Friday, May 21, 2010

Leclair: Première Récréation (Collegium Musicum 90/ Simon Standage)

Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764)是法國晚期巴洛克的作曲家。他最大的貢獻是將高超的小提琴演奏從義大利帶進法國,更是多學者公認的法國小提琴學派的創史人。

Leclair最早是拜自己法國藝術所賜,超初到義大利時是一位舞者,在Turin教舞蹈謀生。不過,他在義大利同時向Corelli的學生Giovanni Battista Somis學習小提琴,表現出過人的天份。Leclair在世時所出版的13部作品當中,有十部是義大利典型的奏鳴曲和協奏曲形式,只有三部是兩首組曲和一部歌劇,可見Leclair對於義大利音樂的影響和偏好。

 Leclair的小提琴音樂當中,除了常常用到double-stopping(拉雙弦)的技巧之外,許多別的部份也是被識為不容易演奏的。只不過,Leclair傳承了法國音樂的精髓,有辦法將實質困難的音樂包裝得非常精緻,讓許多人乍聽之下,只會注意到那音樂優雅的氣質。有一次Leclair與另一位義大利小提琴鬼才音樂家同台演出,事後有一位聽眾道:「Leclair演奏得像一位天使,而Locatelli則像是魔鬼。」

當然,Leclair也有考慮攻佔初學者及業餘小提琴家的市場,因此仍是寫了幾首困難度相對來說比較低的曲子。這張CD,便是灌錄他的作品六Première Récréation de musique d'une exécution facile(第一號休閒曲--需以輕鬆的方式表演)還有作品十四的三重奏(死後出版)。這兩首作品的另一個特色,就是兩首都是法國組曲形式的音樂,可以說是Leclair的器樂曲中裡,最有法國味道的。二首組曲,都以法式的序曲開頭,接著是一連串的舞曲,而都以夏康舞曲做結尾,似乎是意謂著不希望音樂就這樣收場。

這張CD的音樂家為Simon Standage帶領的Collegium Musicum 90。Simon Standage是The English Concert的創團元老之一,期間和Pinnock等音樂家錄製的Vivaldi四季一度是古樂器版的權威。 1990,他自立門戶,創了Collegium Musicum 90,是規模可大可小的室內樂團,並錄了許多Telmann,Leclair,以及其他比較不為人知的英國作曲家的曲目,可說對於推廣巴洛克音樂,不遺餘力。

演奏風格來說,他們的處理上是傳統英國式的詮釋方法,平鋪直敘,內斂許多。不過以他們的表演方式來演奏這些組曲裡的舞曲,不免在活力上打了點小折扣。有些俱強烈節奏感的曲子,有時會變得像是漫不經心地在散步。可是,這和作曲家原意,要表演起來「輕鬆」二字吻合也說不定。不論如何,幸好兩首組曲都以Chaconne做為結局,而穩健的表演方式,尚可以讓我信服。作品六的Chaconne高貴典雅,作品十四的Chaconne充滿活力,表現出一種舞曲形式的百變可能。Standage和他的樂團願意將這先前不為人知的音樂,呈現給世人,也要要給予一定的肯定。

Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764) is French late Baroque composer, often credited as the founder of the French school of violin playing, having bringing it back from Italy.  His French training as a dancer allowed him to find employment in Italy, where he quickly decided to study the violin with Giovanni Battista Somis, a student of Corelli.  Leclair's adoption of Italian music is evident in his published 13 opuses during his life, where 10 of these are in the Italian sonatas or concertos.  Only his two Récréation de musique, op.6 and op.8 and his opera Scylla et Glaucus, op.11 are of true French form.

Leclair's violin music poses considerable difficulties to play.  He introduced the use of double-stopping into French violin music, and it is featured a fair amount throughout his music.  However, Leclair's music exhibits the grace and elegance of French music, and thus can sound deceivingly simple.  In one occasion, when he was to perform alongside Locatelli, an audience state that Leclair "played like an angel" and Locatelli "played like a devil."

As a musician trying to make a living, Leclair did not completely give up the amateur market.  He published two opuses of Récréation de musique, as mentioned early.  Not only did these adhere to his French origins, they also demand less from the performer.  The same is for his posthumous work op.14, a trio sonata for two violins and bass in a French suite fashion.  The two pieces recorded here are the first Récréation, op.6 and the op.14 trio, in addition to another sonata for two solo violins, a piece with considerably more challenge.  The two suites open with a French overture and progresses with a series of dances, before both ending with a Chaconne, although much different in nature.  The op.6 Chaconne is more refined, while the one is op.14 is more outgoing, evident in just the first few bars.

The music is played nicely by Simon Standage and his Collegium Musicum 90.  Simon Standage was a founding member of The English Concert, where his recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons was a landmark recording of its time, using period instruments.  Collegium Musicum 90 and Simon Standage give a very "British" rendering of the pieces.  You won't find fire in their music, but you get consistent and solid music-making.  Some of the dance movements could have used a bit more liveliness and direction, but maybe they were staying true to Leclair's directions to play it "easy and light."  Nonetheless, the real saving grace for me are the Chaconnes, where their performance style is convincing.  In the end, I am happy that Standage endeavors into the relatively unknown to provide for some good music to see the light.









2 comments:

John Hendron said...

When we compare the op. 3 work with a much more recent recording by Florian Deuter, the differences in playing style are quite evident. This disc is far better than Standage's sonatas with Nick Parle on harpsichord. Leclair's interesting music for me makes this recording sing; the second violin (presumably the late Micaela Comberti on this disc) is the one that feels like it's pulling down the energy with a slightly labored technique and spongy sound.

Among CM90s Leclair, the concerto discs were better.

Deadlockcp said...

Yes, I have those CM90 Leclair concertos as well, a good job done by Standage, as the pieces are challenging in their own right.

I didn't bring up that op.3 work in the review here, but this recording is already more interesting than the Holloway + Banchini recording I own. Besides a very dry sound, the playing is also quite lackluster to my taste.

I listened to clips of the Deuter recording, and it is indeed the more exciting new style we have come to be accustomed to.

For me, Leclair's music is certainly fascinating enough that its qualities shine through in this disc. (Not so much with the Op.3 + Op.12 recordings of Holloway.)

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