Marin Marais

Marin Marais

born on 31/5/1656 in Paris, Île-de-France, France

died on 15/8/1728 in Paris, Île-de-France, France

Marin Marais

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Marin Marais (French pronunciation: [ma]; 31 May 1656, Paris 15 August 1728, Paris) was a French composer and viol player. He studied composition with Jean-Baptiste Lully, often conducting his operas, and with master of the bass viol Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe for six months. He was hired as a musician in 1676 to the royal court of Versailles. He did quite well as court musician, and in 1679 was appointed ordinaire de la chambre du roy pour la viole, a title he kept until 1725.


He was a master of the basse de viol, and the leading French composer of music for the instrument. He wrote five books of Pièces de viole (1686-1725) for the instrument, generally suites with basso continuo. These were quite popular in the court, and for these he was remembered in later years as he who "founded and firmly established the empire of the viol" (Hubert Le Blanc, 1740). His other works include a book of Pièces en trio (1692) and four operas (1693-1709), Alcyone (1706) being noted for its tempest scene.

Titon du Tillet included Marais in Le Parnasse françois, making the following comments on two of his pieces, Le Labyrinthe, perhaps inspired by the labyrinth of Versailles,[1] and La Gamme:

As with Sainte-Colombe, little of Marin Marais' personal life is known after he reached adulthood. Marin Marais married a Parisian, Catherine d'Amicourt, on 21 September 1676. They had 19 children together.

Facsimiles of all five books of Marais' Pièces de viole are published by Éditions J.M. Fuzeau. A complete critical edition of his instrumental works in seven volumes, edited by John Hsu, is published by Broude Brothers.

Marais is credited with being one of the earliest composers of program music.[2] His work The[3] Bladder-Stone Operation, for viola da gamba and harpsichord, includes composer's annotations such as "The patient is bound with silken cords" and "He screameth."[2] The title has often been interpreted as "The Gall-Bladder Operation," but that surgery was not performed until the late 19th century.[4] Urinary bladder surgery to remove stones was already a medical specialty in Paris in the 17th century.[5][6]


Instrumental music

Viol part of Premiers couplets (sic) des Folies d'Espagne from the Marin Marais' deuxième livre de pièces de viole for viola da gamba and figured bass
  • Pieces for 1 and 2 viols, Book I (20 August 1686, only solo viols, 1 March 1689 first published with associated basso continuo)
  • Pieces en trio pour les flutes, violon, et dessus de viole (published on 20 December 1692, dedicated to Marie-Anne Roland)
  • Pieces for 1 and 2 viols, Book II (1701), including 32 couplets on "Les folies d'Espagne"
  • Pièces de violes, Book III (1711)
  • Pieces for 1 and 3 viols, Book IV (1717; includes the famous Suitte d'un Goût Étranger.)
  • La gamme et autres morceaux de symphonie (1723, includes La Gamme en forme d'un petit Opéra, Sonate à la Maresienne, Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris)
  • Pièces de violes, Book V (1725)
  • 145 Pieces for viol (ca. 1680), about 100 pieces were published in Books I III


  • Idylle dramatique of 1686 (music lost)
  • Alcide (1693, in collaboration with Louis Lully)
  • Ariane et Bacchus (1696)
  • Alcyone (premiered on 18 February 1706)
  • Sémélé (1709)
  • Pantomime des pages (with Louis Lully, music lost)

Sacred works

  • Te Deum (1701) for the recovery of the Dauphin (lost)
  • Motet Domine salvum fac regem (1701) for the recovery of the Dauphin (lost)


  • Marin Marais, Sonnerie de Ste-Genevieve du Mont, Suite en Do majeur (C major), Suite en Re majeur (D major); performers: N. Harnoncourt, A. Harnoncourt, L. Stastny, H. Tachezi; recording label: Harmonia Mundi, France, no. HMC 90414; 1973, 1987.
  • Marin Marais, Les Folies d'Espagne, La reveuse, L'arabesque, Le badinage, Sonnerie de Ste-Genevieve du Mont; performers: Jordi Savall (Bass viola da gamba), Pierre Hantaï (Harpsichord), Rolf Lislevand (Theorbo); recording label: Alia Vox, 9821; 2002.
  • Marin Marais : Pièces de viole du Second Livre, 1701 (Le Parnasse de la Viole, vol. II) Jordi Savall et al. Alia Vox AV 9828
  • Marin Marais : Suitte d'un Goût Étranger, Pièces de viole du Livre IV, 1717 (Le Parnasse de la Viole, vol. III) Jordi Savall et al. Alia Vox AVSA 9851
  • Marin Marais ~ Pièces de viole des Cinq Livres ~ J.Savall, C. Coin, T. Koopman, H. Smith, A. Gallet ~ Alia Vox AVSA 9872
  • Marin Marais Unedited Music from Scottish Manuscripts Volume 1
  • Marin Marais Unedited Music from Scottish Manuscripts Volume 2

References in film

  • Marais and his music were featured in the film Tous les matins du monde (1991), an atmospheric, meticulously imagined life of Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe. Marais' music figured prominently in that film, including his longer work Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris (1723). The role of Marin Marais is played by Gérard Depardieu as an old man and by Guillaume Depardieu as a young man.
  • A recording of the Sonnerie performed on a Fairlight synthesizer was used in the cult classic film Liquid Sky.


  1. track listing for Marais' Le Labyrinthe.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Henri Temianka (1973). Facing the music; an irreverent close-up of the real concert world, New York: David McKay Co..
  3. Evers S.(1993). "[Tableau de l'opération de la taille by Marin Marais (1725)a bladder calculus operation represented in music]" (in German). Urologe A 32 (3): 2549. PMID 8511837.
  4. [G. Grey Turner], "History of Gall-Bladder Surgery," British Medical Journal, 4 March 1939, pp. 46465.
  5. Traité de la lithotomie, ou de l'extraction de la pierre hors la vessie. Avec les figures.Par François Tolet... .... Author: François Tolet; Léon-Auguste? Boyer Publisher: A Paris : Chez l'autheur, 1682.'_de_la_lithotomie_ou_De_l'extraction_de_la_pierre_hors_de_la_vessie
  6. François Tolet, "Lithotomy, or a treatise of the extraction of the stone out of the bladder . . . , [London], Will. Whitwood, 1689. [Google ebooks]

External links

  • Free scores by Marin Marais in the International Music Score Library Project
  • Video - Marais - La Sonnerie/cembalo - Complete (09:58).
  • Video - Mariais - La Sonnerie/trio - Complete (07:59).
This page was last modified 21.12.2013 09:36:33

This article uses material from the article Marin Marais from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.