Leclair: Violin Concertos Opp. 7/4 in F, 7/6 in A & 10/2 in A; Flute Concerto Op. 7/3 in C

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COMPOSERS: Leclair
LABELS: Chandos Chaconne
WORKS: Violin Concertos Opp. 7/4 in F, 7/6 in A & 10/2 in A; Flute Concerto Op. 7/3 in C
PERFORMER: Rachel Brown, Collegium Musicum 90/Simon Standage (violin/director)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 0564 DDD
The recent upsurge of interest in Leclair’s music continues apace. Following the excellent recordings of his Op. 4 and Op. 13 chamber works by the Purcell Quartet, Chandos is now issuing a three-CD series of the 12 violin concertos by Simon Standage and Collegium Musicum 90. This disc is Volume 2.

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Leclair’s music certainly deserves more exposure. The premier French violinist-composer of the Baroque era, he was among the first to marry the technical brilliance of Italian virtuosi like Vivaldi with the more formal elegance of the French style. The result is a graceful, ebullient music spiced with bravura passages for the soloist, who is asked to negotiate multiple stopping and like hazards, often at dazzling speeds.

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Simon Standage rises to the challenge with relish, displaying great élan in the feisty opening movements of Op. 7/4 & 6 and in the dramatic solo/tutti exchanges that run through Op. 10/2. But no less captivating is Op. 7/3, which Leclair wrote for violin or oboe or flute! The latter option is taken here, with Rachel Brown’s supple tones dancing gaily through the fast movements and bringing a plaintive beauty to the richly textured Adagio. A splendid release. Graham Lock