One of the most interesting young musicians of the time was Fabio Biondi
, a violinist from Sicily, born in 1961, who had become interested in the Baroque violin, while studying at the Rome Conservatory. Biondi
had debuted as a Baroque violinist in the esteemed Musikverein of Vienna at 16 and through the 1980s worked with some of the leading international-rank period groups. Skura suggested that he founded his own Baroque period ensemble in the interests of developing an Italian approach to authentic performances.
L'Europa Galante derives its name from the galante style of music that developed after the height of Baroque music and known for its simpler, direct technical means. The new ensemble was an immediate hit in Italy, where it was hailed as a symbol of the rebirth of Baroque music in Italy. Stereo Review
likened the effect of its fresh approach to Baroque music to seeing a well-restored painting by Caravaggio or Tiepolo.
L'Europa Galante was the top act on the Opus 111
label. Its recording of Vivaldi
's The Four Seasons stood out among the several dozen versions of that over-recorded work and became the label's top-selling disc. It was named the best recording of the year by sources in at lease five countries.
Soon the ensemble was a familiar guest at international music festivals and great recital and concert halls. Biondi
, who loves the human voice, eagerly accepted offers to lead the group in Baroque opera and oratorio performances. These included the modern premiere of Handel
's Poro, Caldara
's La Passione de Gesù Cristo, and Alessandro Scarlatti
's La Maddalena and Humanità e Lucifero.
Late in the '90s, L'Europa Galante and Biondi
accepted an offer to join EMI
label. It's first release was another highly successful Vivaldi
project, L'estro armonico, and it has also released the Caldara
Passion on the VirginVeritas
imprint. Further efforts included discs of Vivaldi
's Les Quatre Saisons (2007), Boccherini
(2009), and Ercole (2011).