Nuove Musiche

Nuove Musiche

by Rolf Lislevand

Well aware that the pursuit of authenticity in performing early music can be more limiting than liberating, Rolf Lislevand and his ensemble take a boldly free approach to Baroque material on Nuove Musiche, with stunningly successful results. Lislevand, a Norwegian-born virtuoso of the lute and guitar, has already built aSee more details below


Well aware that the pursuit of authenticity in performing early music can be more limiting than liberating, Rolf Lislevand and his ensemble take a boldly free approach to Baroque material on Nuove Musiche, with stunningly successful results. Lislevand, a Norwegian-born virtuoso of the lute and guitar, has already built a prominent career on more traditional lines, playing with Jordi Savall's ensembles and releasing several solo albums on small European labels. But it's fitting that this, his debut album for ECM New Series, represents such an original approach to bringing the past into conversation with the present. Lislevand's group -- six other musicians, among whom Pedro Estevan's variegated percussion and Arianna Savall's plangent vocals contribute the strongest individual effects -- begins with 17th-century pieces by composers including Frescobaldi, Kapsberger, Piccinini, and Pellegrini, but these sources are used as a ground for imaginative exploration and improvisation. In the Passacaglias Andaluz, for instance, archaic sounds alternate with a nearly contemporary Spanish guitar style, while the musicians travel to the British Isles for a Passacaglia Celtica and indulge in pure expressive intensity on the Passacaglia Cromatica. Lilting correntes and ciaconnas quicken the pulse a bit, but a meditative mood predominates throughout, binding the program into a remarkably unified experience. (This cohesion also owes much to the distinctive sonic space that ECM's Manfred Eicher has so carefully created.) Bringing a real gust of fresh air to this material, Rolf Lislevand makes it clear that early music doesn't need to sound old -- an attitude that bodes well indeed for the repertoire's future.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Rolf Lislevand is a lutenist and guitarist; a professor of lute and historical performance practice in Trossingen, Germany. The reason for mentioning the academic credentials is because Nuove Musiche is anything but an "academic" recording. Quite the contrary. on this offering, Lislevand (a former member of Jordi Savall's Hyperion XX), and his septet "say goodbye once and for all to the authenticity creed." They know the rules, they understand the music inside and out, and they refuse to believe that the only way to perform it is the way it was supposedly heard nearly half-a-century ago. The rules are not broken so much as they are extrapolated upon by the often sketchy nature of the original scores. Lislevand believes that to try to perfectly replicate a performance from centuries ago is boring and perhaps a conceit -- because this approach tries to erase all that we have learned about music from hearing it in the interim between then and now. His opinion would mean nothing if the music found here wasn't so utterly seductive, compelling, and quietly moving, and he and his band didn't perform with such authority, elegance, grace, and adventure. To think that it's possible to make something from Baroque era sound so contemporary without pillaging the original music, to take it out of the academy and the institution and bring it to the level of the modern sensibility without selling out the composer is a small marvel. But Lislevand does it all through the 52 minutes of Nuove Musiche. Other instruments in the ensemble are triple harp and voice (both courtesy of Arianna Savall) percussion (used then, but it was never scored), double bass and colascione, organ, and clavichord, the nykelharpa, and the 12-string chitarra battente (a Baroque "strumming" or "beating" guitar). The album was beautifully produced by ECM head Manfred Eicher. The sound here is full and warm, the playing quietly and deliberately passionate. Source material comes from composers such as Kapsberger, Pellegrini, Piccini, and Frescobaldi, among others. The delivery center for most of these pieces begins is the passacaglia. According to Lislevand, these formed the heart of the 17th century lute and guitar books. His group brings sharp rhythmic interplay and inventive chromaticism into the mix with slightly angular dissonances that increase tension, but also bring the music its sense of drama, life, sensuality, and even the hint of danger in places. What happens is that the mystery and subtleties and poetry in these works come to life. That period in history remains at the music's heart, but its bloodline is renewed with these performances. Nuove Musiche is not to be missed; there is something in it for everyone. It is simply unlike anything we have heard before.
Gramophone - William Yeoman
A phantasmagoria whose haunting effects are only accentuated by ECM's beautifully spacious recording. Lislevand's playing is endlessly inventive.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Ecm Records

Related Subjects


  1. Arpeggiata Addio (After Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger)
  2. Passacaglia Antica 1 (After Domenico Pellegrini)
  3. Passacaglia andaluz 1
  4. Passacaglia Antica 2 (After Domenico Pellegrini)
  5. Passacaglia Cromatica
  6. Passacaglia Antica 3 (After Domenico Pellegrini)
  7. Passacaglia Cantus Firmus (After Luys de Narváez)
  8. Passacaglia Celtica (After the Margaret Board Lute Book, Ca. 1620-1635)
  9. Passacaglia Spontanea
  10. Passacaglia andaluz 2
  11. Toccata (After Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger)
  12. Passacaglia Cantata (After Girolamo Frescobaldi)
  13. Corrente (After Bernardo Gianoncelli)
  14. Corrente (After Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger)
  15. Toccata (After Alessandro Piccinini)
  16. Ciaccona (After Alessandro Piccinini)
  17. Toccata Cromatica (After Alessandro Piccinini)

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rolf Lislevand   Primary Artist,Guitar,Theorbo,Baroque Guitar,Archlute
Bjørn Kjellemyr   Double Bass
Pedro Estevan   Percussion
Marco Ambrosini   Viola d'amore,Nyckelharpa
Arianna Savall   Harp,Vocals
Thor Harald Johnsen   Chitarrone
Guido Morini   Organ,Clavichord

Technical Credits

Manfred Eicher   Producer
Jan Erik Kongshaug   Engineer
Rolf Lislevand   Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes,Adaptation
Bjørn Kjellemyr   Contributor
Jan Jedlicka   Cover Photo
Unspecified Enemies   Composer

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