"Pieces de viole seule" - Suite for solo viola da gamba

1. Allemande

2. Courante

Performed by John Dornenburg

*Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe was a French composer and gambist.

It is speculated by various scholars that Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe was of Lyonnaise or Burgundian petty nobility; and also the selfsame 'Jean de Sainte-Colombe' noted as the father of 'Monsieur de Saint Colombe le fils'. This assumption was erroneous as proved by subsequent research taken on by Jonathan Dunford in Paris [1] In fact he was probably from the Pau area in southernmost France and Protestant; his first name was "Jean". His two daughters were named Brigide and Françoise. Sainte-Colombe was vastly celebrated as a veritable master of the viola da gamba, for he did not merely master the instrument, but also improved upon it: he is acclaimed as having added the seventh string (AA) on the bass viol.

In accordance with the celebrated aloofness of Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, he is claimed to have performed only occasional concerts and exclusively at his home, in consort with his two daughters, whom he had trained. Aside from them, Sainte-Colombe's students included the Sieur de Danoville, Desfontaines, Méliton, Jean Rousseau, and, most notably, Marin Marais, who wrote, Tombeau pour Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe in 1701 as homage to his instructor.

Amongst the extant works of Sainte-Colombe are sixty-seven Concerts à deux violes esgales, and over 170 pieces for solo seven-string viol, making him the most prolific of French viol composers before Marin Marais.

In 1991, Alain Corneau directed a film inspired by the life of Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe entitled Tous les matins du monde, with Jean-Pierre Marielle as Sainte-Colombe and Gérard Depardieu as the aged Marin Marais.