Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe

Saturday, May 09, 2009
When our friend Barbara posted a youtube clip of her sister Lynn Tetenbaum performing "La Raporteé" by Sainte-Colombe . . .

I went out and rented Tous les Matins du Monde, the story of Sainte-Colombe and Marin Marais. What a treat--this is a most excellent film.

Sainte-Colombe was a 17th century French composer and violist. A master musician, he would spend 15 hours a day in a cabin with only his viol, and is credited for adding the 7th string (AA) to the bass viol.

The scene in the film where Sainte-Colombe plays "Tomb of Sorrows" with a vision of his departed wife is especially poignant. At the end of the film , he plays "Tears", a piece taken from "Tomb of Sorrows," for his departed wife and eldest daughter Madeleine in what is probably the most moving scene in the film.

Marin Marais, who is played and narrated by Gérard Depardieu, was Sainte-Colombe's protégé. The scene in which Marais plays "The Follies of Spain" for the Sainte-Colombes before playing a composition of his own was beautifully done. The music in the film is performed and conducted by Jordi Savall. I can't wait to pick up a few of his albums.

"Maybe true music is linked to silence?" is a question posed by Marais in the film -a question I'm still mulling over--which in the film is later answered by Sainte-Colombe when he says, "Music exists to say things that words cannot say . . . Silence is . . . the opposite of language."


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