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|Tombeau pour Mr de Ste Colombe et
autres portraits ...
Jean DE SAINTE COLOMBE (? – c.1701)
Concert à deux violes esgales Le Retrouvé [6:00]
Marin MARAIS (1656
Tombeau pour Mr de Ste Colombe [7:29]
Jean-Baptiste FORQUERAY (1699
La Laborde [6:29]
La Rameau [4:16]
La Leclair [5:13]
Denis GAUTIER (1597/1603
Tombeau de Gautier [4:39]
La Forqueray [3:26]
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683
La Rameau [4:39]
Ennemond (Vieux) GAUTIER (1575
Les larmes de Boisset (Courrante) [2:33]
La Couperin [4:35]
La Forqueray [4:49]
Tombeau pour Mr Lully [7:41]
La Marianne [2:44]
Spirale (Marianne Muller (viola da gamba), Emily Audouin
(viola da gamba), Claire Antonini (lute, theorbo),
Charles Edouard Fantin (lute, guitar), Violaine Cochard
rec. 12-17 November 2007, Église St Marcel in Paris, France.
TERRITOIRES ZZT080302 [69:09]
the booklet of this disc Marianne Muller writes: "In
our new programme we have the pleasure of presenting a group
of French musicians who throughout the seventheenth and eighteenth
centuries painted each other's portraits, or their self-portraits,
generally with considerable wit". The French were fascinated
by the portrait. It was an important subject in music, but
also in literature and painting. And, as one would expect
in an era in which the concept of 'l'art pour l'art' did
not exist, and which was strongly rational in its approach
of what we call 'art', the phenomenon of the 'portrait' was
a subject of theorizing as well.
were supposed to have strong likeness to the person who was
portrayed. François Couperin, in the preface to his first
book of harpsichord pieces, writes that his portrait-like
pieces "have sometimes be found to be quite good likenesses".
The 'Encyclopédie' which was published between 1751 and 1772
wrote that "each person has a distinctive character
that must be captured" and that "resemblance is
the chief perfection" of any portrait. It wasn't just
real people who were portrayed. Painters, writers and musicians
also tried to capture the human psychology and to describe
characters and their respective temperaments in their works.
this disc concentrates on real human beings, most of whom
were famous musicians, as one will gather from the tracklist.
One genre is particularly typical for French music of the
17th and early 18th century: the 'Tombeau'. This means 'tomb',
and pieces like this were written as a kind of musical tombstone.
The two Tombeaus by Marin Marais are both written in honour
of people who meant a great deal to him. Jean de Sainte Colombe
- generally called 'Monsieur (or Sieur) de Sainte Colombe'
- was his teacher on the viola da gamba. His 'Tombeau pour
Mr de Ste Colombe' is a moving tribute to his beloved teacher;
his sadness is expressed through falling motives, chromaticism,
sighing figures and suspensions. Jean-Baptiste Lully was
director of the Opéra and Marais played in the Opéra's orchestra
before he was 20 years old. The 'Tombeau pour Mr Lully' is
quite different from the first in that it is very dramatic
and full of contrasts, probably reflecting the fact that
Lully was first and foremost a man of the theatre.
Forqueray was a harpsichord virtuoso who in 1747 published
a book with five suites for viola da gamba and bc which he
claimed to be composed by his father Antoine, who had died
two years before. There is some doubt as to what was really
written by the father and what by the son. Many pieces in
this book are musical portraits, either of characters or
of real persons. Among these are two of Forqueray's colleagues:
Jean-Marie Leclair who was an internationally renowed violin
virtuoso - which is well reflected in the virtuosic nature
of Forqueray's portrait - and Jean-Philippe Rameau, who was
to become France's leading opera composer and whose first
opera was performed in 1733. The third piece is La Laborde;
his identity isn't known for sure. Rameau also wrote a piece
called 'La Laborde' in his 'Pièces de Clavecin en concert',
but that seems to refer to a pupil who was just 11 years
old when Forqueray senior died.
the same 'Pièces de Clavecin en concert' Rameau for his part
created a musical portrait of Forqueray, although it isn't
quite clear whether he had the father or the son in mind.
He also gave a portrait of himself, as did Forqueray - another
typical feature of the time. The information in the booklet
is a bit confusing in regard to the pieces by Le Vieux Gautier
and Denis Gautier. 'Les larmes de Boisset' (not Boesset,
as the tracklist has) is a tombeau for two lutes in honour
of Antoine Boesset (1586 - 1643), who was at the service
of the royal family and the leading composer of 'airs de
cour'. In the booklet this piece is attributed to Denis Gautier,
but in the tracklist to le Vieux Gautier, or Ennemond as
his real name was, and that is in line with the information
given in New Grove. Denis Gautier was his cousin, and the
composer of the 'Tombeau de Gautier'. In the booklet this
piece is called 'Tombeau pour lui-même', suggesting he composed
a tombeau for himself. I can't find any further information
about this, and I think it is more likely that Denis wrote
it in honour of his uncle.
the number of tombeaus there is certainly quite a lot of
gloom and sadness on this disc, but other character pieces
bring some relaxation. The last item is rather light-hearted:
Marin Marais 'La Marianne', which I assume is included with
a wink to Marianne Muller herself. It is a nice piece to
conclude this disc of portraits of musicians of the 'ancien
can't find anything to criticise about this recording. I
have thoroughly enjoyed these performances, which are passionate
and full of rhetorical gestures in order to communicate what
the composers wanted to express. The differences between
the two Tombeaus by Marais are well reflected in the performances,
for instance in the use of dynamics. There is some nice ornamentation
and much attention has been given to the rhythmic pulse.
Anyone interested in the viola da gamba or in French baroque
music in general shouldn't miss this disc.
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