Boismortier’s final surviving set of trio sonatas, the [IV] Sonates pour deux flutes traversieres avec la basse Op. 78, dates from late 1739 or early 1740. In a certain sense, Boismortier has come full circle with Op. 78 since these works recall his very first ‘sonates en trio’, Op. 4 (1724); both sets are scored for two flutes and continuo, and every sonata in each set has four movements. But while the earlier compositions are outwardly French (all movement titles, dynamics and tempo indications are in French, and the sonatas also employ French time signatures and French violin clef), the Op. 78 works are ostensibly Italian.
Although Op. 78 is not the most inspired of Boismortier’s sets of ‘Italian’ trio sonatas, the individual works are expertly crafted, and collectively they contain much charming music, including two excellent three-part fugues and several dances that surely typify popular music heard in the French capital in the late 1730s. Since they were evidently written for amateur musicians, the Op. 78 sonatas are technically accessible and set in comfortable tonalites for the one-keyed flute; this makes them particularly attractive for today’s students of the instrument.