Lekeu, Guillaume


Born at Heusy, in the province of Liege; a composer whose death, when hardly more than a youth, cut short a career full of promise. When very young he began to study music in his native town and when twelve years old he entered the Lyceum at Poitiers. At sixteen he began his study under Cesar Franck and Vincent d'Indy, in Paris. His compositions were greatly influenced by Franck, showing the free form, harmonic tone-painting and the refined delicacy of coloring which is typical of the new French School. In 1891 his cantata, Andromede, took the second Prize of Rome in the Belgian national competition. His native town became so enthusiastic over his success that he was asked to lead a performance of the work. During the remaining three years of his life he devoted himself to composition and prose writings. So much of his work in both lines is so sad, so weighted with suffering and lamentation as though he must almost feel the approach of his death. He composed for voice and also for various instruments, much being left incomplete at his death. A sonata in G for piano and violin is dedicated to Ysaye. Some of his works are two fitudes Symphoniques, one entitled Chant Triomphale and the other divided into two parts, Faust and Hamlet; a Poeme for violin and orchestra; an adagio for violin, cello and strings; an Epithalme for quintet of strings, three trombones and organ. His greatest vocal work is the Chant Lyrique, for chorus and orchestra.