Just as Boismortier would appear to have been the first Frenchman to publish collections of trio sonatas written expressly for two violins and continuo [Op. 18], and for violin, flute and continuo [Op. 41], so too was he almost certainly the first in France to publish a set of trio sonatas conceived specifically for two oboes and continuo, his Six Sonates en Trio pour deux Haubois [...] avec la Baße, Op. 28. At the time of its publication, the originality of this set must have been accentuated by the inclusion of two chamber concertos (not part of the present edition) with the same scoring.
Op. 28 appeared in early 1730, and it represents Boismortier’s second set of ‘Italian’ trio sonatas. As one might expect, it promotes the formal innovations introduced by the composer in his Op. 18 three years earlier (i.e., the total rejection of French character pieces, along with French terminology, French violin clef and French time signatures; the specification of an organ for the realization of the continuo; the alternation of works in major and minor keys etc.). However Op. 28 features a greater number of dance movements (and movements that are conspicuously French in style) than Op. 18, and it also displays a more discernible use of ornaments (notably the French coulé). Op. 28 is in fact the most ‘French’ of Boismortier’s extant sets of ‘Italian’ trio sonatas; if Op. 18 was inspired by the trio sonatas of Corelli and Italian string writing, then Op, 28 seems to hark back to the trio des hautbois introduced by Lully, which was associated with a markedly French repertory.
Boismortier has imbued his Op. 28 sonatas with the same elegance, melodic and harmonic interest, and contrapuntal ability that characterise his other ‘Italian’ trio sonatas, and the works are technically accessible to competent players. As with Op. 41, these compositions are simply unlike similar trio sonatas for the same instrumental combination; it is hoped they will be welcomed enthusiastically by baroque and modern oboists.