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Marin Marais by André Bouys, 1704.

Marin Marais (31 May 1656, Paris – 15 August 1728, Paris) was a French composer and viol player. He studied composition with Jean-Baptiste Lully, often conducting his operas, and with master of the bass viol Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe for 6 months. He was hired as a musician in 1676 to the royal court of Versailles. He did quite well as court musician, and in 1679 was appointed "ordinaire de la chambre du roy pour la viole", a title he kept until 1725.

He was a master of the basse de viol, and the leading French composer of music for the instrument. He wrote five books of Pièces de viole (1686-1725) for the instrument, generally suites with basso continuo. These were quite popular in the court, and for these he was remembered in later years as he who "founded and firmly established the empire of the viol" (Hubert Le Blanc, 1740). His other works include a book of Pièces en trio (1692) and four operas (1693-1709), Alcyone (1706) being noted for its tempest scene.

Titon du Tillet included Marais in Le Parnasse françois, making the following comments on two of his pieces:

A piece from his fourth book entitled The Labyrinth, which passes through various keys, strikes various dissonances and notes the uncertainty of a man caught in a labyrinth through serious and then quick passages; he comes out of it happily and finishes with a gracious and natural chaconne. But he surprised musical connoisseurs even more successfully with his pieces called La Gamme [The Scale], which is a piece de symphonie that imperceptibly ascends the steps of the octave; one then descends, thereby going through harmonious songs and melodious tones, the various sounds of music.

As with Sainte-Colombe, little of Marin Marais' personal life is known after he reached adulthood. Marin Marais married a Parisian, Catherine d'Amicourt, on September 21, 1676. They had 19 children together.

Facsimiles of all five books of Marais' Pièces de viole are published by Éditions J.M. Fuzeau. A complete critical edition of his instrumental works in seven volumes, edited by John Hsu, is published by Broude Brothers.

Contents

Works

Instrumental music

Viol part of Premier couplets (sic) des Folies d'Espagne from the Marin Marais' deuxième livre de pièces de viole for viola da gamba and figured bass
  • Pieces for 1 and 2 viols, Book I (20 August 1686, only solo viols, 1 March 1689 first published with associated basso continuo)
  • Pieces en trio pour les flutes, violon, et dessus de viole (published on 20 December 1692, dedicated to Marie-Anne Roland)
  • Pieces for 1 and 2 viols, Book II (1701), including 32 couplets on "Les folies d'Espagna"
  • Pieces de violes, Book III (1711)
  • Pieces for 1 and 3 viols, Book IV (1717)
  • La gamme et autres morceaux de symphonie (1723, includes La Gamma en forme d'un petit Opera, Sonata a la Maresienne, Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris)
  • Pieces de violes, Book V (1725)
  • 145 Pieces for viol (c. 1680), about 100 pieces were published in Books I - III
  • Concerto for violin and orchestra (lost)
  • Concerto for viol and orchestra (lost)

Operas

  • Idylle dramatique of 1686 (music lost)
  • Alcide ou Triomphe d'Hercule (1693, in collaboration with Louis Lully)
  • Ariane et Bacchus (1696)
  • Alcyone (premiered on 18 February 1706)
  • Sémélé (1709)
  • Pantomime des pages (with Louis Lully, music lost)

Sacred works

  • Te Deum (1701) for the recovery of the Dauphnis (lost)
  • Motet Domine salvum fac regem (1701) for the recovery of the Dauphnis (lost)

Media

Problems listening to this file? See media help.

Discography

Marin Marais, Sonnerie de Ste-Genevieve du Mont, Suite en Do majeur (C major), Suite en Re majeur (D major); performers: N. Harnoncourt, A. Harnoncourt, L.Stastny, H. Tachezi; recording label: Harmonia Mundi, France, no. HMC 90414; 1973, 1987.

Marin Marais, Les Folies d'Espagne, La reveuse, L'arabesque, Le badinage, Sonnerie de Ste-Genevieve du Mont; performers: Jordi Savall (Bass viola da gamba), Pierre Hantaï (Harpsichord), Rolf Lislevand (Theorbo); recording label: Alia Vox, 9821; 2002.

References in Film

Marais and his music were featured in the film Tous les matins du monde (1991), an atmospheric, meticulously imagined life of Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe. Marais' music figured prominently in that film, including his longer work Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris (1723). The role of Marin Marais is played by Gérard Depardieu. A recording of the Sonnerie performed on a Fairlight synthesizer was used in the cult classic film Liquid Sky.

External links


Simple English

Marin Marais (31 May 1656, Paris15 August 1728, Paris) was a French composer and viol player. He studied composition with Jean-Baptiste Lully. Marais often conducted the operas Lully had written. He also studied with Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe for 6 months. De Sainte-Colombe was a master at playing the bass viol. Marais was hired as a musician in 1676 to play at the royal court of Versailles. He did quite well as court musician. In 1679 he was appointed "ordinaire de la chambre du roy pour la viole", a title he kept until 1725.

He was a master of the basse de viol. He wrote a lot of music for that instrument, he was the most important French composer for it. He wrote five books of Pièces de viole (1686-1725). Most of the pieces in the book are suites with basso continuo. These were quite popular in the court, and for these he was remembered in later years as he who "founded and firmly established the empire of the viol" (Hubert Le Blanc, 1740). His other works include a book of Pièces en trio (1692) and four operas (1693-1709). Alcyone (1706) is well-known for its storm scene.

Titon du Tillet wrote about Marais in his book Le Parnasse françois. He describes a piece from Marais' fourth book called The Labyrinth, which, he says, goes through lots of keys. He says that the notes which are often dissonant, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, describe a man caught in a labyrinth. Eventually the man comes out of it happily and the music finishes with a gracious and natural chaconne. Another piece called La Gamme [The Scale], very gradually goes up the steps of the octave and then down again.

As with Sainte-Colombe, little of Marin Marais' personal life is known after he reached adulthood. Marin Marais married a Parisian, Catherine d'Amicourt, on September 21, 1676. They had 19 children together.

Facsimiles of all five books of Marais' Pièces de viole are published by Éditions J.M. Fuzeau. A complete critical edition of his instrumental works in seven volumes, edited by John Hsu, is published by Broude Brothers.

Media

  • St. Germain Bells (file info)
    • Performed by The Advent Chamber Orchestra
  • Problems playing the files? See media help.

References in Film

Marais and his music were featured in the movie Tous les matins du monde (1991). The movie shows a detailed, imagined life of Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe. Marais' music is heard a lot, including his longer work Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris (1723). A recording of the Sonnerie performed on a Fairlight synthesizer was used in the cult classic film Liquid Sky.








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