Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre: Chamber Music from the Brossard Collection

The Bach Players
Coviello Classics COV 81915

Jacquet de la Guerre has become well-known to us as a composer of harpsichord music but this recording of six trio and solo sonatas by The Bach Players is a real revelation. These works were not published – Graham Sadler in the liner notes suggests that they came ahead of any French market for such pieces – but were lent by the composer to Sébastien Brossard, whose copies survive. Four are trio sonatas and two are for solo violin and continuo. The latter have a conventional division into movements but the trio sonatas are through-composed, with short sections of contrasting texture and melody. All are highly inventive melodically, with rich harmony and a liking for parallel thirds and sixths. Italian influence is clear, but Jacquet de la Guerre has made her own very distinctive synthesis with the French style. The group’s beautifully rich sound has been excellently captured with close miking by the recording engineers of Coviello, using the resonant acoustic of St. Michael’s Church Highgate. There is a wonderful unity of purpose among the four players which extends to Silas Wollston’s sensitive playing on the harpsichord of quasi-improvisatory preludes and a tocade, leading directly into four of the sonatas. This is highly accomplished music, played with love and great attention to detail on this recording. Do listen to it.

Noel O’Regan

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