An Englishman Abroad, the latest release from La Serenissima, 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. In 1700 he left England for the Imperial Court in Vienna. All of the music on the album is – rather fortuitously – Carolean; either written for Charles II of England, or for (or in the realm of) Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI.
The majority of La Serenissima’s work, such as Forza Azzurri!, focuses on Antonio Vivaldi and his Italian contemporaries. However, An Englishman Abroad has an obviously English theme focussing on works by Nicola Matteis, as well as those which would have influenced or been influenced by him.
It is all too easy to think that the English style and English musicians were unknown on the continent in the early C18. However, this selection of music shows that this wasn’t (always) the case. There are some cracking dances and dance suites featured here as well as a ravishingly beautiful Vivaldi concerto and two superb Chaconnes, one by an Englishman, and one by an Italian.
An Englishman Abroad comprises works from Nicola Matteis the Younger, Henry Purcell, Telemann, Antonio Caldera, Vivaldi and Brescianello.