This is a recording which truly challenges the accepted norms of musical recording and it does so triumphantly. The sound is full and rich, being recorded in a great church. Lislevand's control of sonority is at times stunning, his tone always sweet and strong. The pieces are tastefully arranged into suites, balanced and whole. And the disc even includes snippets of bird and animal sounds which invaded the recording sessions from the cool night air and nearby lake. Added to this, the liner notes are exemplary, full of insight into the composers' of the disc as well as the opinions and ideas on historical performance. Highlights of this recording are the Canaries by Gaultier and Tombeau du Mezangeau, by the same.
In this wonderful solo album, Norwegian early music performer Rolf Lislevand turns his attention to the music of two composers from the court of Louis XIV: Robert de Visée (c. 1655-1732) and the Italian-born Francesco Corbetta (c. 1615-1681), and plays their masterpieces with historical awareness and an inventiveness which belongs to the tradition. De Visée wrote about playing what the instruments themselves called for, advice Lislevand takes to heart, adding improvised introductions to passacaglias from both composers. He uses two contrasting instruments here, the small Baroque guitar with its sparkling, crystal-clear sonorities and the theorbo, the dark-toned and earthy king of the lutes.
In this wonderful solo album, Norwegian early music performer Rolf Lislevand turns his attention to the music of two composers from the court of Louis XIV: Robert de Visée (c. 1655-1732) and the Italian-born Francesco Corbetta (c. 1615-1681), and plays their masterpieces with historical awareness and an inventiveness which belongs to the tradition.
The Vivaldi Concerto for mandolin and orchestra, RV 425, was an essential component of the 1970s classical LP collection – with the mandolin amped up so loud in order to compete with a large orchestral string section that it sounded like an electric guitar blazing through an arena rock concert. Things have improved a bit since then, but balance between soloists and ensemble has always been a problem with the works featured on this release. The problem has rarely been solved so nicely as it is here. The group of string players used, a fine pan-European set of historical-performance specialists, is not especially small, and lutenist/guitarist/mandolinist Rolf Lislevand is elegant and clean but not arresting on his own. The key is how the whole ensemble works together to bring out the solos, sensitively shaping lines while keeping dynamic levels low enough to set off the soloists – and, in trio-sonata works, defining the relationships among the soloists themselves…
Background: Following his highly successful ECM debut with Nuove Musiche in 2006, the new CD by Norwegian lutenist Rolf Lislevand and his group of international early music virtuosi is an album of melodic beauty and rhythmic energy that transcends the genres and is likely to appeal to listeners from different backgrounds including early music, jazz and ethnic music.
This album, originally recorded in 1992, was remastered in 2008 and issued as part of the Heritage series of Jordi Savall's Alia Vox label in a nifty combination of reissue and improvement. The album certainly qualifies as one of the greatest hits of Savall (whose role here is as gambist, with a small ensemble of northern European players ) and his wife, soprano Montserrat Figueras, who is the star of the show. Figueras' vocals are as usual a central attraction, with their incredible combination of suppleness, accuracy over a wide range, expression, and Iberian gutsiness. But the program here, though somewhat removed from the Iberian core of the Figueras/Savall repertory, is equally compelling.
This album gathers highlights from Montserrat Figueras career for the Astrée, DHM, EMI and Alia Vox labels. 5 of the 35 tracks have already been reissued in a portrait album released in the 1990s by Astrée, La 'Voix de l Emotion'. Jordi Savall wanted to keep the same title for this much more comprehensive double album, in tribute to the late Montserrat Figueras, his wife and collaborator of 43 years. 35 year-career: 35 tracks a dazzlingly clear soprano voice, a line of the purest silk, as strong as it was delicate.