Jean Joseph Nicolas Guillaume Lekeu (20 January 1870 – 21 January 1894) was a Belgian composer of classical music.
Already in his first compositions, one can clearly recognize his personal style. In 1887 he said "bien plus, ce sera bizarre, détraqué, horrible, tout ce qu'on voudra; mais du moins se sera original" (much more, it will be weird, crazy, horrible, anything you like, but at least it will be original). Lekeu took Beethoven as an example for the composition of his string quartets, and from Bayreuth he took the melody. He called this style "des mélodies de telle longeur qu'un seul exposé suffise à parfaire un morceau de musique' (melodies of such length that a single exposure is sufficient to perfect a piece of music). Yet he is most influenced by Franck. Many of Lekeus works are characterized by a certain melancholy. He also wrote less somber works, perhaps motivated by the fact that 'la joie est difficile à mille fois plus que la peindre souffrance' (joy is a thousand times harder to paint than the suffering). Although Lekeu died at a young age, at a time when his compositional skills were not perfect yet, his music testifies maturity. His contemporaries had wished him a longer life, in the light of a guaranteed success as a composer.
Lekeu composed about 50 works, a number of them tragically incomplete. All have been recorded at least once, and several of them more than once, notably the G major Violin Sonata and the C minor Trio. His style, prophetic of early twentieth-century avant-garde French composers like Satie and Milhaud, was influenced by Franck, Wagner and (especially in the Trio) Beethoven, although he was never a mere imitator of such formidable predecessors. His larger compositions are cyclic in structure; that is to say, themes in his works will often recur from movement to movement, as in many compositions of Franck and d'Indy. In general, Lekeu is regarded as a highly talented composer who died far too young. Text source : Wikipedia (Hide extended text) ... (Read all)
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