Folie à Deux
Folie à deux – Generally described as a shared delusional disorder, or a psychosis, this program tries to create exactly that, between two bass violas da gamba. The core of this program is a selection of suites for two equal viols by Mr. de Sainte-Colombe (ca. 1640 – 1700).
Mr. de Sainte-Colombe wrote – among other things – a total of 67 concerts (or, suites) ''pour deux violes égales''. Regarding the harmonies in his pieces, some describe his music as almost avantgarde for his time. There is no hierarchy between the two instruments - Both are treated equally in telling a story of love, death and despair. Mr. de Sainte-Colombe, being a viol player himself, knew exactly how to write for the instrument and make use of the very special characteristics regarding the sound, especially the resonance of the instrument and how these instruments react to one another. Therefore, a Follie à deux!
To add some lightness and contrast to the program, we have added some divisions for two viols by Christopher Simpson. Contemporary with Sainte-Colombe, he was held as one of the greatest musicians of England at the time, and was a well known performer, teacher and composer of the bass viol. His duets mark a high point in the English art of the division viol, coinciding with the fantastical artistry of Sainte-Colombe across the channel.