Adrian Butterfield consistently delivers with Leclair sonatas

Jean-Marie Leclair published twelve sonatas in his Opus 5 collection. This release presents sonatas 5 through 8 of the set. I reviewed the previous installment in this series, which included sonatas 1-3.

In many ways, this release follows through with the standards set by that release.

Violin Adrian Butterfield shows remarkable musicality and technique with his performances. Leclair was a violin virtuoso. He wrote these works for professional musicians, not amateurs.

Butterfield nicely handles Leclair’s technical challenges. At the same time, he plays with expressive sensitivity, each phrase thoughtful shaped.

All that was true of the previous volume. What makes this one stand out is the music itself. I can’t quite explain why, but I think this set of sonatas is better written. They sound a little less fussy than Nos. 1-4. And they seem to have more cleanly-defined melodies.

Both volumes are worth a listen. but if you only have the budget to buy one, I’d recommend this release.

Jean-Marie Leclair: Violin Sonatas, Book 3, Op. 5, Nos. 5-8
Adrian Butterfield, violin
Sarah McMahon, cello; Silas Wollston, harpsichord
Naxos 8.574351

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