Jordi Savall

Marin Marias: Suitte d'un Goût Etranger

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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins

French composer Marin Marais (1656-1728) was remarkably prolific, writing nearly 600 compositions for viola da gamba, as well as many operas. One of his major collections of music for the gamba is Suitte d'un Gôut Etranger, a collection of 33 short works written, according to the composer, "to stretch the skill of those who do not like easy pieces." Jordi Savall, the most acclaimed gamba player of the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries, who is responsible for bringing many of Marais' works to light, plays with extraordinary virtuosity and expressiveness. He is accompanied by an ensemble of six-string, keyboard, harp, and percussion players, whose improvisational skills support and give a wide range of textural variety to the pieces. The music is notable for its high energy and spirit of playfulness, and occasionally, for its eccentricity. Listeners familiar with Marais primarily through his deeply expressive and heartbreakingly poignant side, made famous by the popular film about the composer Tous les Matins du Monde, may be surprised by the sense of fun that's found in many of these pieces; in fact, the listener looking for Marais' more soulful music will not find it in this lively collection. The sound of the SACD is clear and very intimate, giving the impression of close proximity to the performers.

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