> LEKEU Adio for Strings and other string pieces ADW7361 [CA]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb-International


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Guillaume LEKEU: Adagio for strings
Benjamin BRITTEN: Simple Symphony
Samuel BARBER: Adagio for strings
Bela BARTOK: Rumanian Dances
Orchestre de Chambre 13 conducted by Jean-Pierre Lecaudey


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Recording dates are not given, just a production year, 1996. Hopefully, this is a reissue of an earlier DDD production – any company offering this meagre amount of music in the last decade, with CDs past the novelty stage, is seeking derision given the choice of string-based repertoire.

Quality first of course, but these are not top-division renditions. Simple Symphony is disappointingly literal and unengaging; no match for the composer’s Decca recording. The Bartok is similarly homespun – neat and tidy but no atmosphere or gypsy fire; some solo violin attempts at the ‘real’ thing sound mawkish. The playing of the 12-strong group lacks personality if not sensitivity; efficiency equates to one-dimensional music-making, and palls early on. The recording is close and dry with a few obvious edits.

If this is a super-budget release, then Guillaume Lekeu’s soulful, eloquent Adagio is worth getting to know.*** Belgian Lekeu (1870-94), not surprisingly, left few works – this Adagio tells of a talented composer, one with an expressive heart. Ideally more strings are needed (e.g. Armin Jordan on Erato); similarly for Barber’s Adagio, here virtually returned to its string quartet origins (Op.11).

Colin Anderson


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