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Nicholas Anderson
Early Music Today, December 2014

Butterfield is pleasingly receptive to the French ‘beau chant’, bringing expressive warmth and affective gestures to slow movements. Faster movements fare pretty well too… © 2014 Early Music Today

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2013

Little is known of Jean-Marie Leclair’s early musical training, though his name first appears as a dancer and only later as an eminent violinist and composer. He spent some years in the service of the royal court in the Netherlands, but much the last forty years of his life where in Paris where he was murdered in 1764. His extensive output for the violin included forty-eight sonatas, the third and fourth volumes, which showed a far more adventurous style of writing overshadowing the first two books. Fearing that their inherent difficulty would detract from sales of his music, he also made versions for flute where the problems were minimised. The present disc—the second of two—contains the first recording of his second volume, and though Leclair was less than clear regarding the accompaniment, the present disc employs the Viola da Gamba and harpsichord. All three are specialists in the field of Baroque performances, with Adrian Butterfield playing a copy of a Baroque violin of 1734. It has that open tone that makes perfect intonation a prerequisite, while still providing the singing quality the slow movements require. By today’s standards they are not outlandish in technical demands, but the crossed string passages are certainly taxing. Leclair chastised violinists of his time who employed overly fast tempos, and he would have surely been pleased by this disc where the quick finales are never rushed, while the decorations are added moments of fantasy. Jonathan Manson’s Viola da Gamba discreetly fills out the texture, while Laurence Cummings’ harpsichord playing is a model of period enlightenment. Very good sound quality. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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