Santos, Luis Otavio;
Rodriguez Miranda, Ricardo
When Jean-Marie Leclair published his Fourth Book of Sonatas for Violin and Bass at the age of 46, he was at the zenith of his violin and compositional development: these twelve sonatas are the perfect expression of his maturity, his violin technique and his stylistic abilities. They far exceed those of the previous three books in terms of their harmonic complexity and their extreme technical demands on the soloist. Leclair's sonatas of the Fourth Book are music of great emotionality, a very subjective, one might almost say romantic expressivity, which manifests itself in unusual melodic twists, unexpected modulations and fallacies. The sometimes almost unfathomable music of the slow movements, which at times almost anticipates the expressive world of the 19th century, may have its origin in Leclair's character, described by contemporaries as difficult - he was considered reserved, avoiding society, inclined to misanthropic. The compositions testify to the highest mastery and suggest a process of multiple reworking: Between the first announcement of the Fourth Book in the Mercure de France and its publication lie the six years that Leclair spent in Amsterdam and The Hague. During this time he met several times with the Italian virtuoso Pietro Locatelli and undoubtedly benefited from his overwhelming violin technique. The French style, which still had a decisive influence on the First Book of his sonatas, is here completely absorbed in an Italianized spelling, even in the character movements. Leclair introduced the Italian style to France like no other and was the first to combine the high art of the Italian violin virtuosos and the models of the Corelli Church Sonata and the Vivaldi Ritornello Concerto with the French tradition. Against the resistance of music-aesthetic purists such as Hubert Le Blanc (Défense de la Basse de Viole), he not only contributed to a revolution in French musical taste, but also laid the foundation stone for the French violin school, whose tradition was founded by Guillemain, Modonville, Gaviniès, Rode and Kreutzer in the further course of the 18th century.