Rolf Lislevand: Nuova Musiche (ECM New Series)

 |   |  1 min read

Rolf Lislevand: Passacaglia andaluz I
Rolf Lislevand: Nuova Musiche (ECM New Series)

The clue here is the record label, this is on a long-running subsidiary imprint within the famous ECM jazz label which is specifically for classical music, although not "classical music" as you might understand it.

The New Series' biggest hit was the pairing of jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek with the vocals of the Hilliard Ensemble. That album Officium crossed over between the jazz and classical worlds, and pulled in a number of listeners who probably had little interest in either. It made for nice dinner party music, in fact.

Other albums in the New Series have been more avant-garde (percussionist Pierre Favre, violinist Paul Giger, vocalist Meredith Monk) and some highly conservative (Keith Jarrett playing Bach). For many the ECM New Series was the next logical step beyond the more esoteric jazz on the label -- but I think you can take them or leave them individually as your taste dictates.

This album (which had international release last year) by guitarist and lute player Lislevand - with an ensemble which includes harp, percussion, organ, clavichord and so on -- is fascinating. The ensemble are part of a movement which insists on playing 17th century music on period instruments using techniques gleaned from close study of sources and based on original manuscripts.

Improvisation is allowed -- the musicians of the period did -- but only by those who know the music and the instruments intimately. If it all sounds damnably dogmatic the music is far from stiff: here are lively arpeggios, stately parlour pieces, a fraction too much folksiness for my taste in a couple of spots, and some vigorous (and yes, jazzy) interplay.

Doubtless you'll have a few pastoral scenes running through your head in places, but in others you may well be transported to some Italian drawing room as Raphael wanders past.

In others words music to take you Elsewhere.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Brigitte DeMeyer: Rose of Jericho (BDM)

Brigitte DeMeyer: Rose of Jericho (BDM)

Although now five albums into her career, it is highly likely few have heard of this soulful country-rock singer who here co-produces with Brady Blade. She has a little gospel and blues in her... > Read more

Kokomo: Batten Down the Hatches (kokomo.co.nz)

Kokomo: Batten Down the Hatches (kokomo.co.nz)

Those who don't "get it" or take any time with the blues tend to dismiss it as all sounding the same. Certainly there can be superficial similarities, but it is an idiom with an... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Kuching, Sarawak: A welcome return to cat city

Kuching, Sarawak: A welcome return to cat city

When the explorer and entrepreneur James Brooke sailed up the Sarawak River in northern Borneo in 1838, he encountered a small village of local people and, if we believe the legend, an... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . FRANK ROSOLINO: The night the lights went out

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . FRANK ROSOLINO: The night the lights went out

He doesn't really deserve to be in the same company as the misfits, oddballs, eccentrics and the certifiably crazy-psychotic musicians in this on-going series We Need to Talk About . . . But... > Read more