Leclair: Violin Sonata in A minor Op. 5/7; Violin Sonata in A major Op. 9/4

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LABELS: Chandos Chaconne
WORKS: Violin Sonata in A minor Op. 5/7; Violin Sonata in A major Op. 9/4
PERFORMER: Simon Standage (violin); Lars Ulrik Mortensen (harpsichord)
Leclair’s music is more than the satisfyingly simple mingling of French and Italian styles common in France in the first few decades of the 18th century. There are moments of harmonic and melodic richness which assert themselves independently of both traditions; always rich in effect, this music has a pleasing unpredictability. Nevertheless, spotting the Frenchisms and Italianisms can be fun, particularly when, for example, the former is so beguilingly apparent in the Tempo Gavotta finale of Op. 5/7.


Leclair’s sonatas are joined on this disc by two enormously appealing works by his younger contemporaries De Mondonville and Guillemain, along with two characteristically extravagant harpsichord solos by Duphly and one more moderate one from the younger Forqueray.


In terms of virtuosity and feeling for effect, Simon Standage is a near-ideal interpreter. His ability to tinker with the metrical fabric of these sonatas without doing violence to the music is a delight. The violin sound, perhaps as a result of the recording, is a touch acetic, but the ear soon adjusts. Lars Ulrik Mortensen makes imaginative use of the two manuals of the Blanchet copy he plays in accompaniments, and shines in his solos. Whether for dipping into or listening en suite, this is a highly recommendable issue.