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An exuberant set of variations on a ground bass by Nicola Matteis. 

The original version in F major for violins and with a transposed version in G major more suitable for recorders.

Digital Download.


The life of the seventeenth-century violinist and composer Nicola Matteis was the subject of much speculation during his own time: The English writer and amateur musician, Roger North, tells us that ‘his circumstances were low, and it was say’d that he travelled thro’ Germany on foot with his violin under a full coat at his back’. Reports of his playing are akin to those describing Giuseppe Tartini or Paganini. One account of his playing stated that ‘nothing approch’d the Violin in Nicholas hand: he seem’d to be spirtato’d & plaied such ravishing things on a ground as astonish’d us all.’ It is clear that Matteis was one of the first true virtuoso players in England and brought with him the extravagant Italian style so admired by native composers during the last few decades of the 1600s. Matteis published a number of collections of violin pieces starting with Arie diverse per il violin, books 1 and 2, in 1676, which was re-issued four years later with an English title indicating the contents as ‘Preludes, Allmands, Sarabands, Courantes, Gigues, Divisions and Double Compositions’. Books 3 and 4 - Ayres for the Violin to wit Preludes, Fuges, Allmands, Sarabands, Courants, Gigues, Fancies, Divisions, and Likewise Other Passages, Introductions and Fuges for Single and Double Stops, with Divisions Somewhat More Artificial – were published in 1685 and two years later an expanded edition was issued which included ‘The 2nd Treble’ part, making the works trio sonatas in all but name.

Matteis - Ground after the Scotch humour. Digital Download.

  • Scoring: 2 violins, basso continuo (cello, harpsichord, theorbo)

    Contents: Full Score, 4 parts.

    Parts: violin 1, violin 2, basso continuo, continuo realisation

    Total pages: 30

    File size: 11.1  MB

    Work duration: 3'

    Catalogue number: CK0059

    ISMN: 9790708170587

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