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.
Composer John Adams' album Road Movies contains five pieces that Adams' considers "travel music, (…) passing through harmonic and textural regions as one would pass through on a car trip." Indeed, during Leila Josefowicz's spirited and appropriately brusque reading of the "40% Swing" movement from the title work, one hears what sounds like a passing auto in the left channel. Is it mere coincidence or the album concept channeling onto the master tape?
Jordi Savall (born 1941), one of the world's leading players of the viola da gamba, founded the ensemble Hespиrion XX in 1974. Savall's goal — and that of co-founders Montserrat Figueras, Hopkinson Smith, and Lorenzo Alpert — was to explore lesser-known repertories of the European Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque periods; their special love has been early Spanish music. The group has toured over five continents and produced well over 50 recordings (many on the Astree Audivis label). The group's membership changes with the repertory of an individual recording or performance project, and with the particular orchestration envisioned by Savall.