Jean-Marie Leclair: Notes and Commentary

Jean-Marie Leclair, also known as Jean-Marie Leclair the Elder, was a Baroque violinist and composer. He is considered to have founded the French violin school. He 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. He was born in Lyon, left to study dance and the violin in Turin, and moved to Paris in 1723, where he played at the Concert Spirituel, the main semi-public music series. In 1733, he was named ordinaire de la musique by Louis XV, a post he resigned in 1737. A year later he was engaged by the Princess of Orange—himself a fine harpsichordist and former student of Handel—and from 1738 until 1743, he served three months annually at her court in Leeuwarden, working in The Hague as a private maestro di cappella. He returned to Paris in 1743. His only opera, Scylla et Glaucus, was 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 at Puteaux were staged works to which Leclair is known to have contributed. They included, in particular, a lengthy divertissement for the comedy Les danger des épreuves (1749) and one complete entrée, Apollon et Climène, for the opéra-ballet by various authors, Les amusemens lyriques (1750). He lived from May 10, 1697, to October 22, 1764.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

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