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Rolf Lislevand, a true original, has contributed many important and, at times, controversial discs to the canon of recent early music recordings. Regarded within the context of Lislevand’s own discography, La Mascarade is unusual for being an entirely solo disc. The disc itself is beautifully engineered, its presentation simple and eye-catching. It is a shame that details regarding Lislevand’s instruments were not given in the rather rambling personal, romantic and poetic programme notes.

The disc combines guitar and theorbo works by Francesco Corbetta and, his probable student, Robert de Visée, with a heavy emphasis on Passacalles and Chaconnes. Rather than being organised into separate halves, the guitar and theorbo recordings (and likewise, the composers) are mixed together in a veritable fruit salad of colour. Favourites previously recorded by Lislevand, such as Corbetta’s ‘Sarabanda Per La B’ and the various Corbetta Chaconnes are re-rendered here with alternative interpretations, and are just as fun and unconstrained as one has come to expect from Lislevand. The theorbo playing is sweet and expressive, and, judging by appearances, a relatively small theorbo was utilised for the disc. Lislevand’s baroque guitar playing is quite possibly the finest recorded, alongside discs recorded by William Carter.

Great fun, and serves as a good introduction to the works of Corbetta and de Visée.

Richard MacKenzie Read the full review on Agora Classica


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