That the viola da gamba music of Marin Marais represents a treasure trove of expressive and technical possibilities is just reason for Paolo Pandolfo’s eagerly-awaited return to the composer’s works with his new Marais 1689 recording for Glossa. Pandolfo’s style of playing is apt for this music: meticulousness and sensitivity, and a technical strength which allows him to demonstrate the instrument’s versatility and gives him a sense of rare freedom.
To follow a recent sequence of recordings which has seen him approach the music of Couperin and De Machy, but which also includes the Pièces de viole by Marais’ teacher Sainte Colombe, Pandolfo now turns to the year 1689, when Marais (surrounded by constant arguments as to the true way of doing justice to the gamba) had published the continuo accompaniment for his earlier Pièces à une et à deux violes – this was quite a revolutionary move on the young composer’s part.
To reflect this transition effected by Marais – from the gamba being an instrument heard by itself to one operating within a chamber ensemble environment – Paolo Pandolfo has chosen from this First Book works for one or two gambas, with or without continuo support, in the form of a pair of Suites and various individual pieces, including the Tombeau de Mr Méliton and the rarely recorded set of variations Sujet & Diversitez.
stills © Manuel Mohino