Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre
Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (c.1665–1729) was one of the more celebrated female composers in the French Baroque era. As a child she made appearances at the court of King Louis XIV and elsewhere in France. Impressing and charming her audiences, she earned the nickname “la petite merveille,” “the small wonder.” As a young teenager she could easily sight-sing difficult music, improvise at the keyboard for hours, accompany herself and others on the harpsichord, and compose or play pieces in any key requested of her. Her main compositions included two publications of solo pieces for harpsichord, violin sonatas, a trio sonata, a Te Deum, and her opera Céphale et Procris, the first and possibly only opera known to have been written by a woman in France. In addition, she composed several cantatas, both secular and “sacred,” the latter of which are based on Biblical characters, among them the heroines “Judith” and “Esther,” celebrated in this performance, along with the first violin sonata in D minor and the harpsichord Suite in A minor.