Fauré • Lekeu • Ravel

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COMPOSERS: Faure,Lekeu,Ravel
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Fauré: Violin Sonata No. 1; Lekeu: Violin Sonata in G; Ravel: Sonata movement in A minor
PERFORMER: Tasmin Little (violin), Martin Roscoe (piano)


This is a typically well-constructed and enticing recital from Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe. Guillaume Lekeu is one of the ‘what ifs’ of French music. A disciple of Franck, his own voice was beginning to emerge when he died at the age of 24 from typhoid in 1894. The unrealised promise is clear in what is probably his best-known work, the G major Violin Sonata. The impassioned outer movements understandably evoke the spirit of Franck’s golden period, Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe masterfully pacing the ebb and flow of the tension. Nonetheless, there is little precedent for the long-breathed unfolding line of the slow movement, and Little’s whispered treatment of the end is magical.

Little displays similar control in the Scherzo of Fauré’s A major Sonata, the music seemingly evaporating into the ether at the end of the central section. In an absolutely ideal world, Little would be more ready to indulge in portamento in the other movements, but that quibble applies to most modern performances and this is a thoroughly compelling account.

Ravel began his first sonata at the same age as Lekeu wrote his, but left it incomplete after composing just a single movement in which his musical personality is already strongly delineated. Little and Roscoe ensure the gentle rhythmic restlessness flows naturally and are surefooted in the switches between cool reflection and warmly Romantic outpourings.


Christopher Dingle