Nicolò Paganini’s trios for strings and guitar make up a small but significant group of pieces consisting of five works of different lengths, formal structure and difficulty: the Serenata in F major M.S. 115, the Terzetto in A minor M.S. 116, the Serenata in C major M.S. 17, the Terzetto concertante in D major M.S. 114, and the Terzetto in D major M.S. 69. Within this group, the Terzetto M.S. 116 and the Serenata M.S. 116 make up a small diptych for two violins and guitar that can be traced back to Paganini’s juvenile period (1796-1804).
In addition to using the same musical formation, the two pieces also share some compositional features, regarding general formal characteristics as well as the order and the number of movements. Despite their simplicity, the two compositions still have features typical of Paganini’s writing from this period such as their spontaneous cantabilità, the freshness of their musical ideas, pleasant (if perhaps a little naive), and the well-defined sense of form that comes out in these small compositions.