One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

in the first division


extraordinary by any standards


An excellent disc


a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.


Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


A Garland for John McCabe


ABRAHAMSEN Quartets


DIETHELM Symphonies


The best Rite of Spring in Years


BACH Magnificat


Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26


Just enjoy it!


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

 

 

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Marin MARAIS (1656-1728)
Les Folies d’Espagne [18:12]
Livre II de Pièces de Violes (1701)
Suite in E minor [30:30]
Livre IV de Pièces de Violes (1717)
Suite d’un Goût Étranger – Le Labyrinthe [12:28]
Ensemble Spirale
rec. 2005, Saint Michael’s Church, Paris
Previously released on Zig Zag Territoires ZZT060801
ALPHA CLASSICS 338 [61:10]

As Alpha continue to mine its archive, as well as that of its sister companies, some real gems are appearing, this present disc being a good example. It offers two of the most famous works by Marais, his 32 variations on ‘Les Folies’ and ‘Le Labyrinthe’, along with his Suite in E minor, which also contains as the final piece of the Suite his ‘Tombeau Pour M. de Sainte-Colombe’, another of his famous pieces and one in which he remembers his former tutor.

There is evidence that Les Folies d’Espagne had a long gestation, as it first appears in a manuscript that dates to around 1680, and is unique in the composer’s output in being the only work based upon a borrowed theme. It draws upon the English tradition of ‘divisions on a ground’ which had recently been introduced to French music; the result is a wonderful array of complex and virtuosic variations that make this piece my favourite of all the works based on this theme.

The Suite in E minor, which echoes the prevalent French harpsichord style, lasts over half an hour and makes clear why Marais was held in such high esteem and seen as the successor to Jean de Sainte-Colombe, the most gifted composer and performer of music for the viol of his day. From its opening Prelude, the beauty and variety of this suite shines forth, a musical tour de force for the performers, a challenge they meet head on here. The suite concludes with the ‘Tombeau Pour M. de Sainte-Colombe’, in which Marais composed a memorial for his teacher (although the exact dare of his death is not known, it is thought that he died in 1700), the year before this suite appeared. The piece is a tender memorial, one in which Marais shows his indebtedness to the older composer.

The final work on the disc is Le Labyrinthe, a piece often performed as a single work although it is taken from his Suitte d’un Goût Étranger or Suite in a foreign style, which itself formed part of his fourth book of Pièces de Viole. This is a wonderfully complex piece that starts in the home key of A Major, and then wanders through several other keys “all of which turn out to be dead ends” before finally returning to the home key.

This is a wonderful disc, one in which Ensemble Spirale excel, their performance is excellent throughout and one that is more than a match for Jordi Savall in his recording of the E minor Suite (Alia Vox 9828). The recording boasts fine recorded sound and is furnished with the excellent notes that featured in the original release.

Stuart Sillitoe

 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger