After their internationally acclaimed recordings of sonatas and concertos by Pietro Locatelli, Ensemble Violini Capricciosi and their founder/director Igor Ruhadze turn their attention to his most talented pupil, Jean-Marie Leclair.
The stylish idiom and sensivity of this period string ensemble’s previous recordings for Brilliant Classics has won wide critical praise. Concerning their 5CD set of Locatelli’s Sonatas Opp. 8 & 12: ‘Brilliant’s collection should prove a most enjoyable, most entertaining, and, at times, moving experience… Strongly recommended, therefore, across the board’ (Fanfare, July 2013). ‘The Ensemble Violini Capricciosi, founded and led by Igor Ruhadze, who have bravely taken up the cause of performing the virtuoso violin repertory on period instruments, emerge from these recordings as fine advocates… The exuberant Op. 8 sonatas are here brilliantly and at times breathtakingly performed’ (Gramophone, December 2012).
Born in Lyon, Leclair (1697-1764) travelled widely as a young man thanks to his prowess as a violinist, dancer and lace-maker. He created a sensation in Turin as well as Rome, and then on a visit to the German town of Kassel he met the foremost Italian violinist of the age, Pietro Locatelli. Leclair’s own music became even more virtuosically refined thanks to the influence of Locatelli, who became the dedicatee of his first set of concertos, Op.7. Having taken up and then left a prestigious post at the French royal court, Leclair encountered Locatelli once more in Amsterdam, but he soon moved on and lived a somewhat restless life, murdered outside his front door, probably by his nephew.
Leclair’s music reflects his cosmopolitan life, but for all his deep familiarity with Italian music, Leclair remained French to the core. His technical prowess never descends into mere virtuosity for its own sake, making his music a telling embodiment of ‘les Goûts réunis’, or the ‘reunited tastes’ of French and Italian styles, which became an aesthetic rallying-cry for the age.
Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764) was born in Lyon, the son of an amateur musician. He quickly developed his skills on the violin and became a traveling virtuoso, performing in France, Germany and Italy, thus also becoming acquainted with the great violin virtuosos of his time: Locatelli, Quantz and Corelli’s circle. He introduced in France a violin school based on his famous Italian examples, but with a strong personal style.
This new recording presents Leclair’s complete Violin Concertos. The high technical and musical level earned him the nickname “The Corelli of France”. The solo violin passages are written with a keen eye to violin technique: arpeggios, double and triple stops, bariolages, leaps and virtuoso passages lend colour, breadth and variety.
Russian violinist Igor Ruhadze was trained in his native Moscow as a virtuoso on the modern violin. However, his interest took him into early music, playing with such ensembles as Musica ad Rhenum, Jed Wentz and others. His solid technique enables him to tackle the often fearful difficulties of Leclair’s music with ease, charm and brilliance. His ensemble Violini Capricciosi on original instruments, and follow the Historically Informed Performance Practice.