Robert de Visée's origin is unknown, although of Portuguese origin he was likely to have studied with Francesco Corbetta. About 1680 he became a chamber musician to Louis XIV, in which capacity he often performed at court. Visée wrote two books of guitar music which contained twelve suites between them: Livre de guitare dédié au roy (Paris, 1682) and Livre de piéces pour la guitare (Paris 1686). Suite in D minor is his most popular suite.
This really is a hidden gem in my opinion, but because of the explosion in music being written for students over the last few years in modern styles it is repertoire that is, all too often, overlooked.
It is a fantastic introduction to the Baroque style and period and offers an accessible step on the ladder to the complex lute music of Weiss and Bach.
The short introduction by the editor is very informative, talking about the manuscript source and the considerations needed in transcribing to the modern classical guitar, for example dealing with the double octave strings A and D on the Baroque guitar.
What is particularly good for guitar students is that you have the opportunity here to play a whole suite, which together is quite an extended piece of music and teaches a lot about contrasting movements and musical continuity.
You can also choose to play single movements and learn how smaller groups work together as they would have been played in the Baroque, for example the two Menuets with a da capo repeat. All the movements are very accessible and represent all of the popular dance forms that you will find in other music of the period, with voicing and part writing that fit very well under the fingers.
There are loads of opportunities to develop musical and technical skills, particularly in the long musical lines, phrasing and counterpoint.
There is a lot of fingering but if you are open to experiment with this it really helps you to define melodies and bass lines and demonstrates the importance of getting the correct fingering to allow the music to sing as intended.
Rhythm is of course very important with the different dances and is in general quite challenging here, ideal I think for the average guitarist who does not like to count!
For example in the Allemande the melodic lines are long, interweaving and often the rhythm can seem syncopated with less importance on the first beat of the bar. There is a similar effect in the Courante together with the combination of 3/2 and 6/8 in the time signature and the need for constant movement. Add to this the slow, stately line of the Sarabande, the bright spirit of the Gavotte, the poise of the Menuets, a simple lively Bouree and the light and lilting final Gigue and you have a wealth of music to explore and enjoy.
This Suite will help you with musical expression in finding tone colours and trying to bring out the differing dance characters, as well as coping with the counterpoint, phrasing and challenging rhythms.
Most importantly in approaching this more complex style of music it offers plenty of variety and enjoyable playing.