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American Record Guide: (11/2019) 
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Reviewer: David W. Moore

Jean de Sainte-Colombe (1640?-1700?) was one of the primary players of, and composers for, the viola da gamba. He taught the famed Marin Marais and has left us no less than 57 Concerts for 2 viols. Les Voix Humaines have recorded all of them for ATMA on four 2-disc albums (2275-8). I own Volume 1, so I can vouch for the fact that the present disc is taken from there and beyond. So should you hold out for the whole collection, or is this enough, or should we forget the whole thing?


Each of the Concerts has a descriptive title. The music is early Baroque but full of variety and succinct. It is played by Susie Napper and Margaret Little on two contrasted gambas, one made in 1703, the other in 1982. They match up very well, and so do the players. The voices keep shifting from one to the other. The result is most enjoyable. But is there competition from outside? Yes, in a way. Wieland Kuijken and Jordi Savall have done Concerts 27, 41, 44 and 48 on their Astrée CD, (E 7729, recorded 1988, not reviewed in ARG). They play repeats in

the first movement of 27 that make more sense than my printed scoring that does not indicate them. Les Voix Humaines does not either. In 44, they omit the final dal segno. That does not help. Les Voix Humaines plays it. Otherwise, both of these programs are performed and recorded to good effect. If you don’t want to go for the complete edition, this is a good place to start. You might be surprised at how expressive and lovely this composer can be, particularly in these hands.

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