Guillemain: Second livre de sonates en quatuor, œuvre XVII

Ensemble la Française
musica ficta MF8034

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Inspired by Telemann’s superb examples, a handful of French composers wrote quartets for the flute/violin/viol/bc combination. Guillemain, one of the most notable violinists of his day, actually wrote two sets, his Op.12 and then this set Op.17 (1756), elaborate re-workings of his Op.13 harpsichord and violin Pièces. He set out to create Conversations galantes et amusantes and absolutely succeeded in this aim. The music is endlessly engaging and there is a real sense of joy in the performances, particularly in the little moments where one instrument offers a musical contradiction to others already playing. And it’s not all froth. Lovers of counterpoint (like me!) will not be disappointed.

And the booklet gives us what we need in decent English (as well as its original French). Hallelujah!

David Hansell

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