These sonatas are among the epoch-making works of the violin repertoire and nowadays figure in the standard repertoire of every violinist. It is all the more surprising, therefore, that until now there has been no Urtext edition of such significant works.
The score is based on a first edition supervised by Corelli himself. From what we know of performance practice in Corelli’s time, however, more was expected of the violinist than just a musical reading of the printed score: it was customary to add ornamentation verging on improvisation, with embellishment and “variations as desired”. The original score is therefore presented here with the earliest documented ornamentation from a reprint published by Roger in Amsterdam in 1708. This ornamentation is not meant to be slavishly imitated, but to stimulate the player to find their own creative and stylistically confident interpretation of the score. As Roger did not specify any ornaments for the sonatas in the second volume, the “variations as desired” used by Corelli’s pupil Geminiani have been reproduced with the ninth Sonata as an example. Advice on performance is given by the Cologne baroque specialist Reinhard Goebel. This advice does not only apply to ornamentation, but also to articulation, bowings and more besides, calling for specific markings in the separate violin part.
The realisation of the continuo part echoes the fashions of that time. Here too, advice on performance is meant to stimulate free interpretation by the continuo player. A figured bass part is included for the player who prefers to read the accompaniment from figures.