In the line of several striking albums recorded for Naïve, such as Murcia's Codex, Alfabeto, or Vivaldi's music for mandolin and lute, Rolf Lislevand now offers a new fascinating re-cording that connects music from the past and light from the present.
From a very specific repertoire, works for gui-tar and basso ostinato in the Italian 17th cen-tury, Lislevand creates a bewitching and mod-ern musical universe, based on music and im-provisations inspired by Carbonchi, Corbetta, Granata, Pellegrini or traditional music.
"The ostinato bass, presented here in its most varied forms, consists, in technical terms, in the repetition of a harmonic formula or a melodic theme on which one elaborates a set of variations, which were originally improvised.
These are often simple formulas, like the blues or the beat in our time, and yet they possess greater magic powers than a druidic potion.
We went in search of the ostinato as a means of expression, as a musical form, and as a minimalist rhetorical and ritual phenomenon. If the ex-pression 'minimalist music' has come to have a precise definition in the twentieth century, referring to a school of composition of which minimal-ism has become the primary characteristic, its origins go back many centuries further.
Pieces on an ostinato bass – the canario, the passacalle, the capona, the romanesca, the calata, and finally the scaramanza – were employed in the service of the dance and in the theatre of the commedia dell'arte; they encouraged meditation; but they were used above all as a free space for improvisation and the interplay of sonorities among related instru-ments, whether they were from the family of bowed strings, wind, per-cussion, or, notably, plucked strings. […]
With the exception of Corbetta's suite with countermelody for two gui-tars and Granata's suite, the actual form of the works and the entire melodic material present on this disc and used in the ostinato basses and the dances such as the tarantella come into the category of genuine improvisation."
-- Rolf Lislevand [excerpts from the liner notes]