Johann Heinrich Schmelzer is considered the founder of the Austrian violin school. He led violin music in Austria and in Europe to its first peak and influenced many of his younger violinist colleagues. He started his professional career as a violinist and cornett player at the Imperial Court Chapel in Vienna. There, his compositional skills were noticed, and he was appointed Vice-Kapellmeister and finally Court Kapellmeister with a title of nobility by the Emperor. His collection "Sonatae unarum fidium" (Sonatas for one violin), printed in Nuremberg in 1664, established his reputation as an outstanding violinist throughout Europe.
In these six sonatas for violin and basso continuo he breaks all the boundaries of what had been technically possible on the violin up to that time. Schmelzer enriches the bowing technique by inventing new types of strokes, and he takes the left hand to the highest positions of the fingerboard of the time. Through daring harmonic turns in the development of the cycle, he achieves profound musical expression and heart-wrenching atmospheric images, which Gunar Letzbor stages with feeling and technical maturity.