This release celebrates the life and work of Nicola Matteis the Younger. Born in London to an Italian father and English mother, Matteis was immersed in the style of Henry Purcell before leaving England in 1700 for the Imperial Court in Vienna. Starting his Viennese career as a violinist, he moved up the ranks eventually becoming the leader of the court orchestra and the composer of all the ballet music for the court operas and balls. This album showcases music by Matteis himself; music written during his childhood (Purcell); music written for him (Vivaldi); by those with whom he collaborated (Caldara); and by those who may have come to know the English style through his music (Telemann and Brescianello).
Born on Merseyside in 1974, Adrian Chandler is recognised as one of today’s leading interpreters of Italian baroque music. Whilst a student at the Royal College of Music, Adrian founded La Serenissima with whom he has performed as Director/Soloist at major festivals internationally, and has recorded extensively for the Avie label (winning a Gramophone Award in 2010). He has been Guest Director/Soloist with many ensembles, most recently at Oslo Chamber Music Festival. Adrian’s performances have been broadcast extensively worldwide; his disc of virtuoso violin sonatas Per Monsieur Pisendel 2 released in 2014 attracted rave reviews and featured on the soundtrack of hit American TV series The Originals. His interpretation of The Four Seasons was released in 2015 to outstanding critical reception.
Known for his virtuosity and commitment as performer, Adrian also works tirelessly to research and edit new repertoire for La Serenissima. He held an Arts and Humanities Research Council fellowship in 2006 at Southampton University to research the development of the North Italian violin concerto 1690 – 1740, and subsequently a two-year post as Turner Sims Professor. He is curating La Serenissima’s first ever residency The Grand Tour at St John’s Smith Square, London during the 2016/17 season.
La Serenissima was formed in 1994 for a performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s La Sena festeggiante and has now firmly established itself as one of the leading exponents of the music of eighteenth century Venice and connected composers.
Since its first CD release in 2003, La Serenissima has been universally applauded by publications including BBC Music Magazine, Diapason, Gramophone Magazine, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Fanfare Magazine, American Record Guide, The Strad, La Stampa and Goldberg Magazine for its performances on the Avie Label. Their records have variously been nominated for a Gramophone Award (on multiple occasions), included in an elite Forbes List and featured on a hit American television soundtrack. In 2010 the group’s eighth release Vivaldi: The French Connection was awarded the Gramophone Award for Best Baroque Instrumental CD. La Serenissima celebrated its 21st birthday by recording Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Manchester version) alongside works for violino in tromba marina: a reconstruction project undertaken by violinist Adrian Chandler, luthier David Rattray and the musicologist Michael Talbot which was a first in modern times. Released in September 2015, the record entered the UK Specialist Classical Chart at number 8, was featured as ‘Editor’s Choice’ Gramophone Magazine, ‘Concerto Choice’ BBC Music Magazine, voted ‘Classical Album of the Year’ by the Irish Times and was ranked in the Top 3 Picks of Radio 3’s ‘Building a Library – The Four Seasons’ from a catalogue of albums dating back to the 1940s.
The ensemble prides itself on bringing seldom-heard works to the concert platform, including Vivaldi’s operas Ottone in villa, Giustino, Tito Manlio, La Fida Ninfa, Catone in Utica and L’Olimpiade as well as a host of instrumental rarities, many of which have been committed to disc. Works by other composers feature too such as Albinoni’s Il nascimento dell’Aurora and sacred vocal works by Caldara.
La Serenissima has appeared at many of the UK’s leading festivals including Bath Bach, Beverley, Buxton, Cheltenham, Lichfield, South Bank, Spitalfields, Swansea International, Warwick and York Early Music festivals, and venues including St George’s Bristol, Snape Maltings, Cadogan Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall. The group has also appeared in Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malta, Mexico and Spain to great acclaim. Nearly the entire repertoire of La Serenissima is edited by Director Adrian Chandler from manuscript or contemporary printed sources, a testament to its commitment and passion for rare and exciting Italian music; a feat which makes it unique amongst its peers.
Highlights of the 2015/2016 season include the culmination of UK tour The Four Seasons supported by Arts Council England and the beginning of the ensemble’s first ever residency at St John’s Smith Square, London entitled The Grand T our.
Westminster Abbey is not just the place where British monarchs were crowned, it's also the place where many English great men were burried. Among those was also Henry Purcell. This final resting place had a double meaning for him: firstly, with his status as a composer he deserved a spot in the abbey, but secondly this was also the location where he worked during the reign of Charles II and William & Mary. Most people will recognise the last aria of Purcell's beloved opera Dido and Aeneas: "Remember me, but ah! forget my fate." More abstract, but less trenchant are his brilliant Fantasias (for viola da gamba) which Purcell composed in the early 1680s. These are small, at times daringly expirimental works, which he carefully dated. Yet, Purcell mostly developed himself as a composer of vocal music, with numerous odes, 'welcome songs', motets (anthems), songs for domestic use (both sacred and secular, both monophonic and polyphonic) and music for theatre.