I hope everyone who reads this is doing well. I am so pleased to see our Covid-19 infection rates continue to be relatively low, but I really feel for those places in the world where there is still a real struggle against the disease. I do realise that we cannot take progress here for granted. We have to continue to be vigilant in Australia.

Happy 364th birthday to Marin Marais

Marin Marais

The Marais Project’s namesake was born in Paris on 31 May 1656 meaning that in 2020 he celebrates 364 candles! The Marais Project has spent 20 years working our way through Marais’ wonderful music for one, two and three viols and have even recorded some of his chamber music. Here is a link to a short article I published about Marais’ life and work several years ago. https://www.maraisproject.com.au/birth-and-re-birth-of-a-genius-the-life-and-times-of-marin-marais-born-may-31-1656/#.XtGbDcCuaIE

I’ve also just released a new video of Marais’ Suite in e minor that I recorded with Emily-Rose Šárkova on piano accordion. Emily-Rose also made the arrangement. You can view here or find the link at the end of this post. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8AG1p_qlFc

Artists to enrich your life

I am going to take a risk and recommend a CD that I have not heard yet but have ordered. “Marais Le Secret De Monsieur Marais” by gambist Vittorio Ghielmi is intriguing to say the least. The following passage comes from the “outhere music” website:

“Between 1680 and 1728, Marin Marais brought the pièce de  viole to the peak of perfection. An ‘unremitting’ teacher, he was also the publisher of his own music and invented special signs to notate certain ornaments for the viol. In the course of his research at the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Italian gambist Vittorio Ghielmi studied these manuscript codes, in the hand of Marais himself or his direct students. ‘This led me to a new vision of French Baroque music, which applies not only to the viola da gamba, but also to vocal and orchestral music. These signs reveal the technique of playing in action. Contrary to the static descriptions of the treatises of the time, one has the impression of seeing didactic “videos”.’ This album, entirely devoted to the music of Marais, alternates récits for solo viola with orchestral pieces, all of them reinterpreted in the light of the new discovery of Monsieur Marais’s ‘codes’. In addition to Parisian viols of the time, Vittorio Ghielmi owns an instrument by the famous luthier Michel Colichon (a friend of Marais’s teacher Sainte-Colombe), made in Paris in 1688. Only two of the five surviving viols by Colichon are still in playable condition.”  

7-string viola da gamba

In Australia, you can buy the CD at Readings. https://www.readings.com.au/products/32741802/marais-le-secret-de-monsieur-marais Let me know what you think. I will report back again when I have actually heard the recording.

The Marais Project on-line broadcast

We are so pleased to have been asked to perform on one of the prestigious classical music on-line broadcast sites that has developed in recent weeks. I will get back with details as soon as possible. This is a ticketed broadcast and every $ paid goes to us, the musicians. More details soon.

Playlist of the week – Sweet Viol Suites

Much of the music ancient and modern for viola da gamba is organised in suites. I have now done two “Sweet Viol Suites” playlists. This is the second. Enjoy! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/155MfF8WRTjbJLwp4Obxgm?si=Bvjg8ZnnRd-QlLXNRtQpZw

All my best wishes.

Jenny Eriksson

Founder and Artistic Director The Marais Project, Elysian Fields and Da Vinci’s Apprentice; June 1, 2020