The Marais Project
Smörgasbord – CD REVIEW
Marin Marais, living between 1656-1728 and a son of a shoemaker, was employed as a court musician and composer at the very peak of the French love affair with the viola da gamba of which he was one of the greatest ever exponents.
Membership of the Marais Project depends on the repertoire but the core ensemble revolves around two viola da gambas played by Jennifer Eriksson and Catherine Upex, singer Belinda Montgomery and Tommie Andersson on theorbo. The ensemble is periodically augmented by violinist Fiona Ziegler, gambist Danny Yeadon and variously supported by harpsichordists Raymond Harvey, Chris Berenson and Anthony Hamad.
The Project has been continuously pushing the boundaries of the viola da gamba repertoire and this CD is their fifth. So why an Australian CD of Swedish music. And as they say why not? Smörgasbord is about exploring the contrasts in history, language and culture between the two countries, countries which straddle the deep north and the far south of the globe. And the music does this vey well.
The repertoire spans Swedish gorgeously arranged folk songs and toe tapping fiddle tunes to a flute sonata by baroque master, Johann Helmich Roman, a trio sonata by Marais, a pavane by Swedish jazz super stars e.s.t, and even a French baroque inspired version of an ABBA song.
Jennifer Eriksson founded the Marais project in 2000 and also directs the Musica Viva in schools ensemble. Many of the works on this label have been arranged by Tommie Andersson who was born in Sweden and is now considered Australia’s leading specialist in lutes and early guitars.
The choice of repertoire easily reflects very varied colourful texture, the music is gentle, easily identifiable as Baroque and needs to be added to all self-respecting CD collections.
– Emyr Evans