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  • Date: 6-10-2019, 23:56
6-10-2019, 23:56

Rolf Lislevand, Ensemble Kapsberger Alfabeto (2002)

Category: Music

Rolf Lislevand, Ensemble Kapsberger   Alfabeto (2002)

Rolf Lislevand, Ensemble Kapsberger - Alfabeto (2002)
Music by Giovanni Paolo Foscarini, Domenico Pellegrini, Giovanni Battista Granata, Francesco Corbetta

EAC | FLAC | Tracks (Cue&Log) ~ 255 MB Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 132 MB Scans included
Classical, Baroque Guitar | Label: Astrée/Naïve | # E 8852 | Time: 00:54:08

Alfabeto is a system of notation used in music for the five­course ('Baroque') guitar. Letters of the alphabet indicated chords and the precise left­hand fingering required; the direction in which they were to be strummed was also shown. The relationship of the alfabeto letter to the musical identity of the chord was arbitrary. There was some freedom of interpretation‚ dependent on the degree of knowledge of the player. The alfabeto system also underwent 'mixed marriage' with the notation of the more sophisticated 'lute­like' punteado style in which melodic passages were plucked with the individual fingers of the right hand - and which existed separately in its own right.

The choice of instrumentation and manner of performance here stem‚ the booklet tells us‚ from 'years of work on 17th­century repertoire‚ the result of a synthesis of musicological research and instinctive musicianship'. Lislevand is an exceptionally gifted performer and‚ as his recent recording of Bach suites shows (Naïve‚ 7/01)‚ he does not hesitate to add his own excellent embellishments. There are moments in this recording when one wonders whether what one hears is original text or Lislevand's garnishing; the praiseworthy liner notes give no guidance on this point. No matter though‚ the players justify the high reputation they have already acquired and lead us into an intimate and varied sound­world (ranging from 'pure alfabeto' solo guitar to full ensemble). The programme consists of gracious and otherwise unrecorded music by composers whose names will be unfamiliar to most of those who should enjoy this superbly engineered disc.

This was a bit of a speculative acquisition for me, and I was surprised by how very much I enjoyed the disc. It is a programme of music from early 17th century Italy for baroque guitar and ensemble from a primitive form of musical notation called Alfabeto. This allows the performers to improvise and express themselves around what is written, and Ensemble Kapsberger do this really well.

What emerges here is a sequence of varied, rich and thoroughly engaging pieces with vigorous dances (with a delightful swing in many cases), gentle melancholy and most things in between. Some sound quite formal, others almost folky in their rhythmic abandon. I found the whole thing terrific and the ensemble are simply brilliant. I first listened to this before reading the notes carefully and thought it sounded rather like a Jordi Savall project -and then discovered that his daughter Arianna plays and sings here (beautifully) and the gamba player is the great Paolo Pandolfo. No wonder it's so good, then, and the rest of the ensemble are well up to their standard.

The notes are very interesting (if a little overblown in places) and the recorded sound is excellent. It's a terrific disc all round and I recommend it very warmly - I think it a joyous, hugely rewarding treat.

Rolf Lislevand, Ensemble Kapsberger   Alfabeto (2002)

Directed By, Baroque Guitar - Rolf Lislevand
Ensemble Kapsberger
Acoustic Guitar - Eduardo Egüez, Thor Harald Johnson
Viol - Paolo Pandolfo
Harp, Vocals - Arianna Savall
Lute [Colascione] - Bjørn Kjellemyr
Organ, Clavichord - Michael Behringer
Percussion - Pedro Estevan

Recorded in May 2001 in the Tibor Varga Studio, Sion (Switzerland).


Domenico Pellegrini (ca.1600-ca.1662)
01. Ricercata per la E (1:17)

Giovanni Paolo Foscarini (before 1621-1649)
02. Toccata per la E (7:07)
03. Passamezzo per la O (4:37)
04. Passacalles per l'alfabeto falso (5:11)
05. Allemanda per la E (4:18)
06. Aria di Firenze per la C (1:08)

Giovanni Battista Granata (c.1600-c.1684)
07. Toccata per la X (3:50)

Giovanni Paolo Foscarini
08. Tasteggiatta per la X (4:25)
09. Corrente per la X (2:05)
10. Volta francese per la X (2:28)
11. Folias per la X (4:21)
12. Espagnoletas per la D, E e la O (3:32)

Francesco Corbetta (ca.1615-ca.1681)
13. Preludio per la B (1:10)
14. Corrente nuovo inventione per la B (1:43)
15. Caprice di ciacona per la B (4:48)
16. Sarabanda per la B (2:08)

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Rolf Lislevand, Ensemble Kapsberger Alfabeto (2002)
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