The second half of the seventeenth century saw the unification and centralization of the French State. Louis XIV understood that no real unification would be possible without first setting the cultural tone. France, it was deemed, needed an independent musical identity, in oppostion to italian style. Although some musicians claimed to have adopted the style of the goûts réunis, thereby melting Italian and French references.
French composer Robert de Visée (c. 1655-1732) was known as a theorbo and guitar player. Around 1680, de Visée became a chamber musician for Louis XIV. The theorbo pieces for this recording are taken from the Saizenay manuscript compiled in 1699 by the French amateur lutenist Jean Etienne Vaudry, Seigneur de Saizenay.
Not much is known today about Jean-Baptiste Barrière (1707-1747), an exceptional early 18th century French cellist and composer. Published between 1733 and 1739, Barrière’s sonatas for the cello and continuo are innovative and represent a significant technical challenge for the player.