Paul Le Flem
Piano Quintet in e minor
Paul Le Flem's Piano Quintet in e minor dates from 1910. It is in three movements which are each dominated by two themes. He is fond of changing meter from 5/4 to 7/8 which creates a sense of uneasy restlessness. The thematic material can be described as yearning and dramatic. The influence of both d’Indy and d’Indy’s teacher Cesar Franck are quite apparent. The work begins with a Lento introduction which leads to the main section Modérément animé filled with what may be Breton folk music. There is much unisono playing which creates a sense of unity and lends the music is rather evocative mood, which at times approaches the form of a legende. The middle movement, Lent, is full of contrasts, not just because of the change of tempi which are accenuated by unusual meters. There are folkloric overtones. Themes from the first movement reappear in altered form in the finale, Modérément animé, and are cleverly handled. The work makes a strong impression and is quite appealing.
Paul Le Flem (1881-1984) was born in in the French town of Radon. He studied at the Schola Cantorum in Paris under Vincent d'Indy and Albert Roussel, later teaching there where his pupils included Erik Satie and André Jolivet. His name is interesting in that it means one from Flanders or northern France and not Brittany of which he was a native. His music is in fact strongly influenced by Brittany, the landscape of which is said to be reflected in most of his work.
This is a fine work which deserves to be heard in concert.