Louis de Caix d’Hervelois certainly isn’t a well-known composer, although he’s been the recipient of a handful of releases dedicated to his music before. This new release is only La Rêveuse’s second disc, but with these fine performances they put forward a good argument that Caix d’Hervelois deserves to be better known.
A student of the great French viola da gamba player Marin Marais (he of Tous les Matins du Monde fame), Caix d’Hervelois’ music is firmly in the galant style – light, melodious, with sometimes startling shifts of timbre and colour.
La Rêveuse plays this music beautifully, with Florence Bolton and Emily Audouin’s viols sometimes lingering for just a fraction of a moment on a single note in the most delightful way. Faster movements are charming, too, with the flowing set of variations La Berg-op-Zoom providing plenty of opportunities for each player to demonstrate their skills.
Traverso player Serge Saitta gets a solo suite (Caix d’Hervelois was apparently canny enough to arrange his viol suites for other instruments, too) which shows off a lovely and natural sense of phrasing.
A couple of well-placed plucked instrument solos (one each from guitar and theorbo, both arranged from viol originals) nicely refresh the listener before the full ensemble returns for the final two suites.
A surprising disc, and one that was a real pleasure to listen to. There’s plenty of releases of music by the big-league composers out there, but, despite Caix d’Hervelois’ obscurity, this is music that’s absolutely well worth your time.
Composer: Louis de Caix d’Hervelois
Work: Dans le Sillage de Marin Marais
Performers: La Rêveuse
Label: Harmonia Mundi HMM902352