M. de Saint-Colombe was credited with adding a seventh string on the bass viol, the instrument Jordi Savall will be playing. He is considered the most prolific composer for the viol before Marin Marais, whom he taught for six months before letting him go, fearing he would soon outshine his teacher.
Found in “Pièces de Viole du 2e livre”, Les Voix Humaines is a lesson in the variety in expression available to those who have mastered bowing techniques used to play the viola da gamba.
This work was first performed in the court of Louis XIV as a comèdie-ballet- an early version of an opera. This work showcases the versatility of the viola da gamba in instrumental ensembles.
Les Concerts Royaux were also performed for Louis XIV as a set of four suites intended for listening rather than dancing. There is no clear indication of instrumentation, so these works can be performed by a solo harpsichord or by an ensemble, as you’ll hear on March 1.