In terms of compositions, he composed more than 550 for one, two, or three bass viols with figured bass, and he composed four operas.
He composed 180 solo bass viol pieces and 67 concerts a deux violes esgales which, according to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, "regularly defy harmonic rules by using parallel 5ths or unresolved dissonances which are quite unsettling to the ear.
For a start, it makes no sense to begin talking about a hierarchy of instruments (with horns and bass viols
high and recorders and violas low) independently of a hierarchy of players.
In addition, the English division style casts a long shadow over this repertory; extended variations on ground basses and the use of the extreme high register of the bass viol
suggest the influence of Christopher Simpson, Henry Butler, and the numerous lesser-known English emigre musicians on the continent.
Fantasia-Suites for Two Violins, Bass Viol
, and Organ.
The In Nomine contains especially difficult lines for the bass viols
, while the variations on "Go from My Window" feature dotted running passages in all the parts, as well as frequent octave leaps and close imitation between the treble parts.
To anyone who has seen the film Tous les matins du monde, the very special pleasure to be had from the French Baroque repertory for two solo bass viols
needs no advocacy.
Both the Purcell Quartet and the Greate Consort give us Lawes's `new' version, in which the "middle' pert has been distributed between the two bass viols
On this disc the upper parts are played an octave lower and allotted to bass viols
, a sonority which Charpentier associates with Orpheus rather than the `fantomes'.
Perhaps one should say two new editions, as separate volumes give the so-called `new version', scored for two violins, two bass viols
and two theorbos, and based principally on Lawes's autograph scorebook, and the `old version', for two treble, one tenor and one bass viols
(or perhaps violins), with continuo, which is preserved only in later sources but which, according to a note on one of the manuscripts, represents Lawes's original conception.
Lupo's six-part fantazia (VdGS 9) is a high point, with its lively idiomatic divisions for the two bass viols
supported by melodic upper parts.
21) Broadly speaking, the instrumental ranges correspond to those of a treble viol, two tenors and two basses, although the treble part tends to be low and voice III (called `Tenor') can be played on a bass viol