Boismortier’s numerous musical achievements include composing the first (and probably the only) concertos for two unaccompanied melody instruments, namely his Op. 38: VI Concerto pour 2 Flutes-traversieres ou autres Instrumens, sans Baße. These remarkable works date from 1732, by which time he had already written several sets of sonatas with the same scoring. But unlike the sonatas, which generally conform to the Italian sonata da camera and treat both instruments equally, the Op. 38 concertos are based on the Vivaldian three-movement concerto and tend to privilege the first flute, the second frequently relegated to providing a pseudo-bass accompaniment.
Despite their drastically reduced resources, these pieces are indeed ‘Italian’ concertos, featuring distinct solo episodes and ritornellos. As do Boismortier’s other surviving concertos, they demonstrate the composer’s originality and ingenuity, and his skill in employing the simplest of means to write what would otherwise be large-scale instrumental works.
“This is unusual, delightful music with much appeal.”