Jordi Savall – Tous Les Matins Du Monde OST (1991)

tous les matins portada

Tous les Matins du Monde was the result of novel writer Pascal Quignard’s desire to bring to life a story about one of the greatest composers and perhaps performers of the the viola da gamba (“leg viol” in Italian, from the traditional position in which it is held), Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, and his most famous student, Marin Marais. He partnered with writer-director Alain Corneau, who had been formally trained as a musician before switching interests to film-making in his youth. The writer built a fictitious novel around what little is known about “Jean” de Sainte-Colombe and later adapted it for the movie. The movie has a melancholic tone, suitable for what is known about the composer as a recluse, a trait that Quignard exploited to the point of romanticizing the legend to a believable but ultimately symbolic level as inspiration for the spirit of art.

There was a man who was perfect for the job, his name was Jordi Savall. This decision came as no surprise given that Quignard first found out about Sainte-Colombe from a recording Savall and Wieland Kuijken did of the French composer’s music in 1976 under the title Sieur De Sainte Colombe – Concerts A Deux Violes Esgales. Whether the consequent recordings by the duo of Sainte-Colombe’s music were at least in part due to the movie is unclear, but a second tome was released in 1992 followed by reissues of the older work several years later. Savall was already a well-known name in his world, but the movie boosted it to popular stardom as he became famous all over the world as a viol player and ensemble conductor.

The music in the soundtrack has a very private feel to it and stands in contrast with the contemporary religious music we know was for service. At the same time, it shares with it a quality of “introspection”. What this implies musically, exactly, is something that cannot be pinpointed easily and is probably a confluence of several different traits, similar to how the romantic “authentic” has been systematically analyzed by some in very interesting but abstract descriptions (for instance, simple, understandable melodies in the manner of folk music). The movie depicts a time of transition when a lot of the music that was being made by amateur nobility was increasingly being taken up by professional musicians playing in courts (this is, essentially, what separates Sainte-Colombe and Marais). Herein, the transcendental and the temporal and commonplace are juxtaposed.

This soundtrack consists most of pieces by Sainte-Colombe and Marais with a minimal addition of a few superb piece by other composers. Personally, I recommend “Le Bandinage” by Marin Marais  and the excellent addition of a piece by an anonymous composer simply titled “Fantasie en mi mineur”.

Death Melodies Series: Marin Marais

Marin_Marais_2The Death Melodies Series (DMS) continues with more Baroque.

Frenchman and basse de viol master Marin Marais lived from 1656 to 1728. He was hired as a court musician for the royal court of Versailles in France. During and after his stint appeasing the wigs upstairs, he wrote numerous books for his instrument.

Not much is known of this composer’s personal life after he reached adulthood.

Ironically, former Morbid Angel and Nocturnus drummer/vocalist Mike Browning was recently hospitalized for having enormous kidney stones. His surgery to remove them was successful. Marin Marais‘ morbid work ‘The Bladder Stone Operation‘ for viol and harpsichord would have been a suiting victory soundtrack.

Q&A with Mike Browning regarding his surgery:

When did you realize something was odd in your body?

About 3 weeks ago I started getting a very bad pain on my left side, right in the area above were your leg and body meet. This is the 3rd time I have had kidney stones, so instantly I knew what it was. The pain got so bad though that I had to go to the emergency room!

How long did the procedure last?

They used a laser on me to crush up one large and several small stones in my left kidney, the whole procedure lasted almost 3 hours, luckily I was under anesthesia!

What type of medication did the doctors give you after the surgery?

They only gave me a bottle of hydrocodone 5 mg, which is not much more than taking a couple aspirins!

Did you at any point think about Marin Marais while you were hospitalized?

No, until now I have never heard of Marin Marais! The only thing I thought about was pain and when it would all be over!!!

Mike Browning prepping for surgery.

kidney stoneLe Tableau De L’Operation De La Taille (in 17th Century French)

L’aspect de l’apareil – Fremißement en le voyant – Resolution pour y monter – Parvenu jusqu’au hault – descente dudit apareil – Reflexions serieuses – Entrelaßement des soyes – entre les bras et les jambes – Icy se fait l’incision – Introduction de la tenette – Icy lon tire la piere – Icy lon perd quasi la voyes – Ecoulement du sang – Icy lon osteles soyes – Icy lon vous transporte dans le lit.

English Translation:

The depiction of a waist surgery – The appearance of the operating table – A shudder on seeing it – Determination when mounting it – Climbing in – Climbing out and dismounting – Grave thoughts – Knotting the silk restrains for arms and legs – Then the incision is made – Introduction of the forceps – Then the stone is drawn – Then you nearly lose your voice – Blood flows – Then the silks are unknotted – Then you are taken to bed.

Here we have a viola da gamba and harpsichord performing Marin Marais‘ bladder stone song.

Aside from composing about his own surgical encounters, Marin Marais was also very proficient at creating a simple motif and building complex structures upon it.