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The Consort

Frances Jones

Volume 72, Summer 2016

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier
Six Trio Sonatas Op. 28, Vol. 1 (Nos. 1- 3),
for 2 oboes and basso continuo
ed. Michael Elphinstone
Edition HH, HH 379.fsp, Launton, 2015 (pbk, £25)
ISMN 979 0 708092 99 5

Fortunato Chelleri Trio Sonata in G minor for 2 oboes and basso continuo
ed. Michael Talbot
Edition HH, HH 382.fsp, Launton, 2015 (pbk, £9.95)
ISMN 979 0 708041 18 4


According to the editorís detailed Introduction, Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755) was a prolific French composer, noteworthy for his promotion of Italian style and form. His musical style was influenced by his study of the works of Vivaldi and Albinoni. With the growth of amateur music-making in Paris in the eighteenth century, Boismortier found a ready market for melodious, technically accessible chamber music. He published nine collections of trio sonatas, of which the earlier sets are French in style, with descriptive titles to the movements, a programmatic content and French clefs and terminology.

This Op. 28 collection of six sonatas shows a more refined Italianate approach, with movement titles such as Affetuoso, Giga and Sarabanda. The set was published in 1730 and is scored for two oboes and basso continuo, with the suggested alternatives of two flutes or two violins, as was usual at the time. The first four sonatas are in tonally linked pairs, G major and G minor, followed by D major and D minor; the final two are not, however, in F major and F minor, because the four flats required in the key of F minor were both difficult to play and more out of tune on a baroque oboe; therefore the final sonata of the set is in the technically less demanding key of E minor.

The music is an attractive blend of French and Italian styles, with much ornamentation and a light texture. It lies well under the fingers for the oboe and exploits the most sonorous parts of the instrumentís range to good effect; the writing is not idiomatic for flutes or violins, although it would not be a problem to play the sonatas on these instruments. The movements provide much contrasting material and would make a pleasant evening of entertainment both for players and for listeners. The keyboard realisation is provided by Michael Talbot; the typesetting is pleasing and clear.

Fortunato Chelleri (c. 1690-1757) was from a family of Bavarian origin (the surname sometimes appears as Kelleri); however he grew up in northern Italy, where he received musical training in singing, cello, keyboard and composition. He worked in Venice at the same time as Vivaldi; thereafter his career took him to Germany, Spain and Sweden. His prolific output includes operas, oratorios, cantatas, church music, chamber music and works for keyboard.

This trio sonata is specifically written for two oboes and basso continuo; the keyboard realisation here is provided by Michael Talbot. The work has four movements: Adagio, Allegro, Gigue and Menuet. It displays a mix of German and Italian style, with solid Handelian imitative writing in contrast to light repeating figurations reminiscent of Vivaldi. It exploits the colours and range of the oboes well, from the plangent to the skittish: overall it is a welcome addition to the trio sonata repertoire for this instrument, attractive, full of contrast and humour.

We are grateful to theThe Consort for permission to reproduce this review.
Add to shopping basketBoismortier, Op. 28/1-3
Leaflet Descriptive leaflet (Boismortier)

Add to shopping basketChelleri, Trio Sonata
Leaflet Descriptive leaflet (Chelleri)

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