Clérambault: Chamber Music from the Brossard Collection

The Bach Players
Coviello Classics COV91928

This disc is a further exploration by the ensemble of Sébastien de Brossard’s library, their previous release having presented music by Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre. Here, we are offered instrumental music by Clérambault, a useful counter-balance to the image of ‘cantata king’ that has developed around him. As with all Bach Players programmes, there is a strong impression that ‘someone has thought about it’. There are three trio sonatas, two solo sonatas (each prefaced by a keyboard prelude) and two chaconnes, also for solo violin and continuo. Further variety is embedded in the music of course: especially striking are those moments when the bass viol engages in the contrapuntal discourse, sometimes to spectacular effect!

I enjoyed the programme very much. There is an unfussy honesty and a unity of purpose about the playing which most emphatically is not a kind way of saying ‘a bit dull’. One hears so many ensembles in this repertoire with kaleidoscopic continuo sections, changes of instrumentation for repeats. etc., that it really is a welcome relief to hear classy performances with everything in place that just say ‘Here’s the music. Isn’t it terrific?’. Yes, it is. The booklet will not disappoint either.

David Hansell

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