Les Voix Humaines

Le Monde de Sainte-Colombe

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The French composer Jean de Sainte-Colombe, teacher to Marin Marais, has remained a somewhat obscure figure despite the runaway success of the 1991 film Tous les matin du monde and its soundtrack featuring Jordi Savall. This may be because little is known of Sainte-Colombe's life; audiences like to have biographical details to hang their music on, and if Sainte-Colombe had speared himself in the foot with a baton like Lully, the situation might have been different. His obscurity certainly doesn't reflect any lack of quality in the music. These viola da gamba duos are endlessly inventive and absorbing. The album collects selections from a complete cycle of Sainte-Colombe's viol duos recorded by Les Voix Humaines in the mid-2000s decade. It's more conventional to have the single-disc anthology follow the complete cycle by less than 15 years later, but one may be thankful for the reappearance of these beautifully played short pieces in any form. Sample the amusingly titled "Quarrillon". Annotator François Filiatrault stresses the influences of the viol consort and of a tradition of French solo viol music on these pieces, and those influences are there, but paramount is the long tradition of the Renaissance duo or bicinium as a piece both scholastic and a bit mystical. Les Voix Humaines catch the mystery and add liveliness to the music. Their task is complicated by the inappropriate church acoustic from ATMA Classique in what was not church music but quintessential chamber music, but the sound is at least clear. This will be a most welcome release for listeners eager for more Sainte-Colombe.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Concert a deux violes esgales: Le Changé
1 05:05
2 01:40
Concert a deux violes esgales: Le Tendre
3 01:33
4 02:32
5 00:37
6 01:10
Concert a deux violes esgales: Les Couplets
7 06:16
8 00:49
Concert a deux violes esgales: (La) Bourrasque
9 01:33
10 00:58
11 01:04
12 00:39
13 01:02
Concert a deux violes esgales: L'attentif
14 03:54
15 00:48
Concert a deux violes esgales: Le Retour
16 03:14
17 01:12
18 00:49
19 02:59
Concert a deux violes esgales: Tombeau Les Regrets
20 01:29
21 01:07
22 00:26
23 02:04
24 01:16
25 02:31
Concert a deux violes esgales: Le Raporté
26 02:17
27 02:28
28 06:18
Concert a deux violes esgales: L'estourdy
29 01:12
30 00:43
31 01:53
32 01:53
Concert a deux violes esgales: Les Roulades
33 02:09
34 01:46
Concert a deux violes esgales: Le Précipité
35 01:40
36 00:37
37 06:09
blue highlight denotes track pick