horizontal line

Inimité et Grandeur is the third and final instalment of a series devoted to the Collected Works for Theorbo of Robert de Visée, lutenist to King Louis XIV, the ‘Sun King’. The only criticism regarding the entire package is that this status as volume three is not declared on the front cover, resulting in initial curiosity regarding the programming.

Fred Jacobs’ discography is of considerable size and high quality, and these contributions to the recordings of de Visée’s theorbo repertoire (alongside admirable records by Eduardo Egüez, Pascal Monteilhet, and that rather eccentric though impressive disc by Yasunori Imamura) overshadow all proceeding contributions, and the delivery of a complete surviving works is satisfying. The playing is tasteful, well-proportioned, beautifully phrased, and possesses highly attractive delivery of ornaments.

Jacobs performs upon a larger instrument than that usually utilised in recordings of French theorbo music, and this decision is convincingly argued for in an essay (in the liner notes) by luthier extraordinaire Michael Lowe, who constructed the instrument to be heard upon the disc.

The disc is stunningly engineered; the sound is intimate and detailed, though not too close. The pieces themselves feature the beautifully melodic writing to which de Visée listeners and players are accustomed, as well as some excellent original Lully arrangements. An important recording for lovers of the French baroque.

Richard MacKenzie Read the full review on Agora Classica

   Read full review   

To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.

Read more classical music reviews online here:

Early Music Today, 2001 - ©Rhinegold Publishing