Nicola Matteis

(fl. c. 1660—1708) violinist and composer

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(b ?Naples; d ?London, c.?1707). Italian violinist and composer. He arrived in England about 1670; John Evelyn (Diary, 19 November 1674) noted:I heard that stupendous violin, Signor Nicholao … whom I never heard mortal man exceed on that instrument. He had a stroke so sweet, and made it speak like the voice of a man, and, when he pleased, like a concert of several instruments. He did wonders upon a note, and was an excellent composer.Matteis's ability was also much praised by Roger North, according to whom Matteis became so wealthy and sought after that he bought a grand house, and ‘lived luxuriously, which brought diseases upon him of which he died’. Matteis's most interesting works are the ‘ayres’ for one or two violins and bass, including suites of dances and more serious, fugal pieces. In 1682 he published a treatise, The False Consonances of Musick: Instructions for Playing a Thorough-Base upon the Guitarre, and in 1696 and 1699 two volumes entitled A Collection of New Songs.


From The Oxford Companion to Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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