Alpha Productions' Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau features the chamber group Les Folies Françoises under the direction of violinist Patrick Cohën-Akenine in a chamber overture from Op. 13, three sonatas from Op. 5, and the Concerto in G minor, Op. 10/6, by the ill-fated Leclair. In the concerto, Les Folies Françoises is filled out into a small orchestra whimsically referred to as the Orchestre des Folies Françoises, an appellation that can be translated as "the orchestra of French madmen," although that is probably not what they had in mind. It is the concerto that comes off best here, although all of the playing on Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau is at least decent and very French in character.
It just doesn't feel definitive in the way certain other Alpha Productions issues of Baroque music, such as Bruno Cocset's recording of Vivaldi's cello sonatas or Stylus Phantasticus' Philipp Heinrich Erlebach collection, easily achieve -- Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau isn't quite up to that standard. Patrick Cohën-Akenine is tangled up in his strings during the difficult double-stops that open the title track, Sonata VI in C minor, Op. 5/6 "Le Tombeau," and one is left to wonder why Cohën-Akenine decided not to retake this passage. However, none of these pieces has been recorded with any great depth, so Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau is still a welcome addition to Leclair's catalog, and a decent place to start if one wants to investigate the music of Leclair. The booklet comes with an Agatha Christie-styled exposition of the murder of Leclair, including profiles of the four main suspects, that is informative and highly entertaining to read.