From the beginning, the sonatas of Jean Baptiste Loeillet de Gant for treble recorder and basso continuo were considered indispensable and valuable original works for school, home and concert use. Musically very accessible and showing continual, indeed exciting variety in form and harmony, these chamber musical gems have not aged at all. A few of them, selected from the four sets of 12 sonatas (op. 1–4) and recently republished, are now part of the student repertoire.
We know hardly anything about the life and work of Jean Baptiste Loeillet, who came from an extensive Belgian family of musicians. He was baptized on 26 July 1688 in Gent; the date of his death is unknown. He probably spent most of his life in France, where he is thought to have worked at the court of the archbishop of Lyon. All his works are dedicated to the flute, with support from the thorough bass, and all
appeared in Amsterdam. Their popularity led to rapid reprints by Walsh in London.
Following the complete edition of sonata cycles op. 1 and op. 2 and the 6 Duos op. 5, we here present the “XII Sonates à une flûte et Basse” op. 3, published in 1715 by Roger in Amsterdam, in a practical edition – four sets of three sonatas. The source for our edition was a reprint of these sonatas done by Walsh in 1718. Its title reads: „XII / SONATAS / or / SOLOS / for a / FLUTE / with a / THROUGH BASS / for the / HARPSICHORD / or / BASS VIOLIN / Compos’d by / Jean Baptiste Loeillett de Gant / Opera Terza / London Printed for I: Walsh ...“
Besides close textual fidelity, special care has been taken over the realization of the thorough
bass (figured in the source), with a view to a more interesting participation of the “right hand” in the discourse between melody part and bass. Here too, however, the written-out continuo is but a suggestion, and should encourage individual solutions. The sonatas are just as charming played as a duo for flute and a bass instrument.