Jean-Marie Leclair l'aîné, also known as Jean-Marie Leclair the Elder (10 May 1697 – 22 October 1764), was aBaroqueviolinistandcomposer. He is considered to have founded the French violin school. His brothersJean-Marie Leclair the younger(1703–77), Pierre Leclair (1709–84) and Jean-Benoît Leclair (1714–after 1759) were also musicians.
Leclair was born inLyon, but left to studydanceand theviolininTurin. In 1716, he married Marie-Rose Casthanie, a dancer, who died about 1728. Leclair had returned toParisin 1723, where he played at theConcert Spirituel, the main semi-public music series. His works included several sonatas forfluteandbasso continuo.
In 1730, Leclair married for the second time. His new wife was theengraverLouise Roussel, who prepared for printing all his works from Opus 2 onward. Namedordinaire de la musiquebyLouis XVin 1733, Leclair resigned in 1737 after a clash with Guidon over control of the musique du Roy.
Leclair was then engaged bythe Princess of Orange– a fineharpsichordistand former student ofHandel– and from 1738 until 1743, served three months annually at her court in Leeuwarden, working inThe Hagueas a privatemaestro di cappellafor the remainder of the year. He returned toParisin 1743. His only operaScylla et Glaucuswas first performed in 1746 and has been revived in modern times. From 1740 until his death in Paris, he served the Duke of Gramont, in whose private theatre atPuteauxwere staged works to which Leclair is known to have contributed. They included, in particular, a lengthy divertissement for the comedyLes danger des épreuves(1749) and one complete entrée,Apollon et Climène, for theopéra-balletby various authors,Les amusemens lyriques(1750).
Leclair was renowned as a violinist and as a composer. He successfully drew upon all of Europe's national styles. Many suites, sonatas, and concertos survive along with his opera, while some vocal works, ballets, and other stage music is lost.
In 1758, after the break-up of his second marriage, Leclair purchased a small house in a dangerous Parisian neighborhood in the northern part ofLe Maraisnear the oldTemple, where he was found stabbed to death on October 23, 1764.Although themurderremains a mystery, there is a possibility that his ex-wife may have been behind it – her motive being financial gain – although the strongest suspicion rests on his nephew, Guillaume-François Vial.
Leclair: Flute Concerto, Violin Concertos, Trio (Camerata Koln)
[00:00] Concerto Op. 7 No. 5
in A Minor for Solo Violin, 2 Violins, Viola & Basso continuo
[14:31] Concerto Op. 7 No. 3
in C major for Transcerse Flute, 2 Violins, Viola & Basso continuo
[29:50] Trio Sonata Op. 2 No. 8
in D major for Transcerse Flute, Viola da gamba & Basso continuo
[40:31] Concerto Op. 7 No. 4
in F major for Solo Violin, 2 Violins, Viola & Basso continuo