Ensemble Kapsberger performs music of Foscarini and others. I first reviewed this CD on April 4, 2002
I've always been a fan of reading about commentary on the issue of authenticity in music. It’s frequently a hot topic among performers of early music, including that of the Baroque composers I so much enjoy. While in Tower Records today, I came across a very attractive CD on the Astree label entitled Alfabeto, by Ensemble Kapsberger, led by the musician Rolf Lislevand. I feel this CD would appeal to all sorts of people. But if you like excitement in your music, harmony, and the sound of plucked strings, please do yourself a favor: Buy this CD! I’m not even done listening to the whole thing, and I feel compelled to write things about it. This is 17th century guitar music played rather progressively with voice, percussion, and flamboyance. All on authentic instruments, to boot. Track 11 features Biberfan’s favorite variations, La Folia, in a rather sassy interpretation with organ, percussion, and solo guitar, seemingly from different composers in a type of medley. Zesty playing. Capable. Exciting. Excellent close recording. I wouldn’t be surprised if this CD doesn’t win some major awards. Composers represented are Foscarini, Pellegrini, Granata, and Corbetta. Since first reviewing this recording, I have played it many times, and have shared some of the tracks with others. "What is this music?" "What are the instruments?" The music is both rhytmically and harmonically rich. It is perhaps best related to Lislevand's more recent album Nuove Musiche in style. This recording is a real favorite after four years of listening. Update (2/9/2008): I found another interesting account of this album from the BBC. Since my first review in 2002, I still love this recording and consider it a top favorite in my music collection. Like the BBC review said, the absolute authenticity of the recording is in question. It doesn't matter for me: the art on this disc is so profound. Having recently upgraded my stereo system, this CD, with all of its textures, plucking, etc., is a great piece of software to show-off what a better hifi system can achieve. When guests hear the music, it's always engaging and "new" to them.