In the second half of the seventeenth century, London experienced an artistic golden age, with the arrival of many foreign musicians and the proliferation of theatres and concert halls where audiences came to listen to the stars of the moment.
One of these musicians was the Italian Nicola Matteis, who arrived around 1660 and became the sensation of the London music scene. Purcell was only a child at the time and there is no record of their meeting, but it is very likely that he was familiar with Matteis’s works, including his Ayres, recorded here for the first time in a version for four-part consort. Exploration of this London effervescence yields to some surprising discoveries, such as the music of a mysterious composer who published trio sonatas around 1715 under the name Mrs Philarmonica. Le Consort presents the very first recording of this highly interesting music, probably influenced by Corelli and very likely written by a woman composer who, given the conventions of the time, made use of a pseudonym. Her true identity is unfortunately unknown to us.