When Musica Alta Ripa recorded Jean-Marie Leclair’s Trio Sonatas op. 4 in January 1992 and released them on LP in 1993, this debut album became a sought-after premiere release. Since even then the MDG sound engineers were working with the latest digital technology, this production from Nordkirchen Castle’s Baroque Festive Hall could be transferred to CD without a hitch and with the finest room nuances.
Leclair was one of the best violinists of his times. The story is told that he had to compete in a musikal duel with Locatelli in Kassel – then a most highly popular form of musical entertainment. The chronicler describes his “devilish” playing, contrasting it with the “angelic” style of his Italian rival. His trio sonatas suggest familiarity with the Italian school but also draw on entirely independent French traditions and shine with ingenious inventions and harmonic refinements.
The virtuoso and composer Leclair was repeatedly drawn to Paris, where he would play the role of the victim in one of crime history’s greatest mysteries. His murder on 22 October 1764 has never been solved.
Musica Alta Ripa has worked with MDG for many years, successfully establishing itself as one of the most sought-after early music ensembles. The ensemble’s recordings have earned many international awards, and the vibrant joy of these performances is a source of pure listening fun.