At the end of the 17th century, the violin is on the point of achieving artistic supremacy all over Europe. England remains the last stronghold of the viola, the quintessential aristocratic instrument, carrying the values of nobility and emotion which music is supposed to incarnate and taking at the time French style as a model. It was a musician hailing from Naples who was to introduce London to the delights of the violin and the spice of Italian music, for which the British would become passionate. We ignore almost everything about this Nicola Matteis, except that he « polished and refined English ears and made them fit and eager for the sonatas » (Charles Burney).
It is therefore an essential link in the history of English baroque music, which Hélène Schmitt and her partners lead us to discover for the first time, in a recording marked by exuberant joy.