Recordings of de Boismortier are apt to give unfailing pleasure: his music is as grateful on the ear as it is sympathetic to play, always effortlessly stylish, rarely aspiring towards profundity, centred around the recorder and flute of which he was an accomplished performer, capturing to perfection the elegant aesthetic of the French Baroque style.
This set shares those qualities, with the additional appeal of comprehensiveness. No survey of the French Baroque would be complete without Boismortier, but few performers have committed to disc more than a Sonata or Suite here and there, cherry-picking from the composer’s prolific output of over one hundred published opus
numbers, most of which contain six separate works. Agreeable melodies apparently poured out of Boismortier; the Op.35 Suites and Op.44 Sonatas were written in 1731 and 1733 respectively, during a golden period of composition for him, and a highly profitable one, since he had acquired a royal warrant to engrave and publish all his own work. The Op.91 Sonatas date from the beginning of the 1740s, shortly before he became music director at the Théâtre de la foire in Paris. Here Boismortier achieved a perfect, an almost seamless blend of the French and Italian styles.
Jed Wentz is a scholar and flutist who has made many critically acclaimed recordings for Brilliant Classics, most of
them with his own ensemble, Musica ad Rhenum, which consists of a flexible line-up of no less stylish and experienced early- music performers. On this recording he is joined by gambist Cassandra Luckhardt, cellist Job ter Haar and harpsichordist Michael Borgstede. As usual Wentz contributes his own wide-ranging essay to the booklet, including research which makes clear that a dogmatic, score-bound performance will not do for Boismortier any more than it would for Brahms.
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1789-1755) was a highly successful French composer of instrumental and vocal music, the first independent composer without patron, publisher of his own works (which made him extremely wealthy).
Jed Wentz, a superb musician as well as an excellent scholar, did extensive research into the performance practice of the French Baroque music, and based on written contemporary sources that “not even four bars have the exact duration, one is slowing down and the other is speeding up.. The musician who knows his art has grasped the character of an air after four bars, and abandons himself to it: it is the pure pleasure of the harmony that suspends him; here he wants the chords to be struck, there he wants them to be veiled..”(Diderot, 1748).
Not only Jed Wentz practices what he preaches, he does so with total authority and naturalness, while always projecting his own pleasure and fun in playing these delightful sonatas. Seconding Jed Wentz are cellist Job ter Haar and eminent harpsichord player Michael Borgstede. Jed Wentz wrote his own illuminating liner notes in the booklet.