Saturday, May 29, 2010

leclair, or, "how i learned to stop worrying and love writing program notes"

Precious few hours separate this moment from the first notes of Chamber Music Midwest.

So. Leclair.

In any exegesis on eighteenth century repertoire the influence of the salon must be considered. More than merely an enlightenment extravaganza cacophonous and "cultured," the salon held tremendous sway for the intelligentsia, composers, and musicians of the day. One such musician was the composer-violinist Jean-Marie Leclair. Likely composed for performance at the French concert-spirituel, his sonata features thematic repetition in predictable (and might I add, repetitive) forms. Indeed, the salon was raucous, abuzz with discourse and dialectic and it was this nascent environment that shaped the aforesaid formal characteristics (repetition--if you wish your music to be heard in a noisy setting, repeat it). Furthermore, the virtuosic writing is a product of Leclair's own facility.

There is quite a bit more to say. If it weren't 2am, I'd discuss the salon, eighteenth century gender roles, and on and on. Another time.

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