mercoledì 9 luglio 2014

J.M.Leclair - Sonatas (Standage)

19 tracks - MP3 192 Kbps - RAR Mb

As they are treated here in the hands of veteran British Baroque violinist Simon Standage, it's hard to understand why the violin sonatas of Jean-Marie Leclair are not cornerstones of the solo violin literature. Perhaps it's that they have a subtle balance of elements that only Standage has brought out fully -- they are in what theorist J.J. Quantz called the "mixed style," fusing French decoration with Italian melody. The movement structures of the sonatas are a perfect mixture of French and Italian; consider the Violin Sonata Op. 9, No. 1 that opens the disc, with its sequence of Adagio, Allegro assai, Andante, and Minuetto movements (the last being a French dance with an Italian name). The beauty of this music resides not just in the mixture of elements but in the way Leclair makes that mixture seem utterly natural: long-breathed melodies soar and emote, yet glisten with ornaments like long stalks of hyacinth. Standage is comfortable with the lyricism of the music, with the icier quality of the ornamentation and the general level of technical difficulty, and with the curious experimental touches that creep into these late works by Leclair. He performs with the accompaniment of only a harpsichord part (rendered ably by Nicholas Parle), believing that a larger continuo group would be redundant here. His decision seems sound, for his performance asks for nothing to be added. The sonatas are separated by harpsichord "portrait" works, one by Forqueray representing Leclair, and two by other composers representing Forqueray; these are pleasant diversions even if they slightly lessen the focus on Leclair's music. Yet another recommendation for this superior single-disc treatment of a body of work by a Baroque composer is the sound -- arrestingly bright without harshness.


Sonata for violin & continuo in A major, Op. 9/1
François Couperin - La Superbe, ou La Forqueray, for harpsichord   
Sonata for violin & continuo in D major, Op. 9/3
Jean-Baptiste Forqueray - La Leclair for harpsichord
Sonata for violin & continuo in A minor, Op. 9/5
Jacques Duphly - La Forqueray, rondeau for harpsichord
Sonata for violin & continuo in C major, Op. 9/8

Simon Standage, violin
Nicholas Parle, harpsichord

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