Robert de Visee?

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Robert de Visee?

Post by LukeMarsden » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:06 pm

Did Robert de Visee write for the Viol de Gamba?

Can't find any concrete evidence anywhere?

Please help?

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Bernhard Heimann
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Re: Robert de Visee?

Post by Bernhard Heimann » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:00 pm

Probably not. The French guitarist Gérard Rebours, who has done intensive research about Robert de Visée,
doesn't mention compositions for viol da Gamba. You could ask him, his e-mail address is on his site


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Re: Robert de Visee?

Post by pogmoor » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:57 pm

In his book Ouevres Completes pour Guitare the academic musician Robert Strizich writes:
Robert de Visée, guitarist, theorbist, singer and composer, was born around 1660 and died in Paris sometime after 1720. He is first mentioned as a theorbo player in Le Gallois "Lettre a Mlle Regnault de Solier" (1680). Soon after this, he became a chamber musician to Louis XIV and the Dauphin. The dedication of his first book (1682) explains that he was frequently called upon by the king to amuse the Dauphin, and the diary of the Comte de Dangeau from the year 1686 states that he often entertained Louis XIV by playing the guitar for him at his bedside in the evenings. His chamber-music colleagues at court included flutists Descoteaux and Philibert (1694), and harpsichordist J.B. Buterne and viol-player A. Forqueray (1700-1704). On October 3, 1709, he was appointed singer in the royal chapel, and in 1719, he succeeded L. Jourdan de la Salle as guitar-teacher to the king. He was in turn succeeded the following year by his son François. No further traces of are found after 1720, the date of the marriage contract of his son. A factum of Jean Rousseau (1688) indicates that De Visée was a highly-esteemed member of the musical circles of the time, and that in addition to his many other talents, he was also a gambist.

The known printed works of De Visée include: Livre de Guittarre dédié au Roy, Paris, 1682, Bonneuil; Livre de Pièces pour la Guittarre, Paris, 1686, Bonneuil; Pièces de théorbe et de luth, mises en partition, dessus et basse, Paris, 1716, Roussel; the air "Que la bouteille a d'attraits" in Concerts Parodiques, Livre 4e, Paris, 1732, Ballard. A 3e livre de pièces pour la guitare, 1689, is mentioned by Fétis but its whereabouts is unknown and its existence is questionable.

There are also a large number of pieces by De Visée for guitar, theorbo and lute in contemporary manuscript anthologies: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Res. F 844 (43 guitar pieces), Res. 1402 (5 guitar pieces), Vm7 6222 (6 guitar pieces), Vm7 6265 (48 theorbo pieces), and Res. 1106 (70 theorbo pieces). The large manuscript collection of Vaudry de Saizenay (1699), now in the Bibliotheque municipale, Besançon, contains no less than 137 pieces for lute and theorbo by De Visée, among which are four tombeaus dedicated to various musical personages of the day: Gallot, Tonty, Mouton, and Dubut. The Besançon manuscripts, Vm 6265, and Res. 1106 include arrangements by De Visée of pieces by such illustrious contemporaries as Lully ("Ouverture de la Grotte de Versailles", "Entrée d'Apollon","Entrée [i.e. Premier Air] des Espagnols" and "Chaconne des Harlequins" 2 ), A. Forqueray (“Venitienne” and "Muzette"), and François Couperin ("Les Sylvains")

De Visée's first printed book (1682) contains, in addition to a separate chaconne in F, eighsuites the last of which makes use of an "accord nouveau", or scordatura tuning of the guitar. The second book (1686) contains only four suites, plus five miscellaneous pieces: a Sarabande in A, a Sarabande and Menuet in A, and a Menuet in C. In the manuscript collections of guitar music, the pieces are generally not arranged in any particular order, and the compositions by De Visée are usually found scattered at random throughout these volumes. The manuscript sources often duplicate the published pieces, but also contain a great many pieces by De Visée which are not available in printed form. Many of these appear to be versions for guitar of theorbo pieces by De Visée, although it is difficult to know whether the arrangements were made by the composer himself.
The Grove music entry is somewhat similar (not surprising, as it was partially written by Strizich):
Visée, Robert de
(b ? c1655; d 1732–3). French guitarist, theorbo, lute and viol player and composer. He was possibly a pupil of Corbetta. He is first mentioned (as theorbist and guitarist) by Le Gallois in 1680, and about that time became a chamber musician to Louis XIV. In the dedication of his first guitar book (1682) he mentions that he was often called upon by the king to amuse the dauphin, and the diary of the Count of Dangeau from the year 1686 states that he regularly played the guitar at the king’s bedside in the evenings. Between 1694 and 1705 Visée frequently performed at the French court, particularly at the evening gatherings of Mme de Maintenon, with the flautists Descoteaux and Philibert, the harpsichordist Jean-Baptiste Buterne and the viol player Antoine Forqueray. In 1709 he was appointed to the post of singer in the royal chamber in recognition of his service to the court, in which he had not until then held a position. In 1719 he was formally appointed guitar teacher to the king, although he had actually been the king’s instructor since 1695; his son François succeeded him in this post in 1721. A letter of Jean Rousseau of 1688 indicates that Visée was a respected musician at Versailles and that he also played the viol.

Visée’s two published guitar books contain a total of 12 suites as well as several miscellaneous pieces. The longer suites generally begin with the usual allemande, courante, sarabande and gigue and end with lighter pieces such as the gavotte, minuet and bourrée. In the shorter suites there is no consistent order of movements. The Suite no.6 in C minor includes a beautiful tombeau dedicated to Corbetta. Visée’s guitar compositions are intended for a five-course instrument tuned a/a–d/d′–g/g–b/b–e′. Exploiting the instrument’s resources to the fullest extent, they constitute along with the later works of Corbetta the apex of the French Baroque guitar literature. Visée’s works for Baroque lute and theorbo comprise the same types of dance pieces as are found in his guitar music and often duplicate the guitar works, although it is difficult to determine for which instrument the original versions were written. The fact that a substantial number of theorbo works survives in manuscript sources shows the regard in which Visée was held. Though they lack character pieces and Italian influence, they reveal him as a fitting partner for his colleagues Marin Marais and François Couperin. These pieces also include various tombeaux as well as arrangements of pieces by Lully, Marais, Forqueray and François Couperin.
It seems likely that de Visée could play the gamba, but there is no evidence that he wrote for it. Perhaps, as an associate of Forqueroy, there was no call on him to do so.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

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