ABSTRACT

Jean-Baptiste Barrière (1707-1747) was an outstanding cellist and one of the first composers in France to publish solo music for that instrument. Despite these significant achievements, his music today remains little known, even among cellists, and is rarely performed.1 Several circumstances may account for his relative obscurity. Barrière lived only to the age of 40, and few facts are known about his career and musical experience. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Barrière apparently did not compose music in any of the vocal genres available to him. Rather, he composed and published exclusively instrumental music: four books of sonatas for cello and basse continue, another book for the pardessus de viole and basse continue, and one collection for solo harpsichord. The latter collection has been recognized for its historical and musical interest,2 but his cello music has received considerably less attention from scholars.3