SAINTE-COLOMBE: Concerts a’ Deux Violes Esgales – Wieland Kuijken & Jordi Savall, viols – AliaVox Heritage

by | Nov 30, 2011 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

SIEUR DE SAINTE-COLOMBE: Concerts a’ Deux Violes Esgales – Wieland Kuijken, bass viol/ Jordi Savall, bass viole – AliaVox Heritage multichannel SACD (2 discs) 9885 A+B, 114:34 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****:
We can be pretty sure that Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe (ca. 1640–1700), French composer and violist, was of the lower nobility (essentially given tax exempt status) was of the first name “Jean”, and had two daughters. He was the foremost viola da gamba player of his time, and is said to have added a seventh and bass string to the instrument. His most famous student was Marin Marais, who dedicated one of his most famous pieces to his mentor, though Sainte-Colombe likely remains the most prolific viola da gamba composer in history, with over 170 solo works for the instrument (he rarely played in public) and 67 Concerts a Deux Violes Esgales, of which ten are given on this present disc.
The works are quite remarkable, and though you might be tempted to dismiss two hours-worth of viol duets, the pieces are anything but perfunctory, each showing an incredible sense of craft and construction, and an infinity variety of musical substance that enchants from first to last. This of course is a retread from a couple of previously released albums (1976 and 1992) but the newly-remastered for surround sound suffers not one whit from the age. Savall is the consummate master and Wieland Kuijken matches him note for note in assuredness of style, rigor of interpretation, and beauty of tone. This is a perfect place to dive into the rarified world of Saint-Colombe, and it could very well be your only stop.
1. Concerto for 2 Viols no 8 “La conférence”
2. Concerto for 2 Viols no 54 “La Dubois”
3. Concerto for 2 Viols no 51 “La rougeville”
4. Concerto for 2 Viols no 48 “Le raporté”
5. Concerto for 2 Viols no 44 “Tombeau Les regrets”
6. Concerto for 2 Viols no 41 “Le retour”
7. Concerto for 2 Viols no 3 “Le tendre”
8. Concerto for 2 Viols no 27 “Bourrasque”
9. Concerto for 2 Viols no 62 “Le Figure”
—Steven Ritter

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