JEAN-MARIE LECLAIR. A PORTRAIT OF THE MAN THROUGH HIS MUSIC
A brilliant dancer before becoming “famous throughout Europe for his learned and elaborate sonatas, and for the elegance of his performance on the violin”, Jean-Marie Leclair is far more than the sum of his talents. His music is woven with the multiple threads of his life, carrying within it all the facets of his technical and musical explorations, his travels, his impressions, which have moulded man as much as musician.
“You should have seen him, at sixty-seven years of age, performing with astonishing gusto, communicating his energy to the whole orchestra, and [...] savouring the pleasure of being admired, with that modest and pure joy that so befits a young man being praised for the first time”.
It is the man, of “noble simplicity”, alert and passionate to the end of his life, as much as the musician-dancer, fertile creator of virtuoso elegance, that this recording wishes to portray.
His music, too rarely played, brings together the brightness of Italy, French taste without the rigidity of etiquette, love of the violin, of sound, and virtuosity that always allows poetry and beauty to take precedence.
LE CONCERT UNIVERSEL
Le Concert Universel is a Swiss ensemble specialising in the baroque repertoire, founded in 2017 under the impetus of violinist Juliette Roumailhac, who conducts from the violin. The ensemble brings together artists who perform in the most prestigious ensembles and who are renowned for their virtuosity and the richness of their interpretation on period instruments.
Driven by the humanist desire to weave bonds, Le Concert Universel is committed to shedding light on the Baroque repertoire by relating it to other forms of expression, be they artistic, scientific or cultural.
The ensemble takes its name and identity from a humanist philosophy summed up in an 18th century fable that depicts the birds of the universe trying to sing in unison under the guidance of a nightingale: “After ten thousand years of lessons, how astonished was he when, from the chords of all these different birds gathered together, there resulted a plain full of dissonances that made a dreadful sound! A bird from the thirteen cantons, full of common sense, hearing this hullabaloo, said to the concert performers: “Of all the foolishness in music, the greatest is to attempt to make a Swallow sing like a Nightingale. If you had let all these animals sing in their natural tone, your universal concert would have been at its best”. In the great concert of universal music, individual dissonances make up the complete chord”.
This fable perfectly sums up the ensemble’s artistic approach and also has a special connection with the music of Jean-Marie Leclair, who synthesizes various European currents of his time, without “singing out of his natural tone”.
It is thus very naturally that Le Concert Universel pays tribute to Jean-Marie Leclair and offers a CD-portrait of this accomplished artist - violinist, dancer and composer.