ABSTRACT

Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665-1729) is remembered today as an outstanding harpsichordist and also as composer of two books of solo harpsichord music that were published during her lifetime. Only since the 1990s have her sacred and secular cantatas also become well known through recordings and performances. The works she composed in other genres remain less well known today.1 These include her tragédie, Cephale et Procris, performed at the the Paris Opéra in 1694, and her instrumental works, only a portion of which were published during her lifetime. Jacquet de La Guerre probably began composing sonatas in the 1690s, at a time when the sonata and Italian violinists were becoming increasingly popular in Paris. Sébastien de Brossard reported on his visit to Paris in 1695 that “all the composers there, especially the organists, had at that time a fury for composing sonatas in the Italian style” (tous les compositeurs de Paris, surtout les organistes, avoient en ce tems la, pour ainsi dire, la fureur de composer des sonates a la maniere italienne).2 Jacquet de La Guerre was one of these early adopters of the new genre, and her sonatas are attractive, forward-looking works that are worthy of more attention.3