Saturday, January 31, 2015

Joshua Rifkin – Piano Rags by Scott Joplin – Volume III

   One of most interesting questions linked to the history of jazz and popular music of turn of 19th and 20th centuries is how much ragtime influenced the rise of jazz and some kinds of popular music. Was it just one of many trends which passed away, or powerful idea of connecting European artistic tradition with folk music of Afro-Americans. To the 1970’s such a question was easy to answer. Ragtime was just a historic fact without clear potential for taking place in living culture. But after Joshua Rifkin started the revival of Scott Joplin’s ragtime, these attributes had rapidly changed. Ragtime became trendy musical miniature evoking old days of America intact by crisis, prohibition and social change, almost a symbol of American musical heritage.
   After great albums of ragtimes by Scott Joplin in 1970 and 1972, in 1974 Joshua Rifkin recorded Volume III of this cycle. Three days of recording session, September 9 to 11, 1974, took place in Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York. As it was on previous two volumes, album included eight pieces, four compositions on every side. In effect 24 Scott Joplin’s ragtimes in three collections cover 60 % of complete Joplin ragtime works. Meanwhile, in between Nonesuch records in 1973, Joshua Rifkin took part in work on Marvin Hamlish’s adaptation of Joplin’s music as the movie soundtrack The Sting. This was highest point of Joplin’s revival. He was played almost everywhere and thousands of pianists all over the world have taken The Entertainer as an encore and a half serious position in jazz or the partly popular position in classical repertoire.

Joshua Rifkin - Piano Rags by Scott Joplin - Volume III (1974)

   The program of third collection of Piano Rags by Scott Joplin consists of eight pieces covering 11 years of composer's activity. It starts with Original Rags, the first printed rag composition by Scott Joplin which was credited also for Chas. N. Daniels, although his involvement is doubtful. As Joshua Rifkin had stated, Daniels “acted as a sort of copy editor, modifying some details of Joplin’s notation and keyboard writing”. Daniels later became composer himself, selling his works under the name Neil Moret. The first ragtime by Scott Joplin can be seen as a moment of establishing the formal idea being later the base for constant changes. Four sections with repetitions with first section repeated between sections B and C show strong relations between Joplin’s ragtime form and various forms of 19th century march music, especially John Philip Sousa military and patriotic marches.
   Scott Joplin was not alone, there were more ragtime composers. In his elegant, perfectly constructed phrases artistic ambitions are visible. As a piano composer he was much more gifted in melodic and emotional possibilities than ragtime composers like his contemporary Joseph Lamb and later Artie Matthews. The closest one to specific Joplin’s style was James Scott, pianist of next generation who was intentionally imitating some of Joplin’s features. There are also various links with dance and popular music, later works show higher ambitions and progress of composer’s possibilities. By criteria of artistic means difference between first Joplin’s Original Rags (1899) and four years later Weeping Willow or next year The Cascades (1904) and The Chrysanthemum (An Afro-American Intermezzo) show how strong was impact of salon music of the era. Second side shows four ragtimes from Joplin’s best period, Sugar Cane (1908), The Nonpareil (1907), Country Club (1909) and Stoptime Rag (1910). Even if later there were published Complete Works of Scott Joplin recorded by Richard Zimmerman or Scott Joplin pieces pour clavecin performed by Elisabeth Chojnacka, these three Nonesuch albums remain model performance and repertoire choice.
   Joshua Rifkin is famous not only for his congenial interpretations of Scott Joplin’s music. He is one of most significant musicologists conducting research on music of Johann Sebastian Bach and interpreters of great cantor’s music. It’s hard to believe these are recordings of the same artist. First I’ve heard Rifkin’s Bach; I was convinced it’s just similarity of names. But there can be no mistake. Joshua Rifkin is a great example of scholarly supported artist. When he interprets Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” BWV 12 he uses his knowledge as foundation to his artistic expression. The same with Scott Joplin. We can admire the elegance of Rifkin’s interpretations but in this case we must admit he is just translating artistic means of Joplin’s time into our receptivity. This third album of Rifkin interpretations was perfect closing of three volume series. For its position in history and artistic excellence this album as well as two previous volumes deserve four stars.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sir Adrian Boult – Ralph Vaughan Williams – Symphony No. 6

   Among many notable British composers Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was one of the greatest. He set his individual style in main current of original English school in 20th century music. He was student in Royal College of Music and Trinity College in Cambridge where he befriend with Gustav Holst, Bertrand Russell, George Edward Moore and Leopold Stokovsky. He was also a partly successor of neoromantic continental school. He studied with Max Bruch in Berlin and with Maurice Ravel, who was his teacher during half year in Paris. But as French impressionist once said, Vaughan Williams was the only student who didn’t write his music. In early compositions his style was related to some elements of folk music which he was collecting. He considered folk music predominant position writing in 1934: “the art of music above all the other arts is the expression of the soul of a nation”.
   He debuted late, when publishing first song at his thirty. And his career was developing being phenomenally prolific in late period in his seventies and eighties. One of his most famous compositions is Romance for Violin and Orchestra “The Lark Ascending” from 1914. This work closes early period of his creative work. It was written for Marie Hall, to whom composer dedicated the work. The first version of the Romance was not performed because of outbreak of the war, then in 1920 it was revised and one year later premiered with Marie Hall as a soloist. This postromantic composition is programmatic music; it was inspired by the poem The Lark Ascending by George Meredith (1828-1895). Short fragments of first and second stanzas and closing verses of the poem were inscribed by Vaughn Williams in his score as a kind of poetic program for his music.

Ralph Vaughan Williams – Symphony No. 6 (1967)

   Dramatic observations from the 1st World War had strong impact on Vaughan Williams’ style which was evolving from mystical to pessimistic moods. After 2nd World War he was experimenting with new means of expression and temper of his late works was progressively lyrical. After Symphony No. 5 which was dedicated to Jean Sibelius, public was not expecting 70 years old composer can write next symphony. But in forthcoming years he finished four more symphonies. Probably most popular is the Symphony No. 6 in E Minor composed in years 1944 to 1947. This work was founded on some ideas developed in last months of II World War. Premiered in under Sir Adrian Boult, this work was very popular and during two years after premiere it was performed by over 100 orchestras all over the world. As composer was still not satisfied with this work, in 1950 he revised the score. Among many recordings of Symphony No. 6 one is especially inviting. In 1967 it was published on one album with The Lark Ascending featuring violinist Hugh Bean who was the leader of Philharmonia Orchestra.
   Conductor of Vaughan Williams’ 6th Symphony premiere, Sir Adrian Boult (1889-1983) was one of most authoritative conductors of 20th century. His professional reliability and respect to listeners was legendary in the artistic community. As a chief conductor in City of Birmingham Orchestra, BBC Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestra, he was famous for his dependable style of working. No wonder he was the one of conductors premieres highest numbers of famous symphonic works of the time. He was also conductor of performances published on first long playing records and many of them were premiere recordings in history of phonographic industry. He premiered Symphony No. 6 in E Minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams April 21st, 1948 conducting BBC Symphony Orchestra and recorded this work three times, first in 1949 with London Symphony Orchestra, second time with London Philharmonic Orchestra published by Decca in 1971 with short speech by Ralph Vaughn Williams. Third recording with New Philharmonia Orchestra for His Masters Voice was published in 1967 in UK by HMV and in US by EMI Angel label.
   Composed in four movements Symphony No. 6 is clear form even though its parts are played attaca (without breaks). It is based on tonal and sound binary contrary; also facture, articulation and rhythm are organized in contrasts. In first movement Allegro conflict between E minor and F minor is playing role of exposition of disturbance and anxiety, and its contrast is episode in syncopated rhythm which is like recollection of previous naïve beliefs. In closing part of Allegro comes cheerful theme like the recollection of lost serenity but it is covered with anxious orchestral tutti. Some similarities with Holst’s Planets are element of semantics clear to listeners in first decades after the war. The 2nd movement Moderato is unquiet and full of worst expectancies, which are growing from three note motif and developing in great crescendo to carminative turmoil in Scherzo (Allegro vivace). This part is unrest and agitated. In trio dominated by brass and winds with tenor saxophone composer placed some references to jazz and this corresponds to 1st movement. Finale part called here Epilogue (Moderato) is full of concerns and anticipations with strong pessimistic conclusion and suspended question in last E minor chord. Perfectly catching the idea of Symphony No. 6 recording is worth of four stars.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Polish Jazz vol. 49 – Laboratorium – Modern Pentathlon

   Cracow group Laboratorium was probably the first Polish band playing jazz rock and experimenting with sounds and forms consequently from its beginning. Laboratorium in Polish means “laboratory” and when band was formed in 1970, it was already common name for projects focused on experimenting with artistic methods and forms. The first and most famous predecessor was Laboratorium Theatre directed by Jerzy Grotowski. Contacts with this alternative theatre and improvised spectacles of Wiesław Hoszowski during concerts were the mark of artist’s aspirations. From the very beginning band was experimenting with sound, leader of the band, Janusz Grzywacz was using prepared piano, singer Marek Stryszowski was experimenting with wide range of vocal sounds. These experiments gave Laboratorium chance to pierce through the establishment of Polish Jazz School and create their own musical language.
   Laboratorium was probably first artistic project breaking domination of earlier generation in Polish jazz. The situation of jazz apprentices in 1970 was difficult. Older musicians debuted in underground, differentiated in late 50’s and 60’s musicians were tightly filling the stage. The first generation of Polish jazz school was rich and well established. In this situation only totally different style was a formula leading to success. In 1971 group debuted at festival in Nowa Huta near Cracow. They were pioneering fusion and jazz-rock music. Next year band won in Wrocław festival second prize, which was opportunity to record their debut album. It was eponymous album Laboratorium published in 1973 by Polish Jazz Society. Three years later in July 1976 Laboratorium recorded their second album Modern Pentatholon (Muza SX 1418).

Polish Jazz vol. 49 – Laboratorium – Modern Pentathlon (1976)

   After first successes next step was professionalization of the band. The lineup and sound had changed. First significant change was hiring two brothers Krzysztof Ścierański playing bass guitar and Paweł Ścierański playing electric guitar. Two guitars made the sound more electric and closer to fusion which was trendy at the time. At the moment of creating album Modern Pentathlon Laboratorium was totally different band. The sound of the group changed also as the effect of massive use of electronic and electric instruments. It was visible in keyboard kit owned by Janusz Grzywacz who was frequently playing Fender Rhodes and Rolland 2000 Synthesizer than traditional piano. The same applies to vocalist and saxophonist Marek Stryszowski who was using numerous sound effects. Drummer Mieczysław Górka was playing more funky than rock. And bass guitarist Krzysztof Ścierański after first album with Laboratorium became a star of new wave of jazz in Poland.
   The original style of Laboratorium was just between what was doing by European progressive and jazz rock groups like Soft Machine and American fusion bands. The creative ideas of Janusz Grzywacz were as far of popular schemes as of rock or classical forms even if basing on composed constructions and discipline. It wasn’t just funky like some American bands as well. Main composition of the album was eponymous Modern Pentathlon, almost 20 minutes long, five part composition of the band. This work shows the scale of artistic ambitions of Laboratorium members. Second side comprises four shorter compositions by Janusz Grzywacz: Funky for Franka, Crazy Shepherd (composed together with Marek Stryszowski), ABZ and Grzymaszka, tasty small demonstrations of band and its leader possibilities. In seventies Laboratorium, along with famous artists of Polish jazz school, was exposure of Polish culture. Playing with successes on few continents band had its position and influenced many musicians. Three and a half star for huge heart to play creative music.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Vladimir Vysotsky – At Concerts

THE 77th ANNIVERSARY OF VLADIMIR VYSOTSKY'S BIRTH

   Almost every culture and definitely every language have its bards, poets and singers who are playing specific role in social discourse. They differ in forms. Sometimes they are historic persons, sometimes political activists, they are partly prophets, partly jesters, generally whoever they are depends of circumstances and public needs. In Russian culture of 20th century there were many singers and poets who played such role. In such great country with so many cultures there is also a lot of space for any form of cultural activity. In group of Russian bards one poet and singer was legendary. He started as singer and actor. In school he met Bulat Okudzhava, who was already well known as underground bard. He was writing songs and when he auditioned to newly formed Theatre on Taganka Square in Moscow, his five minutes became 1.5 hour recital of his songs.
   Vysotsky’s career was developing multidirectional. He debuted as movie actor in 1959. Later he started his career of stage actor. Although for years overlooked by mainstream critics, he was enjoying a growing recognition of the audience, reaching better position in the theater, he was playing in the cinema, writing songs, publishing poems in literary press, his songs written for movies were publishing on records under label of Melodiya on series of singles. First album Избранное (Selected Songs) was published by Melodiya in 1974. These early records published in Vysotsky’s lifetime were extremely popular in Soviet Union. Second album Tightrope (Натянутый канат) was published by PolyGram in 1977. Few weeks after his death in 1980 Melodiya published collection of his Песни (Songs). In late eighty’s Melodiya was publishing various albums with Vysotsky’s songs and poems. The most complete edition was series of 21 LP albums На концертах Владимира Высоцкого (At Vladimir Vysotsky's Concerts).

Vladimir Vysotsky – На концертах (1989)

   Live recordings show Vladimir Vysotsky as “one man band”, he is host, singer and guitarist, stage personality and author, poet, composer. In recordings from 60’s and 70’s he created whole new model of performing poetic song, with deep emotionality and whole spectrum of voice acting. These qualities were corresponding with perfectly written lyrics and the effect was staggering. He was so convincing when singing about life of prisoners, they were sure poet was one of them. The same identification with any other group is the base of Vysotsky’s legend, boxers thought he is boxer and sportsmen took him as a sportsman. He was accepted by all who know him and his fame grew to the moment of his premature death, 25th of July 1980. The same date one year earlier he survived clinical death. And this date is exactly in half year distance from his birthday.
   The legend continues with Vysotsky’s recordings and books. From actor who was underground bard and enfant terrible of official culture, Vladimir Vysotsky after his death became recognized as one of most powerful personalities of his generation. Series At Vladimir Vysotsky's Concerts played an important role in his works postmortem reception. In Volume 10 of the series featuring one of greatest hits of poet and singer Кони привередливые (Capricious Horses), which also gave the title for the album. This album collected from 1973 recordings features most characteristic songs comprising main themes of civilization – Товарищи Ученые (Comerades Scientists), Мы Вращаем Землю (We Turn The Earth), sport – После Чемпионата Мира По Футболу (After the Football World Cup), Марафон (Marathon), some satirical – Мишка Шифман (Mishka Shifman) and Милицейский Протокол (Militianer's Protocol) and poetic metaphors of human fortune – Песня Микрофона (Song of the Microphone) and Кони привередливые (Capricious Horses). Four stars for phonographic documentation of great personality. Even if recorded material is in poor quality it’s worth to remember for its artistic quality.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dexter Gordon Quartet – Swiss Nights

   Dexter Gordon was undoubtedly one of the best saxophonists in whole jazz history. He was the one who had introduced tenor saxophone in early bebop style. Born in 1923 in Los Angeles, playing saxophone from 15 year of his life, he was starting in swing bands, his first great job he started as 17 years old. In 1940 for three years he became the member of saxophone section in Lionel Hampton Orchestra with Illinois Jacquet.  Later he was one of prominent artists of hard bop and mainstream jazz in 1970’s and 1980’s For his height he was sometimes called “Long Tall Dexter” or “Sophisticated Giant”, but his most significant nickname was Dexter “The Sound” Gordon. Actually his sound was legendary huge, deep and juicy, powerful with rich overtones but still enough clear to connect with his perfect articulation and lightness of his phrasing.
   Through the sixties Dexter Gordon was living in Paris and in Copenhagen. This time Europe was definitely better place for many jazzmen. Jazz was more appreciating by Europeans, who were seeing it as a new kind of artistic music and element of new lifestyle connected to existentialism and freedom ideas. Besides some European communities, especially in Scandinavian countries were building definitely more open society giving immigrants better space. Many American jazzmen fleeing from the racism and economic issues found in Europe perfect place for their work. Dexter Gordon was one of most famous. While playing alive in European Clubs he proved to be a fascinating stage personality and one of greatest artists playing jazz in international multicultural stage. He was active for almost half of the century but these years were the best period in his artistic history.

Dexter Gordon Quartet – Swiss Nights (1976)

   During the period he spent in Europe he was recording for Blue Note, Prestige and SteepleChase, publishing more than 30 albums. A kind of farewell and a summary of this period was series of three albums Swiss Nights published in years 1975 (vol. 1) in 1978 (vol. 2) and in 1979 (vol. 3). First volume was published in 1975 by SteepleChase in Denmark and Netherlands and in 1976 by Inner City Records in US. The first volume of the series is live recording made at The Zürich Jazz Festival ’75, August 23rd, 1975 signed as the Dexter Gordon Quartet formed with musicians Dexter Gordon played and recorded for years: pianist Kenny Drew who was also an American emigrant, and two great Danish musicians, double bass player Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and drummer Alex Riel. The program of Swiss Nights vol. 1 includes four pieces improvised in hard bop manner: Rollins’ Tenor Madness, Jobim’s Wave, Young’s You’ve Changed and Mancini’s Days of Wine and Roses. Dexter Gordon was at highest level of improvisational creativity.

Dexter Gordon Quartet – Wave (1975)

   Recorded during Zürich Jazz Festival Dexter Gordon’s improvisations are so perfect every one could be seen as a model construction. He is grading complications and tension of the choruses, differentiating them by intervallic leaps, rhythmic patterns and sound expressions, dynamics and articulations, submitting full spectrum of artistic means in balanced, consequent construction. In Wave this is especially true. Solos by Kenny Drew and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen are corresponding with great solo by the leader as consecutive episodes with conclusive short solo by Gordon – these exposures are just phenomenal works of jazz masterity. Bassist sounds as clear as it was recorded today – recording engineer Helmuth Kolbe from Phonag Tonstudio did the great job. And it’s heard the level of understanding between artists is just magic.
   Sometimes one could think recording don’t need anything more but microphone, recorder, some vinyl and good quality pressing. Of course the quality of every element should be possibly best. This edition was published with this direction. Modest purple background with black and white photography. The same on next but 2nd volume with blue and 3rd volume with green background. No sleeve notes, just basic credits information and clear typography point this simple fact, there was no need of information about Dexter Gordon in 1976. He was already 36 years on jazz stage. One of jazz giants and it was not the matter of his stature. This recording was as good as it can be, and passing years showing its timeless qualities. Four stars without any hesitation.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Van Cliburn – Sonatas by Barber and Prokofiev

   In the history of music sonata was a form of many different aspects. It went by centuries of evolution before it reached the position of the crowning achievement in a field of solo music expression. In earlier history its name was familiar but associated to some less complicated constructions. It was in the classical period when sonata has been established as most complex and balanced form of European music. Powers of solo sonata were extraordinarily significant and showing explicitly the versality and deep psychological means of sonata form in works composed for solo piano and other instruments. In solo music sonata was the same as symphony in orchestral repertoire. No wonder this classical form was constantly composed and performed also in next centuries. After great historic achievements of romantic sonatas, 20th century was also great time for many sonata masterpieces.
   Most of sonatas written in 20th century were classified as belonging to the current of neoclassicism. Even single sonatas can be pivotal to creative output of many 20th century composers like Bartok, Stravinsky, Ives, Copland, Berg, Rzewski, Shostachovich, Ginastera, Dutilleux and many others. It’s like sonnet in poetry, no matter, romantics or modernists, almost all have to confront with this classical form. Others like Scriabin, Hindemith, Schnittke or Boulez have leaved more sonatas marking their artistic successes. One of greatest masters of classical forms and one of greatest composers of 20th century was Sergei Prokofiev. The number of nine piano sonatas in his catalogue speaks for itself. Conclusive piece for creating his individual composing style was Piano Sonata No. 6 op. 82. This was also the first moment since Prokofiev returned to Soviet Union, when his composition was under fierce attack of critics for its formalism.

Van Cliburn Two – Two 20th-Century Masterpieces (1971)

   The absolute music idea was as much implemented in sonata form as far from realistic music esthetics of Soviet Union. In 1940 even the title was provoking. Prokofiev didn’t compose sonatas since his 5th Piano Sonata C Major op. 38 (1923), but after 1936 when he settled in Moscow, he has gradually returned to the idea of contemporary composition using classical forms. In autumn 1939 he started working on three compositions called War Sonatas. 6th Piano Sonata A Major op. 82 was premiered April 8th 1940 by composer himself. Next two were premiered by Sviatoslav Richer (1942) and Emil Gilels (1944). With four-movements construction, where 1st movement is basing on double tonality A major and A minor, middle movements have elements of march and waltz rhythmic patterns and closing rondo uses material of 1st movement, this sonata was enough absolute to be immediately attacked for its formalistic attitude. Ironically for his 7th Piano Sonata B-flat Major “Stalingrad” op. 83 Prokofiev has received Stalin Prize.
   Neoclassicism in music was trend wide spread and recognized as one of dominating tendencies in the first half of the century. In fact it was predeceased by many works of postromantic composers and in many occasions it was alive also in postwar music. Tendency was so strong even most radical avant-garde composers composed some sonatas for dramatic and structural qualities. Some were trying to use some features of classical style as a reaction to romanticism and its emotional instability. In group of American composers of 20th century sonatas the most widely recognized one was Samuel Barber (1910-1981). He started with Violin Sonata (1928) presumably destroyed by composer, four years later he published Cello Sonata (1932) and in 1949 he composed Piano Sonata E-flat Minor, Op. 26. In four movements with fugue in closing Allegro con spirito, Barber’s Sonata combines historic forms and virtuosity with chromatic material and serial technique. Premiered by Vladimir Horovitz this extremely difficult work in a short time became one of most famous contemporary works.
   When in 1971 Van Cliburn published album with his interpretations of masterpieces of famous 20th century neoclassical composers, he chose and performed sonatas by Sergei Prokofiev and by Samuel Barber. He was already familiar with these works, performing them on different occasions, during life concerts and in studio recordings. Album was published by RCA as Two 20th-Century Masterpieces and it comprises precise, balanced in sound and expression performance of Prokofiev’s Sonata along with one of most focused and energetic interpretations of Barber’s Piano Sonata. Natural touch of virtuosity, deep intellectual understanding of neoclassic and neoromantic powers of sonata form, and last but not least sense of humor and emotional involvement make these performances just electrifying. Four stars for artistic and intellectual qualities of this great album.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre – Pieces de clavecin

   Maybe the biggest lie in the history of music is the one saying women are not able to be composers and creators of music. Of course, this applies to the traditional, old school history excluding not only women, but all kinds of nonacademic musical activity. The problem of such misconception has its roots in deeper cultural mechanisms. It needs an explanation in a separate argumentation. Until than it is need to say the whole history of human culture shows clearly, there are no reasons to disdain woman composers, conductors, instrumentalists, vocalists, musicologists or teachers of music. Contrary to what some may still believe, woman composers were active in every era and with some religious exclusions on any level of musical life. One of well known French baroque artists was Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, composer and virtuoso ranked among creators of the school of French baroque harpsichordists.
   Élisabeth Jacquet was born March 17, 1665 in famous Paris family of musicians and instrument makers. Before she turn 10, she was already known in court of Louis XIV, first as a child prodigy and then as the musical darling. The Sun King favored young Élisabeth as performer and composer, so she was kept on in the entourage of Madame de Montespan, the most celebrated maîtresse en titre on the court of Louis the Great. Her early work Pastorale was frequently performed on the court upon request of the king. She was virtuoso and brilliant improviser, noticed for her capabilities of amusing listeners constantly. As a child she entertained the court playing on demand pieces in any key given by listeners. Support of Louis XIV resulted with Jacquet’s career and prominent position in French musical and societal life. In Mercure Galant she was called “marvel of our century”.

Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre – Pieces de clavecin (1982)

   In 1685 Élisabeth Jacquet married Marin de la Guerre organist in Sainte-Chapelle and left the court, although she was still enjoying the support of the king. Following years were first period of her activity as a composer. In 1687 she published Pièces de clavessin, and in 1695 Sonatas for violin, viola da gamba and basso continuo. In baroque music many compositions didn’t have any precise assignment. Mercure Galant discussed her harpsichord suites as suitable for performances by violin and basso or as imitative style of lute music. In last years of the seventeenth century Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre was also active as a composer of stage music. In 1691 she wrote balet Les jeux à l’honneur de la victoire and in 1694 she finished Céphale et Procris, the first French opera written by woman composer.
   Next decade of her life was the string of disasters. She lost her son, and then passed away her husband, her parents and her brother. Deaths in family cut her off from creative work for years. After years of silence she returned and between 1707 and 1715 she had fruitful period when she wrote big part of her creative output. In 1707 she published next two Suites for harpsichord and 6 Sonatas for violin and basso continuo. Next year (1708) and four years later (1711) she published two books of 12 Cantates françoises sur des sujets tirez de l'Ecriture (French Cantatas on Subjects Drawn from the Scripture). In late period she focused on vocal music composing cantatas on both religious and secular contents. In 1713 she composed La musette, ou Les bergers de Suresne, in 1715 next collection of Cantates françoises this time devoted to mythological stories, her Te Deum from 1721 remains lost. Since 1717 she lived in semi-retirement and died June 27th 1929.
   For almost three centuries music of Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre was forgotten. Although in last decades we observe real revival of her music. Premiere recording of most popular cycle was published by Harmonia Mundi France (HM 1098) in 1982. Artist Emer Buckley, harpsichordist from Dublin who was specialized in rediscovering masterpieces. Earlier she recorded LP with Toccatas by Michelangelo Rossi. The manuscript of Pieces de clavecin from 1687 was stored in Library of Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello in Venice. Four Suites, D Minor, G Minor, A Minor and F Major in core form prelude-allemande-courante-sarabande-gigue with some extensions like cannaris, chaconne or gavotte closed with menuet. The form she used for suite cycle was supported by French and Italian influences. The cycle recorded by Emer Buckley shows powerful invention and great capabilities of creating inspiring masterpiece. Four stars for artistic quality and for disclosure of great music.