Andrej Jovanić (RS)

When: Friday, 12. 8. 2022 at 20:00

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Andrej Jovanić (RS)

French theorbo, baroque guitar

Artist’s message to visitors

Let us imagine a typical summer evening in Versailles, in 1686: His Majesty takes a long walk in his gardens; he always goes to bed at eight o’clock and dines in his bed at ten; he usually calls de Visée at nine to play [french theorbo] and the guitar (from the journal of Philippe de Courcillon, Marquis de Dangeau). Robert de Visée begins playing in a tender and sweet A-minor, continuing in a happy C-major, then serious and magnificent G-minor, devine D-minor, pastoral A-major, amorous E-minor, solitary and melancholic B-minor... (according to the character of keys by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Règles de composition, 1682). His Royal Highness enjoys the delights of majestic allemande, sophisticated courante, gracious Sarabande, quick gigue, trilling gavotte, elegant Menuet, seducing Passacaille, exotic Chaconne. Is it possible that this progression represents one evening, one hour in the presence of magnificent Robert de Visée?


My artistic mission

I grew up listening to the music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque - my father, Milan Jovanić, was playing the lute and the guitar. The music tells an everlasting story that words cannot describe. Early music has an inspiring passion for learning, provides the necessary basis for new artistic achievements and a contemporary presentation of historically informed musical interpretation. My mission, with the audience, through music, is to achieve an immediate experience of closeness, pleasure, and recognition of past times.


Live broadcast: Radio Slovenija

Winemaker of Seviqc Brežice 2022 concerts: Family winery Jakončič, Kozana, Goriška Brda

Event programme


Robert de Visée: One evening at Versailles, 1686


Robert de Visée (1655-1732):
E. Si mi mineur.
Prélude de Mr. de Visée / Allemande du même / Courante du même / Sarabande du même / Gigue du même / La Montfermeil, Rondeau du même
(Ex libris Joan. Steph. de Saizenay [Pièces de luth et de théorbe] manuscrit, copie de Vaudry de Saizenay, 1699)

Robert de Visée (1655-1732):
G. re sol majeur.
La Muzette, Rondeau du même / Les Sylvains de Mr. Couperin, par Mr. de Visée / Menuet de (augmentée par Mr. de Visée)
(Ex libris Joan. Steph. de Saizenay [Pièces de luth et de théorbe] manuscrit, copie de Vaudry de Saizenay, 1699)

Robert de Visée (1655-1732):
Prelude / Courante / Menuet / Chaconne alaffin de chasque Couplet lon repette le premier une fois

Francesco Corbetta (1615-1681):
Passacaille / Menuet / Menuet
(LA GVITARRE ROYALLE DEDIEE AV ROY / Composée par Francesco Corbetta, 1674)


Robert de Visée (1655-1732):
Vilanelle de Vizé
(Recueil d'air de guitar Res F-844)

Robert de Visée (1655-1732):
Sarabande / Menuet

Robert de Visée (1655-1732):
Prelude / Allemande / Sarabande / Gigue / Passacaille

Francesco Corbetta (1615-1681):
Sarabande / Passacaille / Follie. E. mi. la
(LA GVITARRE ROYALLE DEDIEE AV ROY / Composée par Francesco Corbetta, 1674)

Francesco Corbetta (1615-1681):
Autre Partie de Chacone
(LA GVITARRE ROYALLE DEDIEE AV ROY / Composée par Francesco Corbetta, 1674)


About the concert programme

Works of Robert de Visée are preserved in three surviving publications by the author (two collections of tablatures for the guitar, printed in 1682. and in 1686., and a collection of duets for lute and theorbo in notation, published in 1716.), and in about forty manuscripts of which The Saizenay manuscript (1699) is particularly significant since it has been written with great care and precision, and contains some of the best examples of music ever written for theorbo.

The manuscript, written by a pupil of Robert de Visée, Jean-Étienne Vaudry de Saizenay, gives a unique insight into the repertoire of the famous teacher. Apart from pieces composed by de Visée, it contains works by his predecessors (Nicolas Hotman, Charles Hurel), arrangements of pieces by Jean-Baptiste Lully, as well as arrangements of works composed by his contemporaries (Marin Marais, François Couperin, Antoine Forqueray, etc.).

Compared with the collection of pieces: la Gvitarre Royalle (1674) by Francesco Corbetta, Robert de Visée’s second book of guitar pieces (1686), which opens in D minor and finishes in C major, seems much more well organized in its progression through different modes or keys.

“Monsieur Robert de Visée has gained recognition throughout France, from the honor he enjoys in playing so often in front of Louis XIV, this great king ...“ (Francois Le Cocq, Recueil des Pieces de Guitarre, 1729).

Robert de Visée (1655-1732), master of guitar, theorbo, lute, singing, composition, and a teacher, has spent entire career at the court of Versailles, from around 1680 util 1730. A follower of inimitable Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), de Visée develops an intimate, elegant, and modern style of playing, and his compositions are recognizable by well-shaped melody with elements of highly developed harmony.

Francisco Corbetta (1615-1681), the most significant and prolific composer for baroque guitar in the seventeenth century (el mejor de todo “the best of all” said Gaspar Sanz, Instrucción de música, 1674), born in Pavia, Italy. He lived in France and Italy, travelled to Spain, England, Austria at the time when baroque guitar replaced the lute as the most common household instrument. Although he never officially held the post of guitar teacher, his list of pupils is exclusive: Carlo II – the Duke of Mantua; Philip IV of Spain; Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria; Charles II of England; Princess Ann (the future queen of England); Hanrietta Anne, the Duchess of Orleans and Louis XIV of France.

Theorbo has evolved from the bass-lute due to necessity to broaden the lower register (by extension of the neck and accommodation of long bass strings) and create a more resonant sound that is better suited for vocal accompaniment. It has usually fourteen rows of strings. Sébastien de Brossard claimed that the theorbo was invented by Nicolas Hotman (1610-1663), the famous violist and theorbist in service of the duke of Orleans (Dictionnaire de musique, 1703). However, the first records about the theorbo is found in 1589, at the court of Alfonso II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara in Italy.

“... This instrument (Theorbo) has a wider range in bass than in treble; as a result, there is a distinction to be made between Théorbe de Pièces (for solo pieces) and Théorbe d’accompangnement (for accompanying) ... Good playing demands much accuracy and strength in both hands. That way, the tone is evenly beautiful; the trebles are clear and bright, and the bass noble and full of majesty...” (Jean-Benjamin Francois de la Borde – Essai sur la Musique Ancienne et Moderne, 1780).

„The smaller theorbo, has the same number of strings as the larger theorbo, but it is tuned four tones higher. This instrument is more suitable for basso continuo then archlute because its treble is neithter bellow the register of human voice, nor it is too far above the bass“ (James Talbot, 1690., Talbot Ms. Mus 1187, Christ Church Library, Oxford).

Baroque guitar is in fashion from 1600 until 1750. Almost every court in Europe, as well as a dance teachers, has engaged the services of a virtuoso guitar teacher. The total number of manuscripts and printed collections of music for guitar in the seventeen century, greatly outnumbers that of lute or harpsichord.

Baroque or Spanish guitar has five rows of strings. It is far more practical and less awkward instrument compared to the dignified lute (or the theorbo). Smaller number of strings meant quicker tuning, easier upkeep, and transport.

On guitar, it is possible to modulate to every mode or key without the need to re-tune certain strings. The fashionable, mixed style of playing meant that the sound is produced by strumming (batterie) as well as plucking (pincer) the strings. Chords are played usually with strumming movement while melodic and contrapuntal textures are expressed by plucking, the same as on the lute. Anybody could learn a few chords to play on the guitar with ease and use them to accompany song or dance, but it was also possible to play with great virtuosity.


Soteska, Devil's tower

The most interesting jewels of Slovenia's landscape are very often those that are shrouded in a veil of mystery. One such place is the Devil's Tower in Soteska, a little village between two forested plateaux. The tower has stood here for over three hundred years, a place of entertainment and sinful pleasure.