Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) was an Italian composer and violin virtuoso. He was most well known for his three main genres of composition: the solo sonata, trio sonata, and concerto. Corelli's influence to music greatly affected form, style, and instrumental technique.
A link to the full score can be found at: Corelli: Violin Sonatas.
Written in 1700, Corelli set the level of expertise required to play his music very high. The most noteworthy aspect of his violin sonatas was the fact that Corelli wrote out the structure of the violin solo line as basic and unornamented with a simple bass line underneath for the continuo. It was then up to the performer (or himself in many cases) to heavily ornament and improvise during the sonata. This use of heavy ornamentation along with a figured bass line signified the Baroque era.
An easy way to identify music belonging to Corelli was the use of the "Corelli Clash." This was a signature compositional trait of Corelli in which the contrapuntal motion of the melodic lines clashed with each other using intervals of sevenths and seconds. Although much easier to detect with multiple instruments, the clash appeared in the second movement where the violin was creating a two voiced melodic line.
In comparison, Vivaldi's violin sonatas were very different than that of Corelli. Vivaldi was the next violin virtuoso after Corelli. Although not any less challenging than Corelli, Vivaldi's music was much more refined and elegant, and consisted of little to no ornamentation (especially in the slow movements). His music was also very structured, whereas Corelli's first violin sonata was more freely composed.
I chose this work because I felt obligated as a former violinist to do so. Also, the rise of instrumental music (strings particularly) is one of my favorite subjects. I also quite enjoy the rise of virtuosity in the baroque era with two of history's most notorious violinists.
Corelli, Arcangelo. "Corelli Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major, op. 5" (video). Accessed March 23, 2014. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNZ6SA1SOxo.
Corelli, Arcangelo. "VI Sonate a Violino Solo e Violone o Cimbalo."
Talbot, Michael. "Corelli, Arcangelo." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed March 23, 2014. http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.proxy.lib.utk.edu:90/subscriber/article_citations/grove/music/06478?q=corelli&search=quick&pos=2&_start=1.
Vivaldi, Antonio. "A. Vivaldi: Op. 2 n. 1 - Sonata for violin and b.c. in g minor (RV 27) / Ensemble Pian and Forte" (video). Accessed March 24, 2014. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kR44VNX2Tw.