Rolf Lislevand - La Mascarade - ECM New Series 2288



“I only develop what the material implies,” Rolf Lislevand has said. “Everything must be contained within the piece. Why then was it hidden until now? My usual reply is that we just change the proportions – a very Baroque technique.”

Lislevand was born in Oslo in 1961 and studied classical guitar at the Norwegian State Academy of Music from 1980 to 1984. He continued his studies with Hopkinson Smith and Eugène Dombois at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland and later played with several of Jordi Savall’s ensembles. Lislevand, whose recordings have won numerous awards, has been professor of lute and historical performance at Trossingen Musikhochschule since 1993.

He assembled a group of international early music virtuosi for his very successful ECM debut in 2006, tellingly entitled Nuove Musiche, which focused on early Italian Baroque songs from the late 17th century. “The expansion and contraction of arranged and improvised elements allows

the original Baroque material to breathe authentically in our own time, resulting in a phantasmagoria whose haunting effects are only accentuated by ECM’s beautifully spacious recording,” wrote William Yeoman in Gramophone.

That album was followed by Diminuito, which once again put strong emphasis on improvisation, drawing on music from 16th-century Veneto. As with Nuove Musiche, press reactions were very positive. “The whole point is to reimagine these 16th-century chansons and dances in ways that wholly respect the originals, and that’s just what takes place here,” Robert Levine observed in Stereophile. “I can’t praise enough the playing, imagination, creativity, and what seems the utter spontaneity evident on this CD  …This is a stunning, entertaining, elegant program.”