Boismortier’s numerous musical achievements include composing the first (and probably the only) concertos for two unaccompanied melody instruments, namely his Op. 38, VI Concerto pour 2 Flutes-traversieres ou autres Instrumens, sans Baße. These fascinating works date from 1732, by which time Boismortier had already composed several sets of sonatas with the same scoring. But unlike the sonatas, which generally conform to the Italian sonata da camera and treat both instruments equally, the Op. 38 concertos are based on the Vivaldian three-movement concerto and tend to privilege the first flute, the second frequently relegated to providing a pseudo-bass accompaniment.
In spite of their drastically reduced instrumental resources, these works are indeed ‘Italian’ concertos, and feature distinguishable solo episodes and ritornellos. As do Boismortier’s other surviving concertos, they provide evidence of the composer’s ingenuity and originality, and his ability to write what are normally largescale instrumental works with the simplest of means.