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Marin Marais

May 31, 1656 - August 15, 1728
born in Paris, France, composed during the Baroque period
Marais was the preeminent bass viol player in turn-of-the-seventeenth century France. Although he composed four operas, he is primarily remembered for his some 600 compositions for various combinations of bass viols. These works were in the French tradition of collections of various pieces, rather than the Italian concertos and sonatas. The collections, ranging from seven to 41 pieces each, consist primarily of dances, fantasies, chaconnes, rondeaux, tombeaux, and pièces de caractère. These last are short, colorful works including descriptive titles such as Les voix humaines and Cloche ou carillon. There is even one work that is meant to describe an operation for the removal of a bladder stone. Marais intended these pieces to be played on any instruments, but they are in fact idiomatically suited for the bass viol and represent the finest collection of pieces for that instrument. Among Marais' numerous other compositions, his Pieces en trio pour les flûtes, violon, et dessus de viole (Trios for flute, violin and highest viol) of 1692 was the first published set of trio sonatas in France.

Marais spent his entire life in Paris. Little is known of his childhood other than his having studied with Sainte-Colombe, the most prominent violist and teacher at the time. In 1679, he became the "Regular Violist for the King," a position he held until his retirement in 1725. Marais also studied composition with Lully and subsequently worked with him throughout his career as a violist in his ensemble. Lully probably encouraged Marais to compose his four operas, Alcide (1693), Ariane et Bacchus (1696), Alcione (1706), and Sémélé (1709). All four are rather typical five-act tragedies very much in Lully's style, and seemed to have been considerably successful, Alcione being staged as late as 1771. It is as the greatest and most important composer for the bass viol, however, that Marais is remembered today. ~ Steven Coburn, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Marin Marais: Pièces De Viole Du Second Livre, 1701

Title: Suite For Viola Da Gamba & Continuo In E Minor (Pièces De Viole, Book II, Nos. 96-110)
Title: Suite For Viola Da Gamba & Continuo In B Minor (Pièces De Viole, Book II, Nos. 83-95)
x

Track List: Marin Marais - Pieces De Viole Du Second Livre

Title: Couplets De Folies (Les Folies D'espagne), For Viola Da Gamba & Continuo In D Minor (Pièces De Viole, Book II, No. 20)
Title: Pieces In G Major
Title: Suitte, For Viola Da Gamba & Continuo In E Major (Pièces De Viole, Book IV, No. 66)
Title: Tombeau Pour M. De Lully, For Viola Da Gamba & Continuo In B Minor (Pièces De Viole, Book II, No. 95)
Title: Prélude, For Viola Da Gamba & Continuo In D Minor ("Grande Prélude") (Pièces De Viole, Book II, No. 21)
Title: Fantaisie
x

Track List: Marin Marais: Pieces De Viole Des Cinq Livres

Disc 1
Title: Suite En Re Mineur
Title: Chaconne, For 2 Violas Da Gamba & Continuo In G Major (Pièces De Viole, Book I, No. 82)
Title: Suite For 2 Violas Da Gamba & Continuo In G Major (Pièces De Viole, Book I, Nos. 73-82)
Title: Couplets De Folies (Les Folies D'espagne), For Viola Da Gamba & Continuo In D Minor (Pièces De Viole, Book II, No. 20)
Title: Les Voix Humaines, For Viola Da Gamba & Continuo In D Major (Pièces De Viole, Book II, No. 63)
Title: Suite En Si Mineur
Title: Suite For Viola Da Gamba & Continuo In A Minor (Pièces De Viole, Book III, Nos. 1-13)
Title: Suite IV En Re Majeur
Disc 2
Title: Suite VII En Sol Majeur
Title: Suitte D'un Gout Etranger, For Viola Da Gamba & Continuo (Pièces De Viole, Book IV, Nos. 55b-87)
Title: Suite En Sol Mineur
Title: Suite En Mi Mineur/majeur
x

Track List: Marin Marais: Pièces de viole du quatrième livre, 1717 (Suitte d'un goût etranger)

Comments

Les Folies D'Espagne
gwjohnso6
I came across Marais' and Sainte Columbe's music as a result of their inclusion in the score of the film, Tous les matins du monde. I am forever grateful; they have certainly 'expanded my ears'...
Wow. Makes me glad to have lived to this day to have finally heard this!
This is music.
Wow suks
Amazing color and texture
This indeed was the soundrack for the movie Tous Les Matines Du Monde performed by Jordi Saval.
Other than the harpsicord, lute and violin this has to be my favorite type of baroque music.
leo_andujar
Love his music since I was a small kid. Heavenly music!
Love his stuff, so fab!
am i crazy, or have i heard Suitte D'un Gout Etranger in the soundtrack to Tous Les Matines Du Monde? somebody help me here...
pamahoster
One of the greats! His music is consistently inspired and substantive. . . . H e is in my top ten favorite composers. For the uninitated, rent the movie 'All The Mornings of the World" it is about the life of Marin Marais and won 8 french oscars ("Cesars")
wow!

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