Hearing or performing music comes closest in the range of human activity to a visceral connection to the past. As long as we have notation and knowledge of how to interpret it, we can effectively experience something like our ancestors did when they sang the same music. Of course, our 20th-century sensibilities and knowledge–or lack thereof–prevent us from sharing identical responses, but as with the music on this disc, when we hear it we are in some way transported to another place. We know a completely different sound world from our own; we know that the accepted order of certain things was different. And we also know that in many ways people haven't changed. Machaut's music conveys a spirituality–both joyful and contemplative–that's as true in its impact as it must have been 600 years ago, a point made ever so clearly by these especially vibrant and vital performances.
Although we know little about Robert de Visee (c.1655-1733), he was an important figure in French Baroque music, both as chamber musician to Louis XIV and later as the guitar tutor of Louis XV. He published works, mostly in the form of suites of dances, for guitar, and for the lute and theorbo (a type of bass lute popular in the 17th century).
… Portions of the music included may remind listeners of very early classical music such as Gregorian chant, whereas other pieces will certainly cause an astonished reaction as they sound unlike any other music recorded. Some is sparse, floating, the melodic ideas developing very slowly. A few of the old-world Greek percussion instruments wind up sounding quite a bit like new-world electronic music.
Le point de départ, c'est une commande de l'Opéra de Rouen Normandie : une œuvre pour un orchestre symphonique et le big band Tous Dehors, avec pour projet d'illustrer les différentes étapes de la vie, de la conception jusqu'à l'ultime souffle. Passé le stade de la création, il n'a pas été possible de rejouer la partition sur scène ni de faire un enregistrement avec l'effectif originel (une cinquantaine de musiciens). Laurent Dehors s'est donc remis à la tâche pour une version en effectif réduit : neuf musiciens, plus les deux solistes invités (Marc Ducret et Matthew Bourne) qui dialoguent avec l'orchestre. Le résultat est plus que convaincant de vitalité, de vivacité et de pertinence.