Collection: Marais, Marin

Marin Marais, painting of the composer with his viola da gamba.

Marin Marais (1656-1728), was a French composer and musician, for most of his career employed as a court musician in Paris. Today he is mainly associated with the viola da gamba. He is acknowledged as the prime exponent of the high art of this instrument. In addition to music in many other genres, he left five books containing about 550 pieces of solo and chamber music for it. 

With similarities in the number of strings and tuning, the viola da gamba has more in common with the guitar (and lute) than most of the other instruments from which guitar repertory is derived. In particular, pieces where the gamba is treated as a chordal instrument (a few of them even attempting to copy the playing style of lutenists) are very suitable for the guitar. As in Marais’ original collections, the 15 pieces for guitar presented here have been organized in “suites” by tonality, not necessarily to be performed as such. The pieces are not presented in their original order, but an attempt has been made to group them with concern to theme and variation in expression.