On April 22, Naïve Classiques will release an album of six previously unreleased string quartets by 18th-century Milanese composer Carlo Monza, performed by violinist Fabio Biondi and members of his Galante Europe together: violinist Andrea Rognoni, violist Stefano Marcocchi and cellist Alessandro Andriani.
With their cheerful tone and flirtatious style, the Monza String Quartets could easily be mistaken for Mozart’s early works, which is hardly surprising, since the then 14-year-old Mozart was in Milan at the time. time, immersed in its music and its composers: Sammartini, Lampugnani and Monza.
Fabio Biondi discovered the almost unknown Carlo Monza while researching Mozart’s travels in Italy. “I was trying to find out what characterized the writing of the composers at the court of the Duke of Milan, and how Mozart, then a young man of fourteen, had understood it himself in order to be accepted by the local public”, writes Biondi. . “So I started by looking at Milanese composers of the time, who basically had three names: Giovanni Battista Sammartini, probably the most important, Giovanni Battista Lampugnani and Carlo Monza.” Ten years ago, Biondi stumbled upon a catalog of manuscripts held in a private library, including the six Monza String Quartets. Frustratingly, the library refused Biondi access, but after a long search he discovered that a copy was in the National Library of France. “Monza’s music is so beautiful and so faithfully reflects the Milanese school of the second half of the 18th century that I wanted to make a recording of it”, explains Biondi.
The six quartets are characterized by lyrical form and evocative subtitles. The style of vocal composition – down to the recitatives played by the violins or the viola in Gli amanti rivali or Opera in musica, where the purely instrumental lines seem to be guided by the rhythm of an invisible text – shows real art. drama, a series of colorful mini-pieces (Gli amanti rivali, La fucina di Vulcano), moods (Divertimento notturno, La caccia) and feelings (Gli amanti rivali, Il giuocatore).
“The general public knows the most famous composers, but I believe it is always important to play those who remain in the shadows but who have contributed just as much to the richness of the history of music and to the construction of new forms”, continues Biondi. “Monza was an important and versatile composer, as can be seen in all of his instrumental, symphonic or lyrical music that we have at our disposal today.” Opera in music – Carlo Monza Quartets Europa Galante
Fabio Biondi, violin
Andrea Rognoni, violin
Stefano Marcocchi, viola
Alessandro Andriani, cello
Carlos Monza (1735-1801)
Quartet in C major “gli amanti rivali”
Quartet in D major “opera in music”
Quartet in F major “la fucina di vulcano”
Quartet in B flat major “il giuocatore”
Quartet in G minor “divertimento notturno”
Quartet in E flat major “la caccia” About Fabio Biondi
In 1989, after extensive work with specialized ensembles such as Les Musiciens du Louvre and The English Concert, Fabio Biondi founded Europa Galante, which quickly became the first Italian period ensemble. Fabio Biondi and his ensemble have earned a reputation for “fresh and vibrant performances” (New York Times) and breathe new life into the Baroque, Classical and Romantic repertoire, performing at major international festivals and venues, including recently the Berlin Pierre Boulez Saal, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Wiener Konzerthaus, Enescu Festival and Edinburgh International Festival.
Fabio Biondi brings this authentic and engaging approach to modern symphony and chamber orchestras, which he conducts and conducts from the violin. Recent and future highlights include the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, RAI Torino, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, the Mahler Chamber Orchestras and the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg. He was artistic director of baroque music with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra for eleven years until 2016. Fabio Biondi’s passion for opera brings him to the greatest theaters including the Zurich Opera, the Staatsoper unter den Linden in Berlin and in 2020 at the Grand Théâtre de Genève for the novel by Luk Perceval. Mozart production Die Entführung aus dem Serail. From 2015 to 2018 he was musical director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, where he conducted productions by Donizetti, Rossini, Haydn and Verdi Il Corsaro. As a violinist, he has given recitals around the world, including at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Auditorio Nacional de Música Madrid and the City of Music. His extensive discography has earned him a growing list of major accolades, including several BBC Editor’s Choice Awards, Echo Klassics, Diapason and three GRAMMY Award nominations.
Fabio Biondi has been an Academician of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia since 2011. In 2015 he was named an Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture, and in 2019 the Polish government awarded him the Medal of Courage and Veracity in recognition of his outstanding cultural achievements, in particular for his new interpretation of the works of Stanisław Moniuszko during his long collaboration with the Chopin Festival in Warsaw.