Leclair: Sonatas for Two Violins, Volume 2

Barnabas Kelemen, Katalin Kokas

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Original Recording Format: DXD
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Sonatas for Two Violins, Volume 2 is the second album of music composed by Jean-Marie Laclair and performed by the violin duo of Barnanas Kelemen and Katalin Kokas.  Their earlier album of violin duets is also available from NativeDSD Music.

Recording Engineer Gabor Halasz tells us “The church in Velemér which became our home for a week, has great acoustics and is surrounded by a beautiful forest. This environment also inspired the process. Thanks to the high-end DPA microphones and the Merging Technologies Hapi Analog to Digital Converter, we were able to make a recording that reproduces the artists’ play in every detail. I’m sure anyone who takes the time to get to know the recording will have a unique experience.”

“On Tuesday, 4 October, the first performance of Scylla & Glaucus, tragedy, was given. The words are by Mr D’Albaret, and the music by Mr Leclair, celebrated in all of Europe for his learned and elaborate sonatas, and for the elegance of his violin playing. His genius again made itself known in the composition of his opera.” Le Mercure de France, the royal press reported this way about the first performance of the first opera by the French composer, Jean-Marie Leclair (1697–1764). At the time of the premiere, in 1746, Leclair was one of the best-known French musicians, and even though he owed his reputation primarily to his virtuoso violin skills, the world of the stage was also close to his heart.

He was born in Lyon and was mentioned among the members of the local ballet troupe at the age of 19. He also actively played the violin from an early age, and some years later, he participated in the royal wedding festivities in Turin both as a ballet master and as a violinist. It was there where he had first taken violin classes with a former student of the legendary Arcangelo Corelli, a greatly influential violinist of the period, Giovanni Battista Somis (1686– 1763). In 1723, Leclair worked under the patronage of one the wealthiest aristocrats of France in Paris, where he got his first sonata collection published. Fifteen years later, the Mercure de France have the following description of the sonatas: “[they] appeared at first a kind of algebra capable of rebuffing the most courageous musicians.”

Why Leclair is not regarded as one of the greatest masters by later generations may have several reasons (the quality of the music composed does not always play a role in a given composer’s reception history), but one of them is certainly Leclair’s virtuosity as a performer. His reception was surely greatly influenced by the fact that music history is written by academics, who mainly focus on scores and documents, and Leclair’s music requires inspired and spirited performers, if possible, even more than most of his contemporaries. The composer could consider himself extremely fortunate that 250 years later his sonatas get interpreted by such outstanding violinists as Katalin Kokas and Barnabás Kelemen.

Barnabas Kelemen – Violin
Katalin Kokas – Violin

Tracklist

1.
Sonata A-Major Op.3 No.2 - I. Allegro
03:14
2.
Sonata A-Major Op.3 No.2 - II. Sarabanda. Largo
02:03
3.
Sonata A-Major Op.3 No.2 - III. Allegro
03:37
4.
Sonata E-Major Op.12 No.2 - I. Allegro ma poco
04:24
5.
Sonata E-Major Op.12 No.2 - II. Largo
03:04
6.
Sonata E-Major Op.12 No.2 - III. Minuetto. Non troppo Allegro - Altro
04:16
7.
Sonata E-Major Op.12 No.2 - IV. Allegro
04:32
8.
Sonata D-Major Op.3 No.6 - I. Andante - Adagio
02:01
9.
Sonata D-Major Op.3 No.6 - II. Allegro
03:28
10.
Sonata D-Major Op.3 No.6 - III. Largo
02:50
11.
Sonata D-Major Op.3 No.6 - IV. Allero ma non troppo
04:34
12.
Sonata A-Major Op.12 No.4 - I. Andante
01:39
13.
Sonata A-Major Op.12 No.4 - II. Allegro moderato
02:38
14.
Sonata A-Major Op.12 No.4 - III. Largo
05:52
15.
Sonata A-Major Op.12 No.4 - IV. Vivace
04:16
16.
Sonata G-Major Op.3 No.1 - I. Allegro
04:06
17.
Sonata G-Major Op.3 No.1 - II. Allegro ma poco
04:20
18.
Sonata G-Major Op.3 No.1 - III. Allegro
02:54
19.
Sonata B Flat-Major Op.12 No.6 - I. Allegro - Adagio
03:09
20.
Sonata B Flat-Major Op.12 No.6 - II. Allegro moderato
02:27
21.
Sonata B Flat-Major Op.12 No.6 - III. Andante. Dolce
04:37
22.
Sonata B Flat-Major Op.12 No.6 - IV. Allegro non presto
03:39

Total time: 01:17:40

Additional information

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SKU

HRES2239

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Original Recording Format

Release DateDecember 30, 2022

Press reviews

Positive Feedback

French composer Jean-Marie Leclair (1697 – 1764) is not regarded as one of the greatest masters by later generations, and this is such a shame. It is quite possible because one needs to actually HEAR his music performed by musicians with a great passion for what he has composed… But when Leclair’s music gets interpreted by such such outstanding violinists as Katalin Kokas and Barnabás Kelemen, it comes to life with a complexity and beauty that is a joy to hear.

And thus our ears are treated to a very special sound. Lower in pitch due to the 437Hz tuning; more textured and resonate in timbre. It brings a different life to the music.

Kelemen and Kokas give us lively, energetic performances, filled with variety. Can two volumes of music for violin duo become overwhelming? Hmmm, yes, a bit. So I take my enjoyment of these works in parts. Two or three sonatas at a time. Thus, I can concentrate on what each has to say. And each, heard this way, is indeed different. Each has a different voice and a different message to share. All are delightful. And supremely well played.

The music is pleasing. The performances are fresh, lively and alert. The sonics are excellent. Certainly recommended.

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