V 1: Violin Sonatas: Book 1 -
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With his four books of Sonatas, Jean-Marie Leclair established himself as the founder of the French School of violin playing, whose elegance he enlivened with the lyricism of the Italian baroque master, Corelli. The first four from Leclair' first book
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Leclair - a younger contemporary of Bach - was a virtuoso violinist who also composed a significant body of work for the instrument. He is said to have fused French elegance with the Italian vigour and lyricism of Corelli. Well, perhaps he did, but I think what is presented here is a good deal more than that. These pieces have real variety, invention and charm as well as elegance and lyricism. There are movements throughout the sonatas, for example, which sound like rustic dances and are terrifically appealing. I have owned and enjoyed for many years some scratchy old LPs of Leclair's Violin Concerti and I am glad to see his music becoming more widely available - it deserves to be much better known, I think.
The performances here are very good indeed. These three very fine and experienced musicians play together very well and with evident enjoyment of both the music and of each other which in turn produces a terrifically enjoyable experience for the listener. I get great pleasure from these recordings. I regularly pop one of these CDs into the player to listen to a sonata and am always glad I did.
The recorded sound is excellent and the notes pretty good. I would strongly recommend these discs - you've very little to lose by trying one at this price, and I'll bet that once you've listened to it you'll want the other two.