Travelling Musicians

Are you missing travelling overseas?

In such a travel deprived time, I would like to take you to the musical journey throughout Europe, from South to North.

Have you ever imagined how it was like to travel in the 17th century Europe before the advent of rails? It should not have been so easy even for those young men from the wealthy family, like John Evelyn, who enjoyed popular Grand Tour by ship and coach.

How about, then, for those young and poor musicians in Italy who tried to pursue their way to London to make their careers?

Very little is known of his early life, although the Italian violinist Nicola Matteis (fl. c. 1670 – after 1713) was probably born in Naples, and arrived in London in the early 1670s.

Nicola Matteis, violinist

Roger North wrote in his diary

his circumstances were low, and it was said that he travelled thro’ Germany on foot with his violin under a full coat at his back.’

This poor but talented violinist was welcomed by amateurs in London quickly, but as North revealed here, he has some problems in his attitude.

“…his pride and arrogance was incomparable, and if he had not found that easy merchant (who sponsored Matteis), he had starved before he could have known…”

However, Matteis enjoyed great artistic and commercial success with his published music, notably four books of Ayres in 1676 and 1685.

John Evelyn described his rare talent as below.

“I heard that stupendious Violin Signor Nichola whom certainly never mortal man exceeded on that instrument, he had a stroak so sweete, made it speaking like the Voice of a man and when he pleased, like a Consort of several Instruments: he did wonders upon a Note…

Matteis is credited with changing the English taste for violin playing from the French style to a newer, Italian one.

In our upcoming concert ‘Wonders Upon a Note’, Asuka on violin and Johan on theorbo will take you to the journey through European countries, departing from Venice to Versaille, Habsburg’s Vienna to North Germany and you will be back to London safely with Signor Matteis!

Sit back and enjoy your imaginary flight!
Ticket >>

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