Little is known about Robert de Visée’s life. The facts that have survived, however, reveal an illustrious career: as well as playing the guitar, lute, theorbo and viola da gamba, the Frenchman was also a singer and composer, and in 1680 he entered the court of Louis XIV as a chamber musician – a role that eventually led to his appointment as the king’s guitar master in 1719.
This recording is based on a selection of works taken from De Visee’s collection of suites published in 1716, the Pièces de Théorbe et de Luth mises en partition, dessus et basses – music which, for its time and place, was typically stylish, embodying the particular qualities of gentility, grace and elegance. The release forms an engaging counterpart to the first volume in the series (94154), and the trio of Italian musicians are here joined by harpsichordist Manual Tomadin, whose fine continuo playing adds another timbral dimension to the intimate scoring of recorder, theorbo and viola da gamba.
- New recording, recorded in June 2012, Ancelle della Carità, Rome.
- Robert de Visée (1655-1733) spent most of his musical life at the court of Versailles, where he was a chamber musician for Louis XIV (the Sun King) and the court guitarist for Louis XV (he had to play the guitar when the King went to bed..).
- De Visée wrote extensively for the lute and the theorbe, a selection from his ‘Pièces de Theorbe et de Lute mises en partition, dessus et basse’ is presented on this recording. The writing for several voices and basso continuo invites for the use of several instruments (not specified in the score), to embellish and ‘pimp up’ the single bass and treble line, with recorders, theorbo, viola da gamba and harpsichord.
- Excellent performances by the Early Music ensemble around Manuel Staropoli, who received much praise for their earlier De Visée recording for Brilliant Classics (94154), among others a 5-star in Diapason.
- Including liner notes written by a specialist musicologist, artist biographies and information on the instruments used.