- Trio Sonata for 2 violins & continuo in D major, Op. 4/2
- Trio Sonata for violin, flute & continuo in G minor, Op. 1/6
This release is part of a series from the veteran historical-instrument group London Baroque, covering the trio sonata (a work for two solo parts, here voilins, and harmonic continuo) in different specific countries at different times. The material is thus a mixed bag in terms of sheer quality, but there's a great deal to be gained from this approach. Here, after an opening example from the locus classicus of the French trio sonata in the 18th century, François Couperin's collection "Les Nations" of 1726, London Baroque offers four more works from composers ranging from only moderately known (Jean-Marie Leclair, Joseph Boismortier) to completely unknown (Charles Dollé and Jean-Pierre Guignon, who was actually an Italian named Giovanni Pietro Ghignone). The small piece by Boismortier, very much in the vein of his domestic pieces for recorder, is attractive, and the work by Leclair is novel with its substantial slow movement for two violins alone. None of these works will rewrite the history of the trio sonata, but together they add to our knowledge of the French scene and are even of interest to the casual listener wanting an answer to the question "What were all those French people listening to while they were looking at those frilly paintings by Fragonard and Watteau of aristocrats happily frolicking in the outdoors?" Following Couperin's dictum of a merger of French and Italian styles, the French trio sonata became more and more Italian in shape, but it retained its French propensity for glittery decoration. The London Baroque executes all the ornaments crisply and does a beautiful job catching the dashes of harmonic color in the Couperin. BIS' sound is a weak point here; it at least has the virtue of being clear, but the severe environment of Hampshire's St. Martin's church is far removed from the spaces in which this music originally lived.