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La Tour  Baroque Duo : Their new CD Launching-Concert

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La Tour  Baroque Duo : Their new CD Launching-Concert
Robert de Visée at Versailles
Neil-Michaud Hall – Université de Moncton
Saturday February 17, 2018 at 7:00PM
(same time next day if weather issues)
Free admission– All are welcome !

The La Tour Baroque Duo - Michel Cardin, theorbo, and Tim Blackmore, recorders, is presenting their fifth CD « Robert de Visée at Versailles », devoted to the chamber music of Robert de Visée, one of Louis XIV favourite composers, with a CD launching-concert in Moncton on february 17 (postponed to the next day same time if weather issues). The marketing of the CD will be made by Distribution Plages and there will be two more launching-concerts in the Spring : in Fredericton and Saint John.

The four first CDs of the La Tour Baroque Duo received nominations either at the  Éloizes or the ECMA music galas, plus international accolades from magazines such as Fanfare or La Scena Musicale. The repertoire offered by this new CD is astounding and will surely spark the music lovers’ attention. This is what Michel Cardin tells us :

“Robert de Visée (c.1650-after 1732), in addition to being one of the most sought-after musicians at the court of Louis XIV also had to travel regularly to Paris to fulfil performing engagements and to teach.  Guitarist, lutenist and theorbist, he left close to 200 compositions of which we have more than 700 different versions, either for solo instrument or for ensembles. However, despite his fame, we have not to this day found any portrait of him and his birth and death dates have never been clearly established. Yet he is frequently mentioned along with Couperin, Forqueray, Rebel and other important musicians in the chronicles of the musical activities at Versailles. He is, moreover, among the rare artists to have performed regularly in the private chambers of the king.

Like most performers, I have long viewed the repertoire of de Visée as belonging above all to soloists, the perfection of his works for guitar, lute or theorbo naturally impressing as solo works : the numerous existing versions in tablature confirm this. Nevertheless, intrigued by his first two publications (Livre de guittarre dédié au Roy (1682) and Livre de pièces pour la guittarre dédié au Roy (1686) which contain in addition around half of these same pieces « arranged for a treble and a bass to satisfy those who will wish to make use of them on other instruments » (as de Visée says in his preface), and urged by my colleague Tim Blackmore to consider performing these pieces as duos for recorder and theorbo, I must admit to having been blown away by them and to having succumbed to the stunning richness of this ensemble sonority. I now understand why de Visée not only made the effort to include these ensemble versions in his first two books but also to publish his third book (1716) entirely in this form : it is because, in spite of the irrefutable artistic success of their original solo versions, many of these works are perfectly suited to performance in a variety of instrumental combinations, thereby shining all the more brilliantly with a sumptuous sonority and a hitherto unsuspected expressivity.”

In addition, I must say that Tim and I remarked that in our recent concerts, the most applauded works were those of de Visée. This music is purely universal and touches deeply and directly its public with its strong warmth.