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  • George Enescu: Octet Op. 7; Quintet Op. 29
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George Enescu: Octet Op. 7; Quintet Op. 29


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Audio CD, May 21, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

If, indeed, this is the first recording of George Enescu's Piano Quintet Op. 29, where has this passionate, big-boned masterpiece been hiding since it was written in 1940? It has everything: long, surging melodies; ravishing harmonies best described as "red meat Fauré"; delicate counterpoint that suddenly explodes into orchestral ecstasy; sustained string lines decorated by magical keyboard flourishes. Stylistically, it sounds as if it could have been written before the same composer's Op. 7 Octet from 1900, whose terse idiom and restless polyphony wouldn't be out of place in Shostakovich. Nonesuch provides engineering that's roomy yet well-defined, and perfectly suited to these works. And how are the performances? Passionate and big-boned, for starters, and lovingly prepared. In the Octet, Kremer sometimes lunges at high notes with tremulous intonation, but not in the Quintet. If you're a chamber music fan bent on new discoveries, this disc is for you. Highly recommended. --Jed Distler

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Octet, op. 7: I. Tres modere12:07Album Only
listen  2. Octet, op. 7: II. Tres fougueux 8:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Octet, op. 7: III. Lentement 7:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Octet, op. 7: IV. Moins vite, anime, mouvement de valse bien rythmee 9:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Quintet in A minor, op. 29: I. Con moto molto moderato 8:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Quintet in A minor, op. 29: Andante sostenuto e cantabile12:47Album Only
listen  7. Quintet in A minor, op. 29: II. Vivace, ma non troppo 5:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Quintet in A minor, op. 29: A tempo, un poco a piu animato 9:05$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Kremerata Baltica, Gidon Kremer, Dzeraldas Bidva, Ula Ulijona, Marta Sudraba, et al.
  • Composer: George Enescu
  • Audio CD (May 21, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B0000669X8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,140 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Over the course of more than 30 years of a distinguished career, violinist Gidon Kremer, born in Riga in 1947, has established a worldwide reputation as one of the most original and compelling artists of his generation, praised for his high degree of individualism, his rejection of the well-trodden paths of interpretation, and his search for new possibilities. Gidon Kremer has made more than ... Read more in Amazon's Gidon Kremer Store

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
38%
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See all 8 customer reviews
Unmissable for great music' lovers.
Rocco Casareto Dal Luca
Both of the works are beautiful, charming, charicteristic of the composer, and performed as such by Gidon Kremer and his fellow musicians.
Todd Montgomery
This is a very large-hearted piece of music that I'm sure will grow more and more interesting as I get to know it better.
Giordano Bruno

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Todd Montgomery on April 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
George Enescu said of the octet, featured on this disc, that it was more like architectual design than composing. This can be heard in the connections he makes between the movements, which, although in a traditional 4-movement form, is really more like a single sonata form spread across those movements. The resulting unity is astonishing. The main theme is expressed in many ways through call-and-answer interactions between the string players, making it easy to get lost in the delightful playfulness of the piece. The result of eight parts in this octet is a little like the effects of multiple concussions to the head. Instead of 2+2=4, and 4+4=8, it sounds more like 2+2=7 or 8, and 2+2+2+2=not being able to count at all. This is one of the first major works he composed after his student years, and it is one of his first major successes. A great one.

The quintet is a later work, and a little bit more difficult to understand. Listeners will hear most readily the impressionistic influence, but there is much more to it than that. Like the octet, the quintet does not show as strong an influence of folk music as some of the composer's popular work does, but rather an incredibly detailed design. Many reviewers struggle to thoroughly describe this music. If you listen, you'll know why; it doesn't fit any preconceptions. One reviewer coined the term "Romantic Impressionism" to describe it. The Amazon reviewer sums it up as "Red Meat Faure." I like both, but hope listeners will agree with me that these descriptions indicate an inadequacy on our part. Just listen to it, and come to know it as the true Enescu, and nothing else. This is music that we should be judging other compositions by, not vice-versa. I agree with another reviewer in advocacy of repeat listenings to this work.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey G. Jones on May 29, 2002
Format: Audio CD
George Enescu is a composer on the fringes of the repertoire. He is well-known for his Rumanian Dance for orchestra, but the rest of his music, much of which is completely different, is on the obscure side. This was actually the first recording of the Piano Quintet; there is now a second one available cheaply on Naxos, coupled with the Piano Quartet No. 2.

This recording is simply magic. I have no other way to describe it. It will take even the most expert listener many listenings, and a lot of time, to understand the extent to which Enescu's genius is brought across in this recording. You could listen to the Quintet a hundred times, a thousand times, a million times and still get new things out of it. And Kremer's ensemble, together with fantastic Lithuanian pianist Andrius Zlabys, play with a heartfelt, divinely rarefied warmth.

So my recommendation: pony up the extra money and buy this recording over the Naxos, sight unseen. You will not be disappointed.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 10, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The Piano Quintet, Op. 29 is simple astounding. Black tears; this Quintet is the "tear-stained flower of the poet's mind." Here, one is not asked to listen to melody, but rather a cascade of threads of melody woven together in the subconscience. This is impressionism in its most quintessential form. I highly recommend this recording for its addition of this marvelous Piano Quintet - a gem of the modern world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "dfchen" on June 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I purchased this recording mainly for the Octet, which is probably one of the great unknown chamber works out there. I found the performance of the octet a bit cold and calculated overall, and Kremer's tempos are extremely conservative in the work's very difficult second movement. I still prefer the account by Academy of St. Martin in the Fields on Chandos, which is far more rich and interesting overall.
The Piano Quintet I'd never heard, but is characteristically lush and exquisite.
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