Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major
Lekeu’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major was completed in 1892 and perhaps not surprisingly shows the influence of his first teacher César Franck in that it adheres to the so-called cyclical principle in which a main theme that makes its appearance at the beginning of the work reappears subsequently in each of the following movements. In fact, Lekeu may well have taken Franck’s own violin sonata as his model, but despite the reappearance of the early themes, the way the sonata unfolds does not lend itself to any simple analysis. The work is a synthesis of melancholic, restless, chromatic language punctuated by energetic bursts of passion which create riveting dramatic climaxes. In the lovely middle movement, Lekeu instructs the players to perform the thematic material very simply and in the form of a popular folk melody, thus providing a fine contrast with the preceding movement, while the passionate finale, with its brilliant restatement of earlier themes, provides a wonderful conclusion to this fine work.
Lekeu (1870-94) was born in the village of Heusy in Belgium and began his musical studies at a conservatory nearby. In 1888, his family moved to Paris and he entered the Paris Conservatory where first he studied with César Franck and after Franck's death, with Vincent d'Indy. Tragically, Lekeu died of typhoid fever just after his 24th birthday. The usually critical Debussy regarded Lekeu to be as talented as Franck and d'Indy regarded him a genius. In addition to his Violin Sonata, he completed a string quartet, a piano trio and a partially finished piano quartet.
This superb work would be an adornment to any violinist's recital repertoire and we are pleased to make it available once again.