At the end of the Thirty Years War, the desire of the imperial court in Vienna to assert its prestige by means of music led to the emergence of a generation of extraordinarily gifted musicians who expressed themselves with virtuosity, humour and profundity. Schmelzer, Kerll and Biber are its leading figures. For the festivities of the Carnival season, in which music occupied a privileged place, they delighted their audiences with truculent works imitating the sounds of nature and of everyday life. And in response to the tastes of the Emperor Leopold I, who enjoyed contrapuntal music in the imitative style, they composed sonatas that have the power to elevate mind and soul.