Marais was a master of all the subtleties of inégal bowing technique and of agréments (ornaments), and this was what gave his music its undeniably French flavor. Other French musicians, including the celebrated Antoine Forqueray, preferred a more Italianate aesthetic. The critic Hubert le Blanc, in his Défense de la basse de viole (1740), compared the two musicians, claiming that Marin Marais played “like an angel,” and Antoine Forqueray “like the devil.” Marais published five books of pieces for viol and continuo. The most exceptional volume was the fourth, which appeared in 1717. It contains these two Pièces à trois violes. Marais noted that such pieces, with three independent parts, had never before been written in France.
Marin MARAIS (1656-1728) : Première et deuxième suites à trois violes en ré majeur (Pièces à une et trois violes, IVe livre, 1717) ; Le tombeau pour Monsieur de Lully (Pièces de violes, IIe livre, 1701)