constant use, as chamber Music, in private concerts, for which they were originally designed, but in our theatres, as act-tunes, and our gardens, as favourite pieces, during many years." Published by subscription, they were immediately sold out, and reprinted several times thereafter.

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Recorded in the Oryx Sound Studios, Walton-on-Thames. Producer: Michael Meacock. Recording Engineer: Lawrence Meacock. Musical instruments used by the Soloists: Violins: Franciscus Pressenda, Turin 1848 and Richard Tobin, London 1820. 'Cello: Matteo Gofriller, Venice 1710. Harpsichord: Feldberg F.3, 1960.

Baroque Music Library