Meisterwerke der französischen Gambenmusik
[Masterpieces of French music for gamba]
Ensemble Art d’Echo, Juliane Laake
Querstand VKJK2110

To variety of presentation of CDs there is no end, it seems. Here the booklet (in German and English) is glued into the cardboard casing and the programme contents appear only on the back of the case. This isn’t a bad idea, actually, once you work out the best way of handling it for your current purpose.

Juliane Laake and her ensemble are skilled interpreters of this wonderful repertoire and the programme is more varied than it may at first sight seem. Some works are for gamba and continuo (the fewer instruments the better, to my ear); there is a luscious concert à deux violes ésgales by Sainte-Colombe; and a suite for treble viol and continuo by Louis Heudelinne, who published the first-ever collection of solos for this instrument. In style, this is perhaps the music Corelli would have written had he been French and played the viol. I found it more than merely interesting historically, though it is certainly that.

The recital ends with the Marais Folies. If you know anyone who wonders what a viol can do, just play them this!

David Hansell

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