Michel Corrette : Sonata for Bassoon, or (Cello, or Viol) No.1 in Fmajor Op.20 – Musica Franca, Nadina Mackie Jackson, Fraser Jackson, Paul Jenkins


Michel Corrette (1709~1795)

Les Délices de la Solitude》Op. 20 Sonate n°1 en Fa majeur (sonate pour basson, ou (violoncelle ou Viol) et basse continüe)

I. Allegro – 00:00

II. Aria – 01:58

III. Allegro – 04:31

Musica Franca

Nadina Mackie Jackson (bassoon)

Fraser Jackson (contrabassoon)

Paul Jenkins (harpsichord)

Almost nothing is known of the life of Michel Corrette (1707-1795), but his works, which span nearly 75 of his almost 90 years on the planet, offer us an exceptional overview of Hausmusik. Corrette was born the year that Buxtehude died and he outlived Mozart by four years. Living to the age of 88 was not an easy task during the 18th century, even though a number of luminaries, musical and otherwise, did it. Corrette’s reputation as a composer was founded upon a number of vaudevilles and divertissements composed between 1732 and 1739. He also served a long and distinguished tenure (1737-90) as organist at Ste. Marie within the temple of the grand prieur de France, serving simultaneously as organist at the Jesuit College in the rue St. Antoine. Corrette was also well known as a teacher, but his reputation wasn’t always flattering. Some called his pupils anachorètes, or ânes à Corrette. However, for musicologists, Corrette’s instructional methods are a wellspring of information regarding performance practice during the period and include publication for a variety of instruments including organ, harpsichord, violin, guitar, double bass, and hurdy-gurdy. Corrette held weekly concerts in his large home, which was equipped with a small organ and at least two harpsichords. These had an average attendance of around 40 people. Like his countryman Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, Corrette was a stylish but genial man who published and sold his own music, but he also maintained an interest in music by his compatriots, including Lully and Campra, as well as composers not well known in France, such as Zipoli and Scarlatti. A large quantity of Corrette’s own music is based upon popular tunes of all sorts and constitutes an important source for their study. Music from, or written for, opéra comique is presented fully scored, sometimes with place and date of performance. The arrangements run from simply a harmonization to conversion of the tunes into concerto movements, as in his two dozen concertos comiques. The titles of Les délices de la solitude, a collection of six sonatas for one and two bassoons, and Le phenix, a brief concerto in the Italian style for four (!) bassoons, are translatable, but their relationships to the music appear to be irretrievably lost in antiquity. The organ concerto is a delightful and clever adaptation by Musica Franca with bassoons playing the original string parts. The members of Musica Franca are exceptionally talented young musicians, but in spite of their gifts the marketability of this sort of disc is probably limited. However, the music will succeed in drawing the inquiring listener into the performers’ world by way of interpretations that are exemplary in every way. Tone production is nice and woody on the lower end and doesn’t become thin in the upper reaches of the music. Furthermore, the colloquy is outstanding and the fastidious attention to the most minute of details is enviable. In conclusion, these are interpretations that sparkle with enthusiasm and showcase the performers’ dedication to the repertoire. No question, this is an adventurous and outstanding outing and one that is probably not going to be duplicated by any other label in the near future.

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