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Nuove Musiche

Rolf Lislevand

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Album Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Wonderful blend of the old and the new

I love Jordi Savall's work of Spanish pieces of the very early Baroque. Rolf Lislevand's music shows the influence of his association with this work. However, here, the constrains seem to be taken off the music. The use of traditional instruments with the more modern makes for an interesting blend of the old and the new. The result is beautiful music that is accessible to the modern ear. I highly recommend this album to anyone who loves Classical guitar with Spanish influence.

Soothing Guitar

I love this album so much! Wow, I never knew classical guitar music could be so gorgeous! If you have ever had any emotional response to any music, then you will absolutely love this!


I bought the song Ciaccona and I love it! It makes me concentrate without being tense :)


Born: 1961 in Oslo, Norway

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Guitar, lute, and theorbo player Rolf Lislevand was born in 1961 in Oslo, Norway. He studied classical guitar at the Norwegian State Academy of Music from 1980 to 1984, then studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland through 1987. In 1987 he began working with viola and cello player Jordi Savall in several ensembles, including Hesperion XX, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, and the Concert des Nations. He has also recorded several solo projects, including works by Kapsberger and Vivaldi,...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Rolf Lislevand

Nuove Musiche, Rolf Lislevand
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music, Baroque
  • Released: Mar 07, 2006

Customer Ratings

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