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Classical - Released September 15, 2017 | Pan Classics

The six Sonates pour le violon et pour le clavecin by Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre (1665- 1729), dedicated to Louis XIV, were published in Paris in 1707 - the  very year  when  the  models  and  the  most  recent invenzioni of  the  Italian  sonata  arrived in  France. But it appears that as early as 1695 Elisabeth had sent a copy of at least two sonatas to her friend Sébastien de Brossard, thus making it possible to bring forward significantly the date of composition of at least part of the anthology, making this one of the first French examples of sonatas for violin and basso continuo. An outstanding and influential personality in the French musical world, Elisabeth Jacquet was a harpsichordist, organist, singer and composer, and was presented in the court of the Sun King aged just five. In 1677, the French periodical Mercure galant even defined her as the marvel of our century, capable of truly musical miracles. Educated and growing up in Versailles under the protection of Madame de Montespan, a favourite of the king, in 1684 Elisabeth married the organist Marin de La Guerre, and continued her musical activity in Paris as teacher and composer. The markedly novel nature and the original, daring, harmonic sonorities (not mentioning the importance of the bass line, often independent and contrapuntal with the violin part) distinguishing these sonatas were grasped and recognised immediately by the public of the time: that same Mercure galant – revue which, on a number of occasions followed the development of de la Guerre, praising her and reflecting the success obtained at court – described the Sonates as works of great originality, attractive not just because they adjust to the formal parameters, taste and the aesthetics of the time; not merely beautiful works in their own right, but music which is uncommon and marvellous, refined, gracious yet audacious, its melodic lines intimately and essentially based on the principle contrast. Thus the musical text flowers from the continuing conflict between traditional composition, the practice of habitual ornamentation, and above all free experimentation, subjecting the listener to changes of tempo and metre, harmonic daring and sharp expressive contrasts.