One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger




Paul Le FLEM (1881-1984)
Piano Quintet (1905) [36:40]
Violin Sonata (1905) [28:57]
Philippe Koch (violin)
Alain Jacquon (piano)
Quatuor Louvigny
rec. Villa Louvigny, Luxembourg, Nov 2003-Jan 2004. DDD
TIMPANI 1C1077 [65:37]


This is intensely romantic music. The Quintet is saturated with yearning melodic content in which a dramatic melos and an impressionistic texture warmly vie with each other. You need to think in terms of the Ravel String Quartet, the Bax Piano Quintet, the chamber works of Max díOllonne and the Howell's Piano Quartet. If you already love one or more of these works then go straight out and acquire this now. You will not be disappointed. The music is soaked with the dazzle of the Breton sun, the mystery of the Celtic stone circles and the green rumble and crash of the sea. In the finale there is a tougher presence, thuddingly close in its visceral punch, to Bartók but then resolving into a bustling tumult of sunny ecstasy. Outstanding. Glorious!

From the same year comes the Violin Sonata. It is dedicated to the composerís parents. Remember that at the age of twelve he had been orphaned. Music and solitude along the strand, among the Breton dunes and sandy heathland were his consolation - his life. The Sonata links with Rootham's Violin Sonata, the Delius sonatas especially the Cello Sonata, the Howells sonatas - or at least the first two, the Ireland Second Sonata and Dunhillís Second. The themes have a soaked exalted mien, a long-breathed line and a Celtic curve. Listen to the piano dappled ostinato at 2.12 in the lento as the violin sings out its heart above the lapping waves. The determined chatter of the vif links with various folk-based works such as the Violin Concertos by Janis Ivanovs and E. J. Moeran. Delius is also a presence. Only the final few pages seem diminutive in spirit beside so much that is great-hearted.

After distinguishing himself at the Brest Naval Academy he went on to the Sorbonne and then at Conservatoire studied with Widor (1899). The present two works come from a specific stage in his development and his later symphonies from 1956, 1970 and 1975 proclaim new directions.

This disc is dedicated to Michel Fleury who has done so much to promote the disregarded generation of French composers and whose wide frame of cultural reference has made provocative and fruitful links between literature and the music of the non-Gallic nations. He has pointed up notable connections with Bax, Holbrooke, Marx and others. Michel writes with the authority and flair of the late Christopher Palmer and his notes grace this release.

The surging romance of this music will attract those already won around to the music of Ropartz, Howells, Cras, Lazzari, Bax and díOllonne. Would that Timpani would next record Ropartz's Fourth and Fifth Symphonies and Le Flem's two major Breton tone poems Les Voix du Large (1911) and Pour les Morts (1913).

Another winner for Timpani. Outstanding. Glorious!

Rob Barnett

We are currently offering in excess of 52,619 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.