Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Cello Sonata (1888)
Three Pieces for piano (1892)
Jean-Paul Dessy (cello)
Boyan Vodenitcharov (piano)
CYPRES CYP1617  [57.02]
Amazon UK

The minor key expanses of Lekeu's romantic cello sonata extend to just over three quarters of an hour. The main reference is Beethoven with a very slight Brahmsian seasoning. This is the work of a young composer who died aged only 24. There is little here to suggest Franck or D'Indy whose voices I was fully expecting to encounter. The first movement glooms along contentedly for a full twenty minutes and it must be said (with no disfavour to the great artistry of the two soloists) that things do seem to sprawl. The urgent second movement sounds a more original note around a wayward strolling melody - altogether more exotic - almost Slavonic but with the example of Beethoven (his late quartets) a presence. There is a cloud-hung lento and, to round out the picture, a remonstrative five minute Epilogue. This is an awkwardly gawky but confident work close to the heart of the romantic night storm.

The Three Pieces have a tremulous tender air as if in spiritual sympathy with Chopin. The first is a simple song, the second an impressionistic valse oubliée and finally a playfully vivacious dance with at least one of the woven in popular songs being familiar from Canteloube's Auvergnat songs.

There is no denying the attraction of this music. Even if the Sonata seems diffuse it is never less than committedly presented by two enthusiastically able artists.

Rob Barnett

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