Before the history of the string quartet entered its "classical" phase with Luigi Boccherini in Paris and Joseph Haydn in Vienna, it went through a long process of development marked by exciting experiments and compositional freedom. Italian composers in particular have distinguished themselves in this process and so the programme of Musica Fiorita presents special works by Italian composers from a period of about 100 years. Beginning with two works by Giovanni Maria Bononcini (the father of the famous Giovanni Battista), the development from a continuo accompanied to a continuo free quartet is shown. Alessandro Scarlatti is represented with four quartets from his late work, in which the opera composer turns to polyphonic part writing in an unusually complex and harmonically expressive way. Two compositions by the Italian Maddalena Laura Lombardini Sirmen, which represent the early classical phase of the string quartet, conclude the programme.