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Reviewer: Julie Anne Sadie

A selection of French viol consort music in some intriguing arrangements

Listeners should be aware that the group's organist, Leonardo Garcia-Alarcein, has arranged some of the pieces for larger forces, notably the two-part fantaisies of Louis Couperin, and that organ or theorbo has been added to others. Purists will wish they could hear the works as they have come down to us side by side with these versions. Some are more successful than others: in the Charpentier Concert the theorbo in the Sarabande helps to distinguish the tutti passages from the solos and appropriately introduces the closing Passecaille.

Those accustomed to the leadership style of Jordi SavaII in recordings of early consort music will note with interest the egalitarian approach of Andrea de Carlo's Ensemble Mare Nostrum to this music and may wish for more polarity between the outer voices. This is especially the case when the bass is reinforced. The recording ends magnificently with Louis Couperin's rhetorically powerful five-part fantaisies, drawing from the musicians their best playing.

Dare we hope to see a further disc from them of French consort music by Guillet, De Cousu, Metru and even the recently discovered dances for three bass viols attributed to "Monsieur Forcroy", not to mention similar works by Sainte-Colombe, Marais and even Francois Couperin, to complete the picture?

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