Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Francois Couperin, Jordi Savall, Ton Koopman|
François Couperin: Pièces de violes, 1728
Delicate, Nasal, Melancholy
Leslie Richford | Selsingen, Lower Saxony | 04/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Francois Couperin (1668 - 1733), Pièces de Violes avec la basse chifrée par Mr. F. C. (1728). Performed by Jordi Savall (anonymous bass viol with seven strings, made in France before 1800); Ton Koopman (harpsichord by Gilbert de Ruisseaux, second half of 17th century); Ariane Maurette (bass viol by Barak Norman, London 1697). Recorded at the Church of St. Lambert des Bois, Yvelines, France in December 1975. Re-issued in 1988 (and often since then) by Naive/Astrée as E 7744. Total time: 43'35".
The delicate, somewhat nasal and often melancholy sound of the bass viol or bass viola da gamba as it is more commonly known in Europe is perhaps an acquired taste, but one which delighted royalty and nobility throughout the seventeenth and on into the eighteenth century, when it was replaced more and more by the more robust-sounding violoncello. The instrument found its most devoted supporters in early 17th century England (where the so-called "viol consort" was much-loved) and in late 17th century France, where composers such as Marais, Forqueray and Sainte-Colombe created for it a repertoire which reached heights previously unknown. Jordi Savall, today perhaps best known and loved as a conductor, is one of Europe's leading bass viol virtuosos, his fame based not least on his recordings of viol music by Marais. But during the 1970s Savall, together with ace Dutch harpsichordist Ton Koopman, expanded his repertoire with classic recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach's Sonatas for Viola da gamba for EMI and of Francois Couperin's swansong, the two suites of "Pièces de Violes" published in 1728 and surviving in a sole printed copy kept in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. These suites (one in the more traditional French form with the usual dances, the other leaning towards the Italian sonata form in four movements) are perhaps the least-known of Couperin's work, but they appear to continue his efforts of "uniting" the French and Italian musical tastes, and are written for two bass viols, the second of which is joined by a harpsichord playing the figured bass line. Music such as this is, of course, introspective, meditative, sometimes sad and requires devoted listeners and ditto performers. But such are Jordi Savall and Ton Koopman indeed, and it will be many years, I suspect, until this performance is bettered. As the sound engineering by Dr. Thomas Gallia under the perfectionist auspices of the late Michel Bernstein is, even 30 years later, beyond criticism, I can only recommend that fans of the viol or of Couperin should get hold of this disc, currently available as part of a 5 disc re-release by Naive Marais, Saint Colombe, Forqueray, Couperin: Pièces de Viole (Box Set)."