A veteran of Jordi Savall's Hespèrion XX and XXI, gambaist Marianne Muller makes her Zig Zag Territories debut with this disc of music by the great French Baroque composer Marin Marais. The repertoire is daunting: the ingenious and evocative Le Labyrinthe, the 32 virtuoso variations on Les Folies d'Espagne, and the 12-movement Suite in E minor from Marais' Second Book of Pièces de viole. These are works that require not just virtuosity, stamina, intense expressivity, and soulful beauty of tone.
French composer Marin Marais (1656-1728) was remarkably prolific, writing nearly 600 compositions for viola da gamba, as well as many operas. One of his major collections of music for the gamba is Suitte d'un Gôut Etranger, a collection of 33 short works written, according to the composer, "to stretch the skill of those who do not like easy pieces." Jordi Savall, the most acclaimed gamba player of the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries, who is responsible for bringing many of Marais' works to light, plays with extraordinary virtuosity and expressiveness.
Based on Shakespeare’s most famous romantic play, Prokofiev’s realisation of Romeo and Juliet as a full-length narrative ballet was audacious in its day. It was written during a period of artistic turmoil under a Soviet regime in which arguments raged over such fundamental aspects as the choice between a happy or a tragic ending. Famous movements such as the Dance of the Knights have helped maintain Romeo and Juliet as Prokofiev’s bestloved stage work. Marin Alsop’s acclaimed cycle of Prokofiev’s Symphonies has been described as ‘an outstanding achievement’ by BBC Music Magazine.