Manuel Staropoli recorders & Baroque flute, Massimo Marchese theorbo
228:18 (4 CDs in a case)
Brilliant Classics 95595
In this four-CD account of the complete works of Robert de Visée, the performers have taken creative though entirely justifiable liberties with the instrumentation to involve instruments such as the recorder and Baroque flute known to have been in vogue in Versailles at the time and to give the music the genuine sound of chamber music. The resulting performances are pleasing and reveal in exhaustive detail de Visée’s talents as a composer. With very little known about him as an individual, we rely on the music to characterize both the period and its composer, and this it does very well. If perhaps four CDs of this music could be regarded as ‘peak de Visée’, we should remember that it would never have been performed en masse like this, rather whiling away Royal ennuies interspersed with other solo, chamber and larger-scale music. Given the limitations of the music and the ensemble, the performers do a fine job alternating the instruments and bringing the music charmingly to life. Just kick off your dancing pumps, hang up your wig, channel your inner Roi Soleil and sit back and enjoy this never less than elegant Musique de la Chambre du Roi. For more active listeners, the brief programme notes find room to list the instruments used as well as the few facts that are known about de Visée.
D. James Ross
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