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CD Review

Guillaume Lekeu

Chamber Music for Piano & Strings

  • Quartet for Piano & Strings (1894)
  • Molto Adagio for String Quartet (1887)
  • Quartet for Strings (1887)
Jan Michiels, piano
Spiegel String Quartet
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG6441266-2 60m DDD
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Another obscure composer gets a deserved roll out on the ever enterprising MD&G label. Guillaume Lekeu was a Wallonian composer from Belgium who died at the tender age of 24 but who had already been recognized as a major musical talent. The Spiegel String Quartet present a piano quartet, a string quartet and a short Molto Adagio for quartet.

The Piano Quartet dates from 1894 and includes many beautiful features that rather recall Chausson or Franck although the first movement contains some very original ideas. The second movement is marked 'Lent et passionne' and here Lekeu is inspired in his fusion of memorable moments and melodies that definitely mark this quartet as one of the finest in the Belgian Romantic repertoire.

The most substantial work on disc is the six-movement String Quartet which shows the powers of this talented composer in full view. The Spiegel Quartet is extremely alert and vivacious and they contribute with alacrity to the proceedings especially in the expansive opening movement marked Allegretto quasi Adagio. This is another work that surely deserves wider and better currency as does this composer. MD&G's recording is crystal clear and I cannot recommend this issue too highly for lovers of quality chamber music.

Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech