Very little is known about the career of Mauro d'Alai (or d'Alay) except that he was active in the service of Parma cathedral in the periods 1712-26 and 1730-39. Some evidence exists to suggest that in the intervening years he travelled outside Italy, notably to London in March 1726 in the company of the opera singer Faustina Bordoni, by then approaching the height of her career. The few works ascribed to him include violin concertos (in 1727 a set of twelve, his opera prima, was published by Le Cène in Amsterdam) and a cantata for voice, obbligato violin and continuo. Despite the paucity of information, there can be little doubt that d'Alai, nicknamed "il Maurini", was one of the foremost violinist-composers of his generation. Indeed Concerto in C minor conveys something of the virtuosic gusto with which, presumably, he himself played, and shows him to have been a highly capable exponent of the type of solo concerto, with vivid ritornellos and extrovert solo episodes, that by 1720 had been firmly established by Vivaldi. This concerto is special also for its central slow movement in the manner of a recitative (see the Textual Notes in the score).
From Paul Everett's Preface