Antonio Bertali was born in 1605 in Verona. In 1624 he moved to Vienna, where he was hired as a violinist and composer at the Habsburg Court and eventually served as Supremus Musices Praefectus of the Imperial orchestra. Following the death of Giovanni Valentini in 1649, King Ferdinand III appointed BertaliKappellmeister—then the highest musical position in German-speaking lands—a post which he held until his death in 1669. Bertali was a prolific composer of both sacred and secular music, ranging from oratorios and operas to instrumental sonatas, but few of his works were published and almost none survive. Nearly all of Bertali’s extant instrumental compositions (including twelve of the thirteen found in this recording) come from manuscript copies now located in libraries in Kromeriz, Uppsala, or Wolfenbüttel. Several pieces have concordant copies in more than one location, with slightly varying notes, rhythms, and instrumentations (e.g., trombones or bassoons replacing viols).
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