To clarify here, the viola da gamba is *not* the same as a modern viola.
A collection curated by Mme. Hardy on live journal:
John Dowland, “Now, o now I needs must part”, performed by Dorothy Linell and Steven Rickards:
As she notes there:
Perhaps it’s just the way it’s always miked and performed, but there’s an alien-ness, an apartness to lute music; even when it’s chipper (and Dowland is definitely not). Renaissance and early music don’t wrap themselves around you in waves of love; they stand at the other end of the room and play. If you want to listen, well enough, and if not, they’re busy anyway.
If you like this sort of thing, you should also listen to Jordi Savall — start with the soundtrack for “Tous les matins du monde”. (Tous les Matins is late 1600s-early 1700s.) Savall has pretty much single-handedly returned viola da gamba and viol consort music to the spotlight. His various albums range from early music all the way through the Romantic period; I’ve loved all of them, early or not.
Tous Les Matins (Marin Marais, le Badinage):
the YouTube notes add:
J. Savall – Viola da Gamba R. Lislevand – Theorbo from the soundtrack of the film ‘Tous les matins du monde’
Also, a final note, Live performance of “La Follia”:
from a comment by Scripturus on that Youtube, more information:
I think the listeners will appreciate this info:
This folia was composed by Antonio Martín y Coll, who was born on late XVII Century. It’s actual name is “Diferencia sobre las folías” and can be found within his “Flores de Música” compilation book. BTW, if I remember correctly the instrument played in this recording is a Pellegrino Zanetti six-strings bass viola da gamba.
In this vid of a live performance by Jordi Savall, you can see the way the viola da gamba is played, and you can hear it as dance music.