Performers: François Fernandez (violin), Pierre Hantaï (harpsichord), Philippe Pierlot (viol)
Playing time: 68'
Recording date: March 1996 (Switzerland)
Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764) was the most important French Baroque composer of violin music. Although he was a violinist of high stature, and although his career is linked with the virtuoso Locatelli, Leclair deliberately took up a style in opposition to pure virtuosity. His music has a serious air and rigor, and was to be played without ornament. Of course, some of the technique is perilously difficult nonetheless.
The violin caught on only slowly in France, retaining associations to both ballet and Italy, but with Leclair it is clearly fully freed from such constraints. His compositions are almost entirely for violin, including the sonatas as well as sonatas for two violins and concertos. Leclair was apparently a very "difficult" man, and so his career is marked by sudden resignations and strange choices. Perhaps this explains the combination of virtuosity and austerity present in his music.
Leclair's fourth and final book of violin sonatas was published in Paris in 1738. It represents the final deepening of his technique, eschewing virtuosity for its own sake.
The other Leclair program by these performers:
A sampling of the large violin sonata discography:
A recording devoted to trio sonatas, i.e. two equal top violin parts:
And some recordings devoted to the violin concertos:
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To FAQ CD index page.Todd M. McComb