Author Topic: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)  (Read 4493 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« on: July 26, 2015, 05:52:03 AM »


Guillaume Lekeu, Belgian composer of the late nineteenth century, was born near the small town of Verviers. His father, a wool merchant, sent the young Guillaume to a school in Poiters, where the boy excelled in all subjects except religion and music. However, a few years later he began to take an interest in music, and at the age of 15 he published his Op. 1, an Andante et Variations for violin and piano. Traveling to Paris with his family, he was able to meet César Franck in 1889, who adopted Lekeu as his final pupil in music. Franck was incredibly impressed with the boy, and took Lekeu to Bayreuth for a Wagner festival, where Lekeu was spellbound and forever changed by the experience. After Franck's death, Lekeu put his short time of instruction to immediate use by composing chamber works and a few symphonic pieces. In 1891 he was able to secure second place in the Prix de Rome with his cantata Androméde. The following year he made contact with Eugène Ysaÿe, who commissioned works from such composers as Franck, Saint-Saëns, Ravel, and Debussy. Ysaÿe asked Lekeu if he had composed any chamber music, to which the surprising response was in the negative. Despite this answer, Ysaÿe commissioned from Lekeu two works: a piano quartet and a sonata for piano and violin. In October 1893, Lekeu dined at a restaurant and ate a dessert which contained contaminated water. He and his friends all took ill, but while the others recovered, Lekeu's health continued to worsen. On the day after his 24th birthday Guillaume Lekeu passed away.

The vast majority of Lekeu's music was written between 1891 and 1894. His more famous pieces include an adagio for string orchestra, a trio for piano/violin/cello, the Fantaisie sur deux airs populaires angevins, Trois Poèmes, and his most popular work, the famous Sonata for Violin and Piano. Many speculate that, had he only lived longer, Lekeu would have been without a doubt at the forefront of the music of the twentieth century. Only his untimely demise kept him from being able to make the most of his gifts.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

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Couldn't find a Lekeu thread, so I started one. I'm sure he won't garner much interest here, but he deserves his own thread IMHO. What little I've heard from him (Violin Sonata, Adagio for string orchestra, a few others) have been quite moving and lyrically gorgeous. Definitely one of those composers who would have developed a highly individual style had he lived longer. Any fans of his music here?

Speaking of Lekeu, cross-posted this from the 'Purchases' thread:

Just bought:



I have been anticipating a reissue of this series for quite some time. I bought this set for $36 (+ shipping) off Amazon Germany. Really looking forward to this series as Lekeu has been flying under my radar for years but all of these particular recordings have been out-of-print for quite some time.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2015, 06:53:22 PM »
Well, I'm just going to let some of Lekeu's music speak for itself. Here are a few selections:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/nVI4ve5cLag" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/nVI4ve5cLag</a>

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/gdOMn468FN8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/gdOMn468FN8</a>

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/0CqhCxKeTs4" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/0CqhCxKeTs4</a>

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/n2DOB9gcc8g" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/n2DOB9gcc8g</a>

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/GQ7CVrAXffE" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/GQ7CVrAXffE</a>

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/WdPeYfyGOPc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/WdPeYfyGOPc</a>

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/hCjNEqqMsAk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/hCjNEqqMsAk</a>
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Florestan

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2015, 11:45:50 PM »
“Play Mozart in memory of me --- and I will hear you.” — Chopin

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2015, 06:28:18 AM »
Yes.  8)

What are some of your favorite works? Anything you recommend to me listening to first whenever I get the Complete Works box set?
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Florestan

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2015, 06:45:38 AM »
What are some of your favorite works?

Given how small is his output, I could say: all of them.  :D

The Violin Sonata, the Piano Trio and the String Quartet are outstanding.

“Play Mozart in memory of me --- and I will hear you.” — Chopin

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2015, 06:49:34 AM »
Given how small is his output, I could say: all of them.  :D

The Violin Sonata, the Piano Trio and the String Quartet are outstanding.

Very nice. Thanks. I've heard the Violin Sonata thanks to the Ibragimova/Tiberghien performance on Hyperion. A beautiful work.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline springrite

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2015, 06:58:58 AM »
Given how small is his output, I could say: all of them.  :D

The Violin Sonata, the Piano Trio and the String Quartet are outstanding.

+1

Yep, those three!





PS: Those are the only three that I have  :P
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2015, 07:43:43 AM »
+1

Yep, those three!





PS: Those are the only three that I have  :P

You should think about getting that Complete set on Ricercar. It's $36 right now on Amazon Germany or at least that was my total after check out.

http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B00ZGUI78G?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 07:48:21 AM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Moonfish

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2015, 12:26:06 PM »
Being impulsive I couldn't resist the Ricercar set...
This sample was also convincing! 

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/UBCgsue02iY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/UBCgsue02iY</a>
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2015, 12:45:43 PM »
Being impulsive I couldn't resist the Ricercar set...
This sample was also convincing! 

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/UBCgsue02iY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/UBCgsue02iY</a>

Great to hear, Peter, but to make it 'official' don't forget to post your purchase in the appropriate thread. ;)
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Moonfish

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2015, 12:47:18 PM »
Great to hear, Peter, but to make it 'official' don't forget to post your purchase in the appropriate thread. ;)

ha ha! Do I have to?  Ken will get on my case..!
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2015, 12:59:32 PM »
ha ha! Do I have to?  Ken will get on my case..!

Ken is on vacation so we don't have to worry about him right now. ;)

“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Scion7

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2015, 01:17:58 AM »
His (unfinished) Piano Quartet is very nice.

Where he would have gone had he lived longer is anyone's guess, but at least he was on the road for not insignificant Romantic music.  His orchestrated works like "Introduction & Adagio for Tuba and (Wind) Orchestra" and the symphonic etude for Hamlet are sound.

The Grove takes a more critical (but not disapproving) stance on his music.  I think the Allmusic Guide amateur commentator is going way out on a limb about him being at the "forefront" of 20th century music if he'd have gone past 1900.   :D
« Last Edit: November 12, 2015, 01:29:37 AM by Scion7 »
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2015, 02:06:15 AM »
The cello sonata from the Ricercar set impressed me quite a lot. A large boned work with hints of both Faure and Magnard.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2015, 05:27:19 AM by The new erato »

Offline Florestan

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2015, 05:24:13 AM »
Lekeu´s and Arriaga´s are the most regrettable very early deaths of composers --- in terms of musical quality, of course, because every very early death, composer or not, is equally regrettable.
“Play Mozart in memory of me --- and I will hear you.” — Chopin

Offline The new erato

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2015, 05:28:31 AM »
Schubert at 31..... a composing career of approximately 16 years that could easily have been tripled.

Offline North Star

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2015, 05:29:16 AM »
Lekeu´s and Arriaga´s are the most regrettable very early deaths of composers --- in terms of musical quality, of course, because every very early death, composer or not, is equally regrettable.
Ernst Mielck too, and for very early, Julian Scriabin is quite regrettable too, of course.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2015, 05:36:21 AM »
Ernst Mielck too, and for very early, Julian Scriabin is quite regrettable too, of course.

Ah yes, the tragic fate of Scriabin jr.... Never heard of Mielck. Are there any recordings which you would recommend?
“Play Mozart in memory of me --- and I will hear you.” — Chopin

Offline North Star

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2015, 05:53:20 AM »
Ah yes, the tragic fate of Scriabin jr.... Never heard of Mielck. Are there any recordings which you would recommend?

It's ages since I've listened to the CD on Ondine with Storgårds & Oramo (Op. 8 and the symphony that inspired Sibelius to try his hand at the form) - time to revisit now.  8)

Concert Piece in D major, Op. 8, for violin and orchestra (1898)
Storgårds, Oramo & Finnish RSO
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/sASiNKPTwcg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/sASiNKPTwcg</a>

Concert Piece in e minor, Op 9, for Piano and Orchestra
Liisa Pohjola, Hannu Lintu & Finnish RSO
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/S3UXFOUxg3k" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/S3UXFOUxg3k</a>
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Guillaume Lekeu (1870 - 1894)
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2015, 05:56:12 AM »
Thanks, will listen after Haydn.
“Play Mozart in memory of me --- and I will hear you.” — Chopin