‘Nicolas Clérambault: chamber music from the Brossard Collection’ reviewed in Early Music Review

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David Hansell reviewed our CD ‘Nicolas Clérambault: chamber music from the Brossard Collection’ in Early Music Review

This disc is a further exploration by the ensemble of Sébastien de Brossard’s library, their previous release having presented music by Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre. Here, we are offered instrumental music by Clérambault, a useful counter-balance to the image of ‘cantata king’ that has developed around him. As with all Bach Players programmes, there is a strong impression that ‘someone has thought about it’. There are three trio sonatas, two solo sonatas (each prefaced by a keyboard prelude) and two chaconnes, also for solo violin and continuo. Further variety is embedded in the music of course: especially striking are those moments when the bass viol engages in the contrapuntal discourse, sometimes to spectacular effect!

I enjoyed the programme very much. There is an unfussy honesty and a unity of purpose about the playing which most emphatically is not a kind way of saying ‘a bit dull’. One hears so many ensembles in this repertoire with kaleidoscopic continuo sections, changes of instrumentation for repeats. etc., that it really is a welcome relief to hear classy performances with everything in place that just say ‘Here’s the music. Isn’t it terrific?’. Yes, it is. The booklet will not disappoint either.

Early Music Review (4 November 2019)