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G 12.018 CoverGiovanni Battista Fontana (died 1631)
Sonata Sesta Decima (16)

for 3 recorders (SSA) and basso continuo
Edited by Martin Nitz
Realization of the thorough bass by Martin Nitz

Girolamo G 12.018, score and 4 parts, € 16,00
ISMN 979-0-50084-031-2

sample page

G 12.017 G 12.019






The only work of Fontana’s that has survived1) is his collection of 18 sonatas under the title

SONATE / A 1 2 3 per il Violino, o Cornetto, Fa- / gotto, Chitarone, Violoncino o /
simile altro Istromento, / ...

This first appeared in print in Venice in 1641, 10 years after Fontana’s death. The foreword to this publication is the only source of information available about the circumstances of his life. It states that Fontana was born in Brescia and that he was a celebrated violinist in Venice, Rome and Padua, where he died of the plague in 1631.

Although intended primarily for the violin, some of the sonatas, including the one here, are eminently suited for performance on recorders – preferably on so-called “Ganassi-recorders”2). A treble recorder in G is recommended for the third voice, as noted by Aurelio Virgiliano (about 1600) or Antonio Brunelli (1614)3).

For this new edition the accidentals have been adapted to modern practice; random bar lines have been unified and the figured bass realised (the bass figures in brackets are intended as a guide when improvising the bass part). A small organ or harpsichord is suitable for playing the basso continuo, preferably supported by a lute or chitarrone.

Translation: Julia Whybrow

Hamburg, June 1999, Martin Nitz


1) Facsimile edition by M. Castellani, published by Studio per Edizione Scelte, Florence.

2) The title of the publication likewise stipulates a wind instrument.

3) The sonata has been transposed a fourth downwards, thus avoiding the high register of three descant recorders. As a result, an occasional exchange of voices was unavoidable.