Marais, Lully’s protégé, was one of the most outstanding violinists at the court of Louis XV. He revolutionised the instrument with his virtuosic technique, introducing the use of harmonic sounds. Of particular note among his five books of viola da gamba pieces is the fourth, to which the Suite d’un goût étranger pertains, and which consists of a series of pieces of a descriptive or pictorial nature.
Antoine Forqueray, Marais’s competitor in courtly circles, was always supported by Louis XIV. He was admired for this virtuosity on the viola da gamba, transferring the agility and technique of the Italian violinists to this instrument. A shining example of this are the pieces performed by Vittorio and Lorenzo Ghielmi, and which come from his best-known collection: the Pièces pour le viole, published in 1747.