Little is known of Robert de Viseé (1655–1733). Even his birth and death places and dates are uncertain. What we do know is that this fine collection of Suites was published in Paris in 1716. It is, for its time and place, typically stylish music, often with a melancholy tinge. This release of historically informed performances by Italian musicians completes their recording of the publication. ‘As gorgeous Suite follows gorgeous Suite,’ remarked MusicWeb’s reviewer of Volume 2, ‘it quickly becomes obvious that de Visée's music is strikingly original, despite its simplicity of means and structure. This is not dance music of a frivolous or frothy nature, but the work of an inspired mind, dignified and charged with emotional depth.’
The project to record the suites has been led by recorder player Manuel Staropoli, who plays an array of eight different instruments according to the tessitura and colour of the particular dance, accompanied by an authentically mixed continuo ensemble of theorbo, viola da gamba and harpsichord. The effect of the many different recorders is charmingly intimate and showcases de Visee’s gift for a tune of simple beauty, delicately ornamented. One entire suite is performed on solo flute, such as we find more commonly in the work of Boismortier and de la Barre.
De Visee’s suites for guitar (or lute or theorbo) have been recorded many times (including on Brilliant Classics, 94435) but this set is much less well-known, yet musically no less satisfying.
This is the third and final recording of the complete Musique de la Chambre du Roi by Robert de Visée.
De Visée was a highly esteemed court composer, the chamber musician of Louis XIV the Sun King. He wrote several books of works for lute and theorbo, which on this recording are enriched by the inclusion of flute, viola da gamba and harpsichord. It is music of lush instrumental flourish, highly ornamented: typical French court music, full of grandeur and grace.
The previous two issues of De Visée by this ensemble received 5 star reviews in the international press. Its four members are Manuel Staropoli (flute), Massimo Marchese (theorbo), Cristiano Contadin (viola da gamba) and Manuel Tomadin (harpsichord), all seasoned early music players, each already with several Brilliant Classics CD’s to their name.