Something has gone terribly wrong in this
reissue of two discs previously released separately. The tray
and the booklet have the wrong tracklist for CD 2, which looks
for two bass viols'
Simpson: Divisions in F
Locke: Suite in C
de Sainte-Colombe: Concert XLIVe 'Tombeau Les Regrets'
Couperin: XIIIe Concert à deus instruments à l'unisson
Locke: Suite in D
Couperin: XIIe Concert à deux violes, ou autres instruments
de Sainte-Colombe: Concert XLIe 'Le Retour'
Schaffrath: Duetto in D minor
label on the second disc also mentions these same composers.
I was only able to find the correct tracklist by searching
the internet. BBC Radio 3 reviewed this set and the BBC site
I found a the correct listing for the second disc. As I didn't
have that recording I went to my public library where I photocopied
the correct tracklist which is given above. The erroneous
tracklist probably represents the original intention, as in
the programme notes a link is made between the French viol
music and the English and German repertoire.
is a shame that the production staff at Virgin Classics have
not been more careful. What makes things worse is that Virgin
appears not to have informed retailers and internet shops.
While searching the internet I found this release many times
on offer, but nowhere was the potential customer informed
about the wrong tracklist. In particular those who already
own the second disc will feel betrayed when they order this
set and find out the truth.
said that one can't go wrong from a musical point of view.
To start with, the music is just brilliant. Marais was considered
by far the best player of the viola da gamba, whom only Forqueray
could equal. The music Marais composed for his own instrument
is the only surviving evidence of his unsurpassed skills.
Most of these pieces were written to be performed by himself.
The second disc brings a cross-section of his output for viola
da gamba and bc. In those days it was left to the performer
to put together a suite from pieces in a particular collection.
Jérôme Hantaï has done extremely well. We encounter pieces
of great expression, like the sarabandes and the Plainte from
the Third Book. A nice contrast is provided by the more playful
and theatrical pieces, like the three 'muzettes' (Pieces in
G) and the 'Charivary' from the Third Book.
common is the programme of the first disc as it presents pieces
for two and three bass viols. Scoring for three viols, was
not uncommon in the English renaissance - albeit without basso
continuo - but rather rare in France. The first book of pieces
for solo viol contains music for two viols, originally without
a basso continuo, which Marais published separately three
years after the publication of the first book. The fourth
book includes some pieces for three viols, which are not treated
equally, though: the third viol mostly participates in the
basso continuo. The same is the case with the compositions
for three viols by Forqueray. These were discovered not long
before this recording was made.
second reason for recommending this release is the interpretation,
which is excellent. The ensemble playing is of the highest
level, and there is no shortage of expression and virtuosity.
The ornamentation is exquisite, and the less serious aspect
of Marais's music - for instance in the musettes mentioned
above - is well explored. Occasionally, for example in the
first half of the Suite in D minor, which starts the second
disc, I felt that the performance was rather inhibited. But
otherwise these performances, full of warmth and passion,
capture the character of Marais's music quite brilliantly.