Jean-Marie Leclair (1697 - 1764) was a French composer
and violinist. Initially a dancer, he lived from 1723
in Paris, where he became a prominent soloist and began
producing violin sonatas (from 1723). He also appeared
abroad, and in 1733 became ordinaire de la musique du
roi at the French court. In 1738-43 he served the court
of Orange in the Netherlands and (in 1740-43) François
du Liz at The Hague. He then lived mainly in Paris,
where he was murdered (probably by his nephew).
Foremost in Leclair's output are over 60 solo, duet and
trio sonatas for violin. In these he imbued the Italian
style with French elements more successfully than most
of his contemporaries, using short ornamented phrases
and colourful harmonies; the idiom reflects his own
virtuoso technique. He also composed concertos,
minuets, suites etc, ballet music, an opera (Scylla et
Glaucus, 1746) with many striking features and other
vocal music. He was an influential teacher and is
considered the founder of the French violin school.
Leclair was one of several musical brothers. The most
important were Jean-Marie (1703-77), a violinist, who
directed the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Lyons and
composed sonatas and other works, Pierre (1709-84) and
Jean-Benoît (1714-after 1759), both violinists and
composers in Lyons.
Although originally written for Cello and period
keyboard, I created this arrangement for Viola &
Concert (Pedal) Harp.