Ars Production has made available a little known collection of pieces by baroque composer Charles Dollé (ca.1700-ca.1755), his Pièces de viole, op. 2 of 1737 for bass viol and basso continuo. The performances are by gambist Petr Wagner and harpsichordist Jacques Ogg.
Very few of us are familiar with Charles Dollé or his music, in part because he has been largely ignored by music scholars. A baroque mystery, only a rough estimate of his birth and death dates has been attempted. We know that he was active in Paris between 1735 and 1755 through the surviving printed collections of his music and that he was an esteemed performer and teacher of the viol. These scant facts leave music scholars with very little to write, creating an anonymity that is only compounded by all that has been written about his famous contemporaries, Marin Marais and Antoine Forqueray.
Of these two well known composers for the viol, Dollé's compositional style was more influenced by the music of Marin Marais. Whereas Forqueray's music tends to be more technically flamboyant, that of Marais, and of Dollé, is more harmonically and melodically graceful. If you enjoy the music of Marin Marais, you will likely also enjoy that of Charles Dollé.
Unfortunately we know absolutely nothing about the life of Charles Dollé. Not even his approximate birth and death dates are known. From his six collections of instrumental works published between 1737 and 1754 we can logically infer that he was a Frenchman, a viola da gamba virtuoso, and a composer. The chronic dearth of further information about this musician is evidently the reason why music historians have either completely passed him by or relegated him to mere footnote, in the shadow of his contemporaries Marin Marais and Antoine Forqueray who are generally regarded as representing the best and technically most difficult works for viola da gamba. Petr Wagner gets Dollé's music out of his undeserved shadowy existence.
Charles Dollé (1700 – 1755) was a French viol player and composer. Very little is known about his life. He was active in Paris and was a sought-after teacher of viol. His music, all of which involves the viol in some way, was influenced by Marin Marais and Italian style, which is most prominent in Dollé’s late works (although they retain the characteristically French ornamentation).
Born in Prague, Petr Wagner studied cello at the Prague Conservatoire with Josef Chuchro. This was followed by studies in musicology at the Charles‘ University in Prague and at the Royal Holloway University of London. There he was introduced to viola da gamba by Richard Boothby, later continuing with Jaap ter Linden at the Akademie für alte Musik Dresden.
Jacques Ogg is a performer on both harpsichord and fortepiano; he teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague; he conducts and he makes recordings, either solo or with friends and colleagues. He was born in Maastricht (the Netherlands) and studied harpsichord in the city of his birth with Anneke Uittenbosch.
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Listen to Marin Marais' famous Les Voix humaines performed by our violist here, Petr Wagner
Charles Dollé: Premiere Suite in G Major - VII and VIII