Italian craze

Length of the programme

30’ + 30' = 60 min

Team : 13 musicians

  • Les Muffatti

artistic direction

Les Muffatti


Les Muffatti

Emilie Menz
General Manager
+32 2 503 27 33

Charles AVISON (1709-1770), Concerto in D minor nr. 5 (after D. Scarlatti)
Giuseppe SAMMARTINI (1695-1750), Overture for strings and basso continuo in F major op. 10 nr. 7 • Concerto grosso for strings and basso continuo in A major, op. 5 nr. 4
Pietro CASTRUCCI (1679-1752), Concerto grosso in A minor for strings and basso continuo op. 3 nr. 4
Francesco GEMINIANI (1687-1762), Concerto grosso and basso continuo La follia in D minor, op. 5 n°12 • Concerto grosso for strings and basso continuo in F major, op. 5 no 5

At the beginning of the XVIIIth century, Italian music launched an invasion of England. The first opera to be translated from Italian into English, Stanzani and Franceschini’s Arsinoé, was staged in London in 1705. 

The performance was to mark a turning point in English music history (Arsinoé “was the first opera that gave us a taste of the Italian Music”, wrote an influential London gazette); from then on, and for the rest of the 18th century, Italian opera would enjoy steady and unwavering success. Famous composers and Italian singers settled in London, playing a significant role in developing this new musical style, and other composers (such as Pepush and Handel) did not escape the trend’s unstoppable influence.

Charles Avison, the only Englishman included in the programme, was a particularly popular composer; the group has selected a harpsichord sonata by Domenico Scarlatti rearranged by Avison for string orchestra.

Giuseppe Sammartini, most of whose concertos and overtures were published posthumously, has also been unjustly forgotten. His works were once tremendously successful, even eclipsing Corelli’s popularity. Sammartini’s Overture in F major boasts a delectable galant style.

Pietro Castrucci, one of the best-loved violinists of his generation, led Handel’s orchestra for twenty years. His own compositions are highly individual and full of surprises.

Finally, Francesco Geminiani, the most important violinist to work in England, arranged the sonatas from Corelli’s opus 5 for string orchestra. La Follia is still one of his best-known pieces.

About us

 “Sonorités chaudes et colorées, précision des attaques, vivacité – ou mélancolie – du discours, ce soir-là, les Muffatti étaient irrésistibles. Au charme de la musique se joignit bientôt l’émotion d’une aventure humaine et sociale où se partageaient naturellement – entre musiciens et avec le public – les énergies subtiles, la lumière, la beauté. Tous les concerts devraient ressembler à cela.”

Martine D. Mergeay, La Libre Belgique – 28 novembre 2015