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Marais: Tombeau Pour Le M De Ste Colombe; Forqueray, Gautier, Etc / Muller, Ensemble Spirale


Release Date: 05/13/2008 
Label:  Zig Zag   Catalog #: 80302   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jean de Sainte-ColombeMarin MaraisAntoine ForquerayDenis Gaultier,   ... 
Performer:  Marianne MullerEmily AudouinViolaine CochardCharles-Edouard Fantin,   ... 
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A fine collection of musical portraits in passionate and gestural performances.

In 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
Read more well.

Portraits 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.

But 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.

Jean-Baptiste 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.

In 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.

Considering 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 régime'.

I 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.

-- Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Prélude à 7 cordes by Jean de Sainte-Colombe
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 28 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for 2 Viols no 1 "Le retrouvé" by Jean de Sainte-Colombe
Performer:  Emily Audouin (Bass Viola da gamba), Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; France 
Length: 6 Minutes 0 Secs. 
3.
Pièces de viole, Book 2: Suite no 8 in E minor - Tombeau pour M de Sainte-Colombe by Marin Marais
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Emily Audouin (Bass Viola da gamba), Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1701; Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 29 Secs. 
4.
Pièces de viole: Suite no 1 in D minor - 1st movement, La Laborde by Antoine Forqueray
Performer:  Emily Audouin (Bass Viola da gamba), Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Charles-Edouard Fantin (Guitar),
Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord), Claire Antonini (Lute), Claire Antonini (Theorbo)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Length: 6 Minutes 29 Secs. 
5.
Pièces de viole: Suite no 5 in C minor - 1st movement, La Rameau by Antoine Forqueray
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord), Emily Audouin (Bass Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
6.
Pièces de viole: Suite no 2 in G major - 4th movement, La Leclair by Antoine Forqueray
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Charles-Edouard Fantin (Guitar), Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord),
Charles-Edouard Fantin (Lute), Emily Audouin (Bass Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 5 Minutes 13 Secs. 
7.
Tombeau de Gautier by Denis Gaultier
Performer:  Claire Antonini (Lute)
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 4 Minutes 39 Secs. 
8.
Pièces de viole: Suite no 1 in D minor - 2nd movement, La Forqueray by Antoine Forqueray
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord), Emily Audouin (Bass Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs. 
9.
Pièces de clavecin en concerts: 4th Concert - no 4, La Rameau by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Emily Audouin (Bass Viola da gamba), Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1741; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 39 Secs. 
10.
Les larmes de Boisset by Ennemond Gaultier
Performer:  Charles-Edouard Fantin (Lute), Claire Antonini (Lute)
Period: Baroque 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
11.
Pièces de viole: Suite no 1 in D minor - 6th movement, La Couperin by Antoine Forqueray
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Charles-Edouard Fantin (Guitar), Charles-Edouard Fantin (Lute),
Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
12.
Pièces de clavecin en concerts: 5th Concert - no 1, La Forquerary by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Emily Audouin (Bass Viola da gamba), Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1741; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 49 Secs. 
13.
Pièces de viole, Book 2: Suite no 4 in B minor - Tombeau pour M Lully by Marin Marais
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Charles-Edouard Fantin (Guitar), Charles-Edouard Fantin (Lute),
Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord), Claire Antonini (Theorbo), Claire Antonini (Lute),
Emily Audouin (Bass Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1701; Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 41 Secs. 
14.
Pièces de viole, Book 5: Suite in G minor - Allemande "La Marianne" by Marin Marais
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Charles-Edouard Fantin (Lute), Charles-Edouard Fantin (Guitar),
Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord), Claire Antonini (Lute), Claire Antonini (Theorbo),
Emily Audouin (Bass Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Marianne Muller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Spirale
Period: Baroque 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 

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