Opera in Musica: Carlo Monza Quartets – Europa Galante

April 26, 2022, 9:00 am

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The Naïve label has released an album of six never-before recorded string quartets by 18th-century Milanese composer Carlo Monza, performed by violinist Fabio Biondi and members of his Europa Galante ensemble. With their joyful tone and flirtatious style, Monza’s string quartets could easily be taken for youthful works by Mozart, which is hardly surprising, as the 14-year-old Mozart was in Milan at the time, immersed in its music and its composers. Biondi discovered the virtually unknown Monza while researching Mozart’s travels in Italy. A decade ago, Biondi chanced upon a catalog of manuscripts stored in a private library, including the six string quartets of Monza. Frustratingly, the library denied Biondi access to them, but after a long search he discovered a copy in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. “Monza’s music is so beautiful and reflects so accurately the Milanese school in the second half of the eighteenth century that I wanted to make a recording of it,” says Biondi.