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Early Music Review

Clifford Bartlett
June 2014

BOISMORTIER op. 18

Boismortier Six trio sonatas op. 18 . Volume 1 (nos. 1-3) edited by Michael Elphinstone.
Edition HH (34 364), 2014. 30PP + 3 parts, 25.00

Boismortier is one of those composers who published a wide range of instrumental music. He issued nine sets of trio sonatas. Op. 4 and 7 show him moving out of the French manner into the Italian, a journey that is fully effective in op. 18, published in 1726. It is music that is hardly beginners' repertoire, but can be played with pleasure by reasonably competent amateurs. It sounds well, and is attractive to listeners maybe not up to Handel or Telemann, but useful for both public and private use. Much of his music allows for flexibility in the choice of instrument, but this set is for two violins and continuo. The violin parts lack the virtuosity that later chamber music developed, but the compass is wider than wind instruments could manage. The bass is labelled Organo, which might be intended to imply that specific instrument, though more likely it is just a standard word for continuo. Nos. 4-6 will no doubt follow soon.

We are grateful to the editor of The Early Music Review for permission to reproduce this review.
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