Rolf Lislevand: La Mascarade

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COMPOSERS: Corbetta,Da Visee
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Rolf Lislevand: La Mascarade
WORKS: De Visée: Preludes; Les Sylvains de Mr Couperin; La Mascarade – Rondeau; Chaconnes; La Muzette – Rondeau, etc Corbetta: Passacaille en sol mineur; Partie de Chaconne en ut majeur; Sarabanda per la B; Caprice de Chaconne; Folie
PERFORMER: Rolf Lislevand (Baroque guitar, theorbo)
CATALOGUE NO: 481 1716

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The contrasts of shimmering light and dusky shadows on the cover photo of this CD offer a foretaste of the soundscape within: a haunting, introspective journey through the extremes of the musical spectrum. Norwegian virtuoso Rolf Lislevand offsets the sunlit idiom of the 17th-century Italian Francesco Corbetta with the brooding sonorities of his younger French contemporary Robert de Visée. To highlight these contrasts, Lislevand uses a slender and delicate gut-strung Baroque guitar for the former and a ripe-bodied and resonant theorbo for the latter.

Both composers were associated with Louis XIV’s court at Versailles, and their music reflects the liquid and ornate French style. Aided by a detailed recording in a palatial acoustic, Lislevand’s readings display this repertoire’s intimacy as well as its grandeur, and are always informed by a keen awareness of the bond between music and language: phrasing, articulation, accents and embellishments – all are rhetorically shaped. In keeping with the Baroque tradition in which performers would extemporise certain movements, Lislevand includes three of his own short pieces, creating the effect of improvisatory preludes and postludes. The whole is a beautifully planned and executed sequence.

Kate Bolton-Porciatti

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Listen to an excerpt from this recording here.