Early Music Branches Out

Rolf Lislevand - Nuove musiche
Rolf Lislevand – Nuove musiche
Rolf Lislevand

Nuove musiche (ECM/Universal Classics, 2006)

Rolf Lislevand’s Nuove musiche (music of 17th century Italy adapted and arranged by Lislevand), grabs listeners from the get-go. The opener, and what an opener, Arpeggiata addio starts with a weave of baroque instruments and takes off when
Spanish soprano Arianna Savall’s vocals soar into the stratosphere.

It’s very difficult to keep one’s feet on the ground while listening to this track because the soul too wishes to soar along with the passionate musicians. And soon, we are whisked off to Andalusia with the third track, Passacaglia andaluz which features flamenco-style lute. And with each passing song, hailing from a distant shore, 17th century, Italy, we are immersed not in how the Camerata Fiorentina, (a revolutionary group of scholars, artists and philosophers that invented this new music), but in the minds of a 20th century Norwegian lute player and composer, Rolf Lislevand.

Lislevand delves into the philosophy of the Camerata Fiorentina and their vision of a new music that at its time was a reaction to polyphony, which he thoughtfully provides in the liner notes. “In the wake of this new inspiration, brilliant composers such as Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Caccini,
Kapsberger, Piccinini, Pellegrini and Gianoncelli created extraordinary compositions and performance scripts in a completely new and different style

Lislevand along with the six early music performers who join him on his journey re-interpret the works of the above mentioned composers as well as, exploring The Margaret Board Lute Book and the work of 16th century Spanish composer, Luys de Narvaez. The musicians perform these ancient classics on period instruments which include, nyckelharpa (from Sweden), clavichord, triple harp, voice, chitarra battente, archlute, baroque guitar, theorboe, double bass, colascione and percussion. But these songs are interpreted for a 21st century sensibility and recorded with modern technology. The results might be shocking to Early Music conservatives, but so would have Camerata Fiorentina’s ideas in their respective era. The beauty of this music overpowers any philosophy associated with Early Music, period instruments or artist’s interpretations.

The musicians which include, Lislevand on archlute, baroque guitar and theorbo, Arianna Savall on triple harp and vocals, Pedro Estevan who provides the shimmer, rattle and bell sounds via percussion, Bjorn Kjellemyr on double bass and colascione, Guido Morini on organ and clavichord, Marco Ambrosini on nyckelharpa, and Thor-Harald Johnsen on chittara battente bring this centuries old music alive.

This new music leaps out of the stereo and entices its listeners. No one will think the same way about period music ever again. Nuove musiche secures its roots deep into a fertile ground while sending its leafy branches up into the heavens. It is inspired music by some of the finest Early Music players around and it should not be missed.

Buy the CD: Nuove musiche