Les Rois de Versailles, lute music by Pinel and de Visée

Composer Germain Pinel, Robert de Visée
Artist Yisrael Miguel
Format 1 CD
Cat. number 95071
EAN code 5028421950716
Release December 2014

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About this release

This release showcases the lute music of two French composers, Germain Pinel and Robert de Visée, both of whom have long been overshadowed by the more renownedfigures of Jean‐Baptiste Lully and François Couperin. Pinel and De Visée were active not long after the role of the lute underwent a profound change in France: towards the end of the 16th century, following a decline in the popularity of polyphonic song, the instrument was no longer used to support vocal music, and short suites of dances began to develop for lute solo. The lute was a delicate instrument reserved for small audiences, a court instrument relished by the aristocracy and wealthy bourgeoisie for the intimate concerts of the Parisian salons, and a domestic instrument par excellence. It accompanied all the activities of everyday life. Both Pinel and De Visée were in the service of Louis XIV, who inherited a great musical – and in particular lute‐playing – tradition encouraged by his father Louis XIII and grandfather Henry IV, and both musicians cultivated the new forms that had recently emerged for the instrument. The suites recorded here provide extraordinary variety: beautiful and sombre allemandes, courtly sarabandes and spritely gigues characterise the music, which is closely associated with the lavish reign of the ‘sun king’: the extravagance of his expanding palace at Versailles and the opulence of his elegant lifestyle is epitomised in the stylish music that serenaded his court. Indeed, these works represent music at the height of the grand siècle: France’s period of political and cultural dominance. Having studied at the Paris Conservatoire and with renowned lutenist Hopkinson Smith in Basel, Portuguese‐born Miguel Yisrael has gone on to specialise in music of the French Baroque period; the author of, among others, a new series of scores for the Baroque lute called La Rhétorique des Dieux, he is well placed to record the music of Pinel and De Visée. This recording marks his fourth release on the Brilliant Classics label, with two of his previous releases acclaimed in Diapason magazine, where he was described as “an interpreter to be followed closely”.  

This release brings us to the magnificent court of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, the Sun King, whose palace was a hotspot of the greatest artists of the time. Both composers De Visée and Pinel worked at the court, playing and composing for the lute, the fashionable instrument for the aristocracy. The repertoire consists of suites of different kind of dance forms: solemn allemandes, courtly sarabandes and spirited gigues alternate as entertainment for kings and courtiers. Lutenist Miguel Yisrael already recorded several CD’s for Brilliant Classics, all of which met with great critical acclaim: 5 star reviews and a Diapason d’Or.

The booklet contains excellent and extensive liner notes, biography and information on the historical instruments used.  

Other information:

Recorded in 2014.

Booklet includes comprehensive liner notes and an artist biography.

French liner notes available online.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Suite in A Minor: I. Le tombeau de tonty. Allemande
  2. Suite in A Minor: II. Gavotte
  3. Suite in A Minor: III. La montfermeil. Rondeau
  4. Suite in A Minor: IV. Tombeau du vieux gallot. Allemande
  5. Suite in A Minor: V. Chaconne
  6. Suite in D Minor: I. Entrée de luth
  7. Suite in D Minor: II. Allemande
  8. Suite in D Minor: III. Courante
  9. Suite in D Minor: IV. Sarabande
  10. Suite in D Minor: V. Branle des frondeurs
  11. Suite in D Minor: VI. Gigue
  12. Suite in F Major: I. Prélude
  13. Suite in F Major: II. La belle Allemande
  14. Suite in F Major: III. Courante
  15. Suite in F Major: IV. Sarabande
  16. Suite in F Major: V. Courante
  17. Suite in F Major: VI. Double
  18. Suite in D Minor: I. Allemande
  19. Suite in D Minor: II. Courante
  20. Suite in D Minor: III. Sarabande
  21. Suite in D Minor: IV. Courante
  22. Suite in D Minor: V. Gigue
  23. Suite in G Minor: I. Prélude
  24. Suite in G Minor: II. Allemande
  25. Suite in G Minor: III. Courante
  26. Suite in G Minor: IV. Sarabande. La sçavante
  27. Suite in G Minor: V. Chaconne