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John R. Pierce

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100 Essential Classical Recordings
On Friday June 13, 2003, at 1:30 p.m. I attended a performance by La Favoritte at the French Library of Boston.  La Favoritte consists of Lise Maisonneuve, soprano, Madeleine Owen, theorbo & romantic guitar, and Barbara Zuchowicz, pardessus de viole & baroque ‘cello. 

They performed:

5 motets from the Ursuline Archives and Hôtel-Dieu at Québec (1639-c. 1760)

3 works by Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1666/67-1729):

  Cantate tirer [sic] de l’écriture:  Le Temple Rebasti [sic]

  Sonate II pour pardessus de viole avec basse continue

  Autre cantate tirer [sic] de l’écriture: Joseph


4 folk songs from New France.

The five motets were settings of brief Latin texts that I believe would have been sung by a nun during mass at the Ursuline convent in Quebec City.  Ms. Maisonneuve sang them quite movingly, and I would have liked to hear even more.

Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre was a French composer who was well known in her time and whose work was appreciated by Louis XIV.  Her compositions were not unknown in New France.  Of the two cantatas that La Favoritte performed, I found the one about Joseph of greater musical and dramatic interest.  It is based on the Old Testament story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers, came to be respected in Egypt, and was tempted by his master’s wife.  Ms. Maisonneuve sang it with great expessivity.  I especially enjoyed the final aria “
Lorsque le piège est agréable."  All three performers were excellent musicians.

According to the program notes, the ensemble are recording two cantatas of Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre and eight motets from the Ursulines of 17th and 18th century Quebec with Kevin James, baroque violin.  I would look forward to the recording, since this music is definitely worth repeated listening.

The program concluded with four folk songs from New France.
About Lise Maisonneuve