Louis-Nicolas Clerambault came from a musical dynasty, and was a formidable violinist and organist. He favoured the Italianate style of Corelli, and his music is a unique blend of French and Italian styles – the latter noticeable in the rhythmic vitality of the music.
The cantata form was also an Italian import – a cross between opera and song, it could have all the drama of an opera, but run its course in a fraction of the time, and require only one voice. In Orphee for example, the singer takes up the roles of Orpheus, Narrator, Pluto and the Chorus. Interaction between characters is reflected in the instrumentation used.
The harpsichord suites date from 1702. While adhering to the baroque suite of Prelude, Allemende, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue, Clerambault expands the form with additions – the Prelude is very free in form, and unlike those found in the Bach suites where strict contrapuntalism reigns supreme.
“Her ornamentation is beautifully formed, her expression properly touching…. There is admirable instrumental support, with a good deal of vitality (and on the whole reliable intonation) from the violin and much sensibilité
from the flute. A pleasing record.” Gramophone Magazine