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The Classical Explorer

Belgian Chamber Music


Guillaume (Jean Joseph Nicholas) Lekeu

Quartet for Violin, Viola, Cello & Piano (1894)
Molto Adagio for String Quartet (1887)
String Quartet (1887)

Jan Michiels, piano
Spiegel String Quartet
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG6441266-2 72:09

Guillaume Lekeu a Belgian composer who lived for a very short time, studied with César Franck and Vincent d'Indy. His credo, "Je me tue à mettre dans ma musique toute mon âme" (I put my whole heart and soul in my music) is apparent in his chamber music.

This recording opens with a fiery, impassioned violin explosion, but after about thirty seconds settles in to a Fauré-like piano quartet filled with lovely melodies and great part writing. This piano quartet was left unfinished, but completed by d'Indy. The completion is not on this disc.

Lekeu's single movement Adagio and his String Quartet, however, show very strong influence and understanding of Late Beethoven, not just in the part writing, but in the mature mood, the depth of feeling, and the richness of the counterpoint. Special mention should be made of the fifth movement, Poco Allegro e molto scherzoso (track 8). It is a folk-like theme, and twists and turns in delightful sophisticated changes of mode and mood.

The Spiegel Quartet members performing on this fine-sounding disc are Elisa Kawaguti, Stefan Willems, violins; Leo De Neve, viola; Jan Sciffer, cello. The pianist is Jan Michiels.

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[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music ]