Thursday, 26 May 2016

de Visée & Corbetta - La Mascarade - Lislevand

Rating: 5/5

A lovely disc

I like this disc very much indeed.  It is a very well played selection of pieces by Francesco Corbetta for baroque guitar and by his student Robert de Visée for theorbo.  Both served as court musicians in different countries, including at the court of Charles II in London, and both were very fine composers.  The music here is an excellent programme, interspersing the pieces for the two instruments which gives a fascinating and very enjoyable contrast throughout because they sound so different; the guitar being often strummed and with a high tone while the theorbo is plucked and has a fabulous, resonant sound (which, by the way, makes it one of my favourite instruments).

Rolf Lislevand plays it beautifully to my ears.  His theorbo playing is supple and often quite gentle in feel, and the instrument really rings out in his hands.  He has just the right degree of rhythmic freedom, bringing out the meaning of de Visée's lovely music while preserving its structure, and these recordings are as good as my much-loved recordings by José Miguel Moreno and Pascal Monteilhet, which is very high praise.  I'm less familiar with baroque guitar, but again these seem like excellent performances to me and I find the whole disc a real pleasure.

ECM do their usual excellent job with the recorded sound and the presentation.  I have to say that the notes are a little rambling and on the pretentious side for my taste - but who cares?  It's a lovely disc of very good music, excellently played and that's what matters.  Warmly recommended.

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