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Italian Baroque Violin Sonatas Vol 1 / McGegan, Arcadian Academy


Release Date: 05/08/2001 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 3957067   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Nicola Matteis
Performer:  Katherine KymeDavid BowlesDavid TaylorNicholas McGegan,   ... 
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcadian Academy
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Devotees of John Evelyn's diary may recall an entry for November 19th, 1674 in which he extolled the virtues of "that stupendious Violin Signor Nicholao ... whom certainly never mortal man Exceeded on that Instrument: he had a streak so sweete, & made it speake like the Voice of a man; & when he pleased, like a Consort of severall Instruments: he did wonders upon a Note: was an excellent Composer also. . . he seem'd to be spiritato'd & plaieed such ravishing things on a ground as astonish'd us all". This was a reference to the Italian musician Nicola Matteis who came to England in the early 1670s, and was, in Roger North's opinion "very poor, but inexpugnably proud" but who became wealthy through his violin Read more playing, bought a large house in Norfolk and retired there in 1714.

I cannot recall previously ever having heard a note of Metteis's compositions before the arrival of this excellent anthology. The two sonatas and four suites in this programme are drawn from Matteis's four books of Ayres for the Violin. Books I and 2 were published in 1676 and Books 3 and 4 in 1685; two years later Matteis issued second violin parts to the third and fourth books. Four of the works chosen here are for two violins (Book 4) while the remaining pieces, one each from Books 1 and 2, are for solo violin.

I found both the music and the playing full of character and vitality. There is a strong element of fantasy here and a marked predilection for technical display whose presence fully endorses the opinion of Evelyn, North and others. Sometimes, especially in variation movements such as the captivating Andamento con divisione of the A major Suite, Matteis approaches the manner of his Bohemian contemporary, Biber; in other more conventionally dance-oriented movements it is his compatriot Corelli who most frequently comes to mind. But there is a real spark of individuality in most of these pieces and this is fully realized, both by the imaginative approach of the two violinists, Elizabeth Blumenstock and Katherine Kyme, and by a supportive continuo group whose varied colours drawn from a pool of organ, harpsichord, cello, archlute and guitar are an effective addition. Readers need investigate no further than the Prelude of the Suite in A major (track 1) to be convinced both by the stylishness of the performance and by the charm of the music itself. But they will find much else, too, to beguile the senses. Outstanding, perhaps are teh Bizzarie sopra un basso Malinconico engagingly subtitled "A Pretty hard ground" (track 31) and an Aria Amoroso tinged with melancholy. Documentation is helpful and recorded sound far superior to some previous issues from this US division of Harmonia Mundi. Strongly recommended.

– Gramophone [9/1992], reviewing the original release of this title, HM 907067
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Works on This Recording

1.
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4: Suite in A major by Nicola Matteis
Performer:  Katherine Kyme (Violin), David Bowles (Cello), David Taylor (Guitar),
David Taylor (Archlute), Nicholas McGegan (Harpsichord), Elizabeth Blumenstock (Violin)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcadian Academy
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1685; London, England 
2.
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4: Suite in D minor by Nicola Matteis
Performer:  Katherine Kyme (Violin), Elizabeth Blumenstock (Violin), David Taylor (Guitar),
David Bowles (Cello), David Taylor (Archlute), Nicholas McGegan (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcadian Academy
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1685; London, England 
3.
Ayres for the Violin, Book 2: Suite in G minor by Nicola Matteis
Performer:  Katherine Kyme (Violin), David Taylor (Guitar), David Bowles (Cello),
David Taylor (Archlute), Nicholas McGegan (Harpsichord), Elizabeth Blumenstock (Violin)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcadian Academy
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1676; London, England 
4.
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4: Suite in E minor by Nicola Matteis
Performer:  Nicholas McGegan (Harpsichord), David Taylor (Archlute), Katherine Kyme (Violin),
David Bowles (Cello), David Taylor (Guitar), Elizabeth Blumenstock (Violin)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcadian Academy
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1685; London, England 
5.
Ayres for the Violin, Book 1: Sonata in C minor by Nicola Matteis
Performer:  David Taylor (Guitar), Elizabeth Blumenstock (Violin), Katherine Kyme (Violin),
David Bowles (Cello), David Taylor (Archlute), Nicholas McGegan (Organ)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcadian Academy
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1676; London, England 
6.
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4: Sonata in C major by Nicola Matteis
Performer:  Nicholas McGegan (Harpsichord), David Taylor (Archlute), David Taylor (Guitar),
David Bowles (Cello), Katherine Kyme (Violin), Elizabeth Blumenstock (Violin)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcadian Academy
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1685; London, England 

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