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Michel Leclerc 

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Raymond Micha 

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Pirly Zurstrassen 

 Michel LECLERC (Liège 1914 - Waremme 1995)

MICHEL LECLERCMichel Leclerc was born in Liège on March 17,1914 and was given his first music lessons at the age of 4 by his great-uncle and later by his father. In 1925 he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music in Liège where he pursued comprehensive violin and music writing studies. He was awarded the Solfeggio Prize in 1928, the Harmony Prize in 1930, the Violin Prize in 1931, the Chamber Music Prize in 1932, the Higher Diploma and the Vermeil Medal for the Violin in 1933 and a second Fugue Prize in 1934. He was admitted to the higher violin course at the National Music Academy in Paris in 1934 and he was first violin at the Symphony Orchestra of Paris, under the direction of Pierre Monteux. After his return to Belgium in 1935, he was a violinist for more than 11 years with the I.N.R. (Radio) Orchestra, under the direction of Désiré Defauw, of Franz André, of Théo Dejoncker and of Daniel Sternefeld.

As an instrumental performer, he gave numerous solo concerts, participated in recitals or with an orchestra. He was also very active as a chamber music performer. He was a member of several ensembles, including the "Quatuor de la Duchesse de Vendôme", the "Quintette Instrumental de Belgique", the "Quatuor Ad Artem" and the Quatuor of Liège, up until the death of Jean Rogister. From 1946 to 1976 he was a chamber music teacher at the Music Academy in Liège and a teacher of harmony at the Music Academy of Amay. From 1949, Michel Leclerc was first a music programmer and then a producer at the RTB (Radio) Centre of Liège.

After he retired, Michel Leclerc devoted his efforts to composing only. His vast musical production - impossible to enumerate comprehensively here - covers all of the instrumental, orchestral and vocal fields : one opera ("La Matrone d'Éphèse"), three ballets ("Noir sur Blanc", "Le Bouffon amoureux", "Orgueils"), symphonic works ("Cap Gris-Nez", "Suite au Passé simple", "Symphonies de Carnaval", two orchestral suites on the ballet Noir sur Blanc), concerti with orchestra (violin, viola, horn, guitar, bassoon, ... ), many instrumental works with piano ("Hommage à Jean Rogister" for viola and piano, "Sonatine" for horn and piano, "Contrastes" for clarinet and piano, "Lumières et Brumes de Meuse" for trumpet and piano, ... ), melodies (with texts of Maurice Carême, of Aldolphe Hardy, of Jean Brumioul, ... ), choral works for speaker, soli, choir et symphonic orchestra ("Simple Histoire de la Genèse", "Le Livre de Job", "Le Chemin Royal", "La Charité-François", ... ), scenic- or film music ("Jeanne d'Arc", "Ta Mort est ma Lumière", "Dona Mencia", "L'Aube nouvelle," ... ), walloon works ("Li Creùs d'Amour", "Li Vwèle", "So les Vôyes di Moûse", ... ), choirs ("Non, je n'irai pas dans la lune", "Prindez vos baston Simon", "Harbouya", "Domine Salvum Fac", ... ), many chamber music works for duets, trios, quartets, quintets ("Trois Bluettes" for flute and guitar, "Suite" for harp and piano, "Trio" for two trumpets and horn, "Silhouettes" pour viola, violoncello and piano, "Vertbois-Quartet "for violin, viola, violoncella and piano, "Pochade" for string quartet, "Par Monts et par Vaux" for brass quintet, ... ), and jingles for broadcasting at the belgian TV (RTBF). 

Michel Leclerc always stated himself that he did not belong to any specific school and he considered himself to be a typically Walloon impressionist, independent, humorous, sensitive and tender-hearted, but also highly irreverent. As a matter of fact, he wrote very freely and felt close to all genuine composers, regardless of their methods of expression and their techniques. On the other hand, as he declared, the composers who try to render some "ersatz" for noise and show but disregard for sensitivity and poetry always remained strangers where he was concerned. His airy and percussive orchestration seasoned with some stridencies, but without exaggeration, reveals a definite style and a frank, clear and accurate language.

Michel Leclerc retired to the Senior Citizens Home "Saint-Charles" at Landenne-sur-Meuse, between Namur and Huy. He passed away in Waremme on September 20,1995.

Philippe Bayard
Translated by Luc Van Loock





 





  

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