Chrostopher Simpson: The Seasons, The Monthes & other divisions of Time vol.1 (FLAC)
Christopher Simpson: The Seasons, The Monthes & other divisions of Time vol.1 (FLAC)

Composer: Christopher Simpson
Performer: Luca Guglielmi, Matthias Spaeter, Sophie Watillon, Friederike Heumann, Brian Franklin, Marin Marais
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Alpha Productions
Size: 406 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. The Seasons, The Winter: I. Fancy (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, orgue & clavecin)
02. The Seasons, The Winter: II. Aire (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, orgue & clavecin)
03. The Seasons, The Winter: III. Galliard (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, orgue & clavecin)
04. Divisions In A (3 basses de viole)
05. The Monthes: January (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, archiluth & orgue)
06. The Monthes: February (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, archiluth & orgue)
07. The Monthes: March (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, archiluth & orgue)k
08. The Division-Violist: Prélude (Basse de viole seule)
09. The Division-Violist: Minuritiones septimae (Divisions In E) (Basse de viole & orgue)
10. The Seasons, The Spring: I. Fancy (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, archiluth, orgue & clavecin)
11. The Seasons, The Spring: II. Ayre (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, archiluth, orgue & clavecin)
12. The Seasons, The Spring: III. Galliard (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, archiluth, orgue & clavecin)
13. Divisions In G (2 basses de viole, théorbe & clavecin)
14. The Monthes: April (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, archiluth & orgue)
15. The Monthes: May (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, archiluth & orgue)
16. The Monthes: June (Dessus de viole, 2 basses de viole, théorbe, archiluth & orgue)
17. Ier Livre: Sujet… “à divertir”… (Basse de viole seule)

Extraordinarily beautiful

This collection of the first halves of two big suites and a selection of Divisions (sets of variations on a harmonic base) for 2-4 violas da gamba is stunningly beautiful as sound, as skill, as imagination, as spirit. Watillon’s fleet fingers and deep knowledge of all the voices of her dessus bring a completely enthralling experience to the listener. The presence of the organ in the continuo is especially effective in supporting the consort sound, leaving the most abrasive sound color to the theorbo instead of a harpsichord.

Watillon and her ensemble were among the earliest generation to carve their own path after completing their training with Savall and Pandolfo, although she herself began with Kuijken and Pierlot. The dedication of the scions of the gamba community in Europe to educating and then supporting its progeny served them well, both in further training and in providing steady employment while they were maturing. By the time of this recording, sadly the final one, Ms Watillon was a completely mature musician with a clear voice and vivid emotional connection to the instrument’s repertoire.

The music itself is thoroughly mature, simultaneously submitting to the technical limitations of the instrument and pushing the boundaries of composition well beyond its time period. Simpson was born only a few years after Elizabeth I passed on and died shortly after the birth of Bach. The earliest French gamba composers were just beginning to explore the instrument when Simpson was assembling these rhythmically and ornamentally challenging suites.

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