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Sonata for piano and violin in G

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1. Très modéré. Vif et passionné – 2. Très lent. Très simplement et dans le caractère d’un chant populaire – 3. Très animé

“The XXs’ annual concert took place on Tuesday [...] we heard my Sonata for violin and piano (Mme Théorine and E. Ysaÿe) and my Three Poems for voice and piano […]. I experienced there my strongest and happiest emotions: I had the inexpressible joy of being transported by a work to the point of forgetting that I was its author; reflection obliged me to admit to myself that I was the primary cause of my emotion, which made me absolutely giddy. What my Violin Sonata became in Ysaÿe’s hands, you can’t imagine, and I’m still appalled at my rapture.” In his letter to Prosper Renier of 11 March 1893, Guillaume Lekeu was writing about the first performance, four days earlier, of a sonata that durably entered the repertoire of European violinists. The twenty-two-year young man skilfully synthesized the features of his favourite composers: from the cyclic form of his master César Franck to the chromaticism of the Wagnerian school, through the Beethovenian breadth that runs through all three parts. Lekeu tried to push the performer’s expressivity as far as possible and eschewed no superlative for his headings in the score. The Brussels press enthused immediately after the concert: “The Sonata contains lofty, beautiful ideas artfully developed, rhythmic and harmonic innovations, and a distinct personality, which is rare for a beginner [...]. We think this is the best chamber composition that ever emerged from Belgian soil” (L’Art moderne, 12 March). 


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