Pezel ACRONYM (2-DISC)
Johann Christoph Pezel was born in what is now Poland, but spent much of his career in Leipzig, Germany, occupying various positions within the city's musical hierarchy. Pezel's Opus Musicum Sonatarum was published in Frankfurt in 1686, and he dedicated it to the councils of the “Hexapolis,” the six principal cities of Upper Lusatia (Bautzen, Gorlitz, Lauban, Kamenz, Lobau, and Zittau). Opus Musicum Sonatarum is a collection of twenty-five sonatas for two violins, three violas, bassoon or violone, and basso continuo.
The sonatas are organized by key; two sets of twelve sonatas each have key signatures in a sequence of ascending fifths starting from G (with a diminished fifth from E to B-flat to prevent travel to overly difficult keys). Perhaps the most idiosyncratic aspect of Opus Musicum Sonatarum is that each of the first twenty-four sonatas was given an alphabetical feminine name (e.g., Abella, Baccha, Cadmea . . . Xantippea, Yvana, Zacchantea). Many of these represent historical and mythological characters; for instance, Xantippea and Dejanira respectively were the wives of Socrates and Heracles.