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Guitar Suites Nos. 4 9 11 & 12

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Audio CD, July 8, 2008
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1. Suite for guitar No. 4 in G minor (Livre de Guittarre Dédié au Roy, 1682)
2. Suite for guitar No. 9 in D minor (Livre de Pièces pour la Guittarre, 1686)
3. Suite for guitar No. 11 in B minor (Livre de Pièces pour la Guittarre, 1686)
4. Suite for guitar No. 12 in E minor (Livre de Pièces pour la Guittarre, 1686)
5. Pieces (2) for guitar in A minor (manuscript)
6. Suite for guitar No. 9 in D minor (Livre de Pièces pour la Guittarre, 1686)
7. Work(s)
8. Suite for guitar in G minor, Paris 1686
9. Suite for guitar in G major (Livre de Pièces pour la Guittarre, 1686)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 8, 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B0017LI79C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,541 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on January 27, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
Just as little is known about the composer Robert de Visée as about most 17th C composers, yet some curious facts are known about Visée as a guitarist and lutenist. He really did get called regularly to Louis XIV's bedchamber in order to play the Sun King to sleep! He was Louis's own guitar teacher, for which service he was paid royally and appointed a court Singer though there's no record indicating that he had a voice. Two volumes of his music specifically for guitar were published in 1682 and 1686. He also composed a larger body of music for Theorbo and Baroque Lute, which has survived only in manuscript.

The baroque guitar and the lute were less 'interchangeable' instruments in Visée's era than they might seem today. Both the technique of playing and the occasions of playing were distinct, for which reason the repertoires for the two instruments cannot and should not be performed in the same manner. Visée's compositions make the distinction quite audible. His lute music is gravely contrapuntal, serene, intellectual. His guitar music is brusquely rhythmic, harsher than what one might expect from the small guitar of the era, and quite insistently structured by the fashionable dances of the court. Historically, both the guitar and the violin were still perceived to be instruments of the dance and of dance masters. The guitar served as a dance instrument because of its capability of being strummed across its five strings, yielding almost percussive figures called "batteries". The strings were strummed or plucked with the nails rather than with the fleshy tips of the fingers as was done with the lute. The player and the composer were admonished to know the steps of the dances and to stress the proper beats relentlessly.
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Format: Audio CD
As usual the other reviewer, whose moniker is of the famous philosopher who ran afoul of the Holy Office, has given a fine review. But I just want to add how thoroughly charming and seductive all these performances are. Yet on a simpler level, this CD provides the sort of experience that I always hoped to have listening to lute music, but never do. I know lute music is supposed to be great, but well it is kind of a snooze. This is the opposite. Seemingly endless dancing figures played by a spunky instrument that is just a bit saucy and yet not easy listening like too much guitar music. Seriously, these are really rapturous little gems, and Andia is a wizard with this tiny bit of gleaming musical light. There are almost no words for how perfect this is as a feeling of the "musical past" in admittedly oddball instrumental sound, for once not cloying or dull. The credit must go to the player, who has produced some "magic" here with utter virtuosity and sureness of technique. I have the original 1986 release of this recording, and the notes make clear why Andia's use of the "batteries" give verve to this music. I feel like I have discovered a new marvelous world with this CD.
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