The Neapolitan violinist and composer Nicola Matteis came to England in about 1670, and caused a sensation with his fine technique and fiery performing style. Most of his music appeared in four books of Ayrs for the Violin
, published by the composer himself in 1676 and 1685. Matteis designed his violin music so that it could be performed in various ways: violin and continuo, two violins and continuo, and string quartet and continuo (though none of the viola parts have survived). Elizabeth Wallfisch has made solo violin versions of four pieces (the fifth, the Fantasia in B flat major, was originally written for solo violin), mixing richly polyphonic abstract movements with lighter dances.
from notes by Peter Holman © 2002