April 2005

Robert de Visee - Le Maitre du Roy: The King's Teacher
Eduardo Eguez, guitar, lute, and theorbo
M A Recordings M064A
Format: CD
Released: 2003

by John Crossett

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

Robert de Visee is something of a mystery man. No know portrait or birth certificate has ever been unearthed, and no inventory of his belongings taken after his death exists. It is now generally believed he was born around 1650 and died somewhere between 1725 and 1732. The only facts we do know for sure are that he was introduced to the French court very early in his musical career and served there, in various respectable positions, until his passing.

What is not in dispute is his ability as a composer. During his lifetime he published three volumes on guitar tablature -- two of which have been found. There is a delicate beauty to de Visee’s compositions, a precise yet improvisational quality that seems to invite the listener to listen as closely as possible. On this disc, Eduardo Eguez, playing solo guitar, lute or theorbo, makes his initial foray into de Visee’s music.

This is a beautifully packaged disc. The liner notes go a long way toward explaining de Visee’s work, as well as Eguez’s insights to them. M A head Todd Garfinkle used a single point-source mike, a high sampling rate (96kHz), and glass mastering to create a sonically wonderful re-creation of this forgotten master’s works. The sound of fingers on strings, those strings vibrating, and those vibrations exciting the wooden cavity of the instrument are all clearly reproduced.

Le Maitre du Roy: The King's Teacher is a demo-quality disc of excellent music. If your tastes run toward well-recorded acoustic music, it would be foolish indeed to pass up this CD.