Heavenly!

I haven’t done one of these for a while, but this piece is so extraordinary and so undeservedly obscure that I very much wanted to share it. It’s The Bells of St. Genevieve by Marin Marais, a French composer of the generation before Bach and Handel. As a musician, he was one of the great masters of the viol1, which this piece features. While its repetitive, droning harmonies sound old-fashioned, its emphasis on the viol’s deep bass note seem modern, almost baroque music played by John Entwistle.

Marais: La Sonnerie de Sainte Genevieve du Mont
Notes:

  1. Also called the viola da gamba, an ancestor of the cello. []

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Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever. ...more →

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2 thoughts on “Heavenly!

  1. Check this out, from about two and a half centuries earlier:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91jag9yqiqE

    It is a canon in thirty-six–Yes! Thirty-six!–voices. There was a fad for such massive polyphony, but I was a brief one, I suspect due to the technical difficulty, but the small repertoire it produced is fantastic. In this example, the entire text of the canon if ‘Deo Gratias.” This can come through as a cheap gimmick, or as childishly simple, but in this instance the simplicity of the text is gorgeously balanced by the musical technique.

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