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Jean-Marie Leclair: founder of the French violin school with a rather horrific end

May 10, 2019

Jean-Marie Leclair is credited for founding the French violin school. He gained fame as a violinist and composer, and drew upon many different styles from all over Europe for his works. Many of his suites, sonatas, and concertos survive along with an opera, while, unfortunately, his vocal works, ballet music, and other stage music is lost. It always pains me to hear this; what great works that might have been part of the standard repertoire, is never to be known? He worked for the Princess of Orange (a former student of Handel) and was employed by the Duke of Gramont to compose music for private performances. He died an untimely death worthy of a Law & Order episode; after purchasing a small house in a dangerous neighbourhood in Paris, he was found stabbed in his home. Two suspects, hoping for financial gain, were his second ex-wife and his nephew.

The “Première récréation de musique en sol mineur, Op. VIII: Chaconne”, or “First recreation of music in G minor, Op. 8, Chaconne” is performed here by Les Nieces de Rameau.

Jean-Marie Leclair was born May 10, 1697, in Lyon, France, and died October 23, 1764 in Paris.


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