Pièces de clavecin, Livre IV, Vingt-deuxième ordre (Arr. for 2 viols by Les Voix humaines): I. Le trophée - Listen on Spotify
Pièces de clavecin en concerts, Premier concert (Arr. for 2 viols by Les Voix humaines): I. La Coulicam - Listen on Spotify
Les Goûts-réunis, ou Nouveaux Concerts : Treizième Concert: III. Sarabande (Tendrement) - Listen on Spotify
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Monreal-based viol de gambists Susie Napper and Margaret Little formed a partnership in 1985 naming themselves Les Voix Humaines and since that time, they have earned a formidable reputation for their performances of early music chiefly by English and French composers. Over the years, the duo has been augmented by gambists Mélisande Corriveau and Felix Deak, with violinist Jessy Dubé joining the ensemble in 2021. This newest recording on the ATMA label – humorously titled Anguille sous roche – or Something Fishy – marks a departure in personnel in that Corriveau replaces Little here in duets with Napper in a program of music by Marin Marais, François Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau.
The music is drawn from several sources – Couperin’s collection Les Goûts Réunis from 1724, Rameau’s only collection of chamber music published in 1741, and from various collections of Piėces de Viole by Marais. Most of the pieces are barely four minutes in length and while many of them are dance movements, others are more fanciful in nature such as Rameau’s La Coulicam (referring to the Persian conqueror Thamas Kuli Khan) and the finale, L’Anguille (the Eel).
Throughout, Napper and Corriveau produce a wonderfully resonant sound, the phrasing keenly articulated. The German poet Goethe once described chamber musicians as “having a conversation” and this is certainly the case with the intimate and intuitive approach taken by the two performers. There is nothing at all “fishy” about this recording – attractive repertoire and solid musicianship make it a welcome addition to the Baroque chamber catalogue.