One of our favorite pieces in Dragonas and String Theory is called “Sonata sopra la Monica” arranged by Sarah Wallin Huff. It was originally written by Biagio Marini (c. 1597 – 1665), a Baroque violinist and composer who lived and worked in northern Italy. Born in Brescia in c. 1597, Marini served as violinist under Monteverdi at St Mark’s in Venice from 1615 – 18. He also worked as a court musician in Parma from 1621 – 3 and as a Choirmaster for S. Maria della Scala in Milan in 1649.
We owe much to the violin music of the Italian Baroque, for it was this style which first helped bring the violin to the forefront as a serious instrument. It was compositions such as “Sonata sopra” which were disseminated throughout Europe, giving the violin a permanent place in European and later world music. Northern Italy is the birthplace of the violin, and Marini really knew how to write for the instrument! “Sonata sopra la Monica” is a flashy piece typical of the Italian Baroque. Written for two violins and basso continuo, this marvelous piece alternates between homophonic textures and sections which are more like a “competition” between the violins who answer each other with “one-ups”. The piece welcomes the addition of improvised ornamentation in the forms of trills, runs, mezza di voce, and an over-the-top final cadence. Its opening statement returns frequently in between sections of contrasting texture. You can find the original score at the IMSPL Petrucci Music Library website:
 “The Oxford Dictionary of Music”, revised edition, ed. Michael Kennedy, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 549.