Jacquet de La Guerre

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Jacquet de La Guerre
LABELS: Arion
WORKS: Cantates bibliques
PERFORMER: Isabelle Poulenard, Sophie Boulin (soprano), Bernardette Charbonnier (violin), Françoise Bloch (viola da gamba), Claire Giardelli (cello), Brigitte Haudebourg (harpsichord), Georges Guillard (organ), Guy Robert (theorbo)
CATALOGUE NO: ARN 68555 Reissue (1985)
This release was originally part of a two-disc album of vocal and instrumental pieces by Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre issued in 1986. The music by this gifted contemporary of François Couperin is enjoying a renaissance, and justifiably, for it is inventive and affecting. Sopranos Isabelle Poulenard and Sophie Boulin are fluent in the somewhat rarefied idiom of the ‘cantate française’ and the result is delicately pleasing. Four of the cantatas on the disc are taken from Jacquet’s first collection of Cantates françaises sur des sujets tirés de l’écriture, published in 1708, and dedicated to Louis XIV. The fifth work, Jephté, comes from a second collection issued in 1711 and is distinct from the other cantatas on the disc in being written for two voices rather than one. The texts in each case were provided by her younger contemporary Antoine Houdar de La Motte, who is chiefly remembered for his libretti for operas by Campra, Destouches and Marais. Though each piece is inspired by an Old Testament story, Jacquet’s music is neither austere nor discernibly ‘sacré’, often embracing the lighter, airier style galant. The writing is accomplished, full of fresh ideas and never sinks into routine. Singing and playing are not entirely devoid of little insecurities but the recital is well worth getting to know. Nicholas Anderson

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