Mönkemeyer discussed the work with The Violin Channel and the influence of Alessandro Rolla, the teacher of legendary violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini.
"Alessandro Rolla was widely recognized in his time as one of the foremost and influential teachers as well as a traveling soloist," said Mönkemeyer.
"As a violinist and violist, he is mostly remembered as being the teacher of Niccolo Paganini. That's what draws my attention to this interesting musical figure in the first place and made me discover a huge oeuvre of concertos, sonatas, pedagogical works, and countless original pieces for viola. What a discovery!
"As a teacher in Milano, Rolla wrote over a hundred short pieces all bundled up as a collection of manuscripts. Solo pieces, etudes, adaptions of famous areas, small pieces for viola with various instrumental accompaniments are among these manuscripts. I chose two beautiful miniatures for my Italian Album, including his "Arpeggio in E flat major," to build a bridge for the listener from Tartini to Paganini.
"Some generous person scanned lots of Rolla's manuscripts and put them on imslp.org so they are freely available for everyone.
"The transition from baroque virtuosic style like Vivaldi until Paganini happened within in relatively short amount of time. The instrumental playing changed tremendously under the influence of Rossini. The lyrical style of melodic playing and composing for instruments arose which had their roots in opera and were oriented on melodies seemingly having the human voice. Rolla adapted six arias from operas for the solo viola, one of which I included in my recording.
"The Rolla is short and a precious little gemstone that opens the door to Paganini entering center stage. Nothing overly intricate, unhurried, like a fleeting memory from the past."
ALESSANDRO ROLLA | "ARPEGGIO IN E FLAT MAJOR, BI 7" | NILS MONKEMEYER | 2021