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Customer Discussions > Classical Music forum

Georges Enesco


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Showing 1-12 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 17, 2012 3:46:53 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 17, 2012 4:56:38 AM PST
Joe Anthony says:
This thread is a spin-off of the "top 25" thread where I said:

"It's interesting how the Romanian composer (who was also an outstanding violinist), Georges Enesco (sometimes spelled 'Enescu') made three people's 'top 25' lists; albeit with different works. For R. Kopp it's the Octet; for Wyote it's 'Oedipe'; and for me it's the Sonata #3 for Violin and Piano 'played in the popular Romanian style'.

Along the same line; Enesco's 'Romanian Rhapsody #1' seems to have been a popular 'pops' number that conductors must have loved because it was recorded not only by Arthur Feidler, but also Eugene Ormandy and Leonard Bernstein; and as it is often coupled with the orchestral versions of Liszt's 'Hungarian Rhapsodies #1 & 2'; I must admit that I always secretly enjoyed Enesco's 'Romanian Rhapsody #1' a bit more.

I always thought that my liking for certain pieces by Enesco was something of an idiosyncrasy as he's probably not considered to be a major composer anywhere outside of Romania, but, perhaps that merits further discussion."

What say you?

Posted on Nov 17, 2012 6:44:32 AM PST
HB says:
I just listened to the Violin Sonata No. 3. I found it to be full of gimmicks but little thematic inspiration. I think it would be a very interesting work to be played at a recital. However, for repeated listening, I can think of many other 20th century violin sonatas I would rather listen to.

As for the two Romanian Rhapsodies, I have always loved both of them. I wish orchestras would not consider them to be only pops concert material. The 2nd Rhapsody, in particular, is a very serious and impassioned work.

Posted on Nov 17, 2012 8:03:00 AM PST
Dvorak: Serenade for Wind
this disc has an interesting wind work by enesco....coupled with those by janacek a dvorak.

Posted on Nov 17, 2012 11:11:32 PM PST
Skaynan says:
Thanks joe and HB. I'll check out your recommendations.

Posted on Nov 18, 2012 4:20:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 18, 2012 4:30:30 PM PST
R. Kopp says:
A back door introduction to Enescu the composer would be through his violin playing. As Joe notes, he was a highly regarded violinist (and a respected pianist, too, though I don't know if he ever recorded anything on piano or whether it's still available). Probably the easiest recording to find is Bach's Double Concerto in D minor, which he played with his old pupil, Yehudi Menuhin. I love the easy rapport the two of them have: it's a cheery, sun-dappled reading if your ears can adjust to the 1932 sound. (You can do it!) On the same disc, Enescu conducts Bach's 1st and 2nd Violin Concertos with Menuhin as the soloist.
Bach: Violin Concertos 1 & 2, Double Concerto & Partita No.2: Chaconne

I've kicked myself a number of times for not picking up Enescu's performance of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin the one time I saw a cheap copy. It's not nearly as famous as the version his star pupil made but, judging from the samples I've heard, it has its own merits--very angular, with distinctive counterpoint.
Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1001- 1006 (CDs)
Bach: Violin Sonatas and Partitas Nos. 1-3 (Enesco) (1940) (MP3s & samples)

I'm particularly fond of Enescu's own writings for strings. Among my favorites are his two string quartets, which shimmer like moonlight on the ocean. I'm only familiar with the Quatuor Ad Libitum recording on Naxos, but I can recommend it highly to newcomers.
Enescu: String Quartets 1 & 2

The piece that really knocks my socks off, though, is the Octet, op. 7 (1900)--simply put, one of my favorite strings-only compositions, written when Enescu was just 19! It has a wildly decadent turn-of-the-century romanticism that I find more or less incomparable. It always conjures up some kind of crazy ballroom in my head, despite its dissonance and its stutters and its changing tempos. The reasons why the orchestral version of the Octet isn't part of the standard repertoire are completely beyond my understanding.

I have two recordings of the Octet and both are great. The Gidon Kremer version comes in brilliant modern sound:
George Enescu: Octet, op. 7; Quintet in A minor, op. 29
My other version is an idiomatic performance by the instrumentalists of the Filarmonicii "Georges Enescu," conducted by Constantin Silvestri and available on this rare but important collection of older recordings:
George Enescu Masterworks (6 CD Set)

Does anyone out there happen to know the 2009 version with Christian Tetzlaff & Isabelle Faust? It too sounds pretty swell--judging from the samples, maybe a bit more hard-driven and less romantic than than the Kremer, with more separation of the individual instruments/soloists. If that's accurate, I'll probably ultimately prefer the Kremer, but I still want to hear the Tetzlaff/Faust version for myself.
Mendelssohn, Enescu: Octets For Strings

This from Julia Bederova's notes to the Nonesuch release of the Octet and the Quintet, op. 29:

"Romanian musician George Enescu (1881-1955) was a brilliant violinist and an extraordinary conductor and composer. Jules Massenet and Gabriel Fauré considered him one of their best students. Pablo Casals thought him the most marvelous musician after Mozart. Enescu divided his life between Vienna and Paris, but always returned to his home in Bessarabia and never gave up his citizenship there. A man of unique charm with a delicate sense of humor, he was a protegé of the Romanian queen. His three passions were German late romanticism, the French school, and Romanian folklore, each of which competed for his heart, but none of which could claim its sole possession. For the contemporary public such ambiguity is a stroke of luck, but the last century responded coolly to what it saw as indecision.

"...He knew both fame and oblivion; he signed no manifestos and belonged to no particular school; he was plagued by false interpretations and the status of both forerunner and imitator simultaneously; his novelty was subtle yet obstinate; his tenderness, flexibility, luminosity and individuality are all singular, intimately rooted in culture."

Posted on Nov 19, 2012 12:33:47 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2012 12:36:26 AM PST
I am a decently enthusiastic devotee of Enescu's music as well, although I am really only a big fan of a small handful of works, probably through lack of time an effort on my part. I would strongly concur with the opinion that Oedipus is an out and out masterpiece, although I have two recordings, one on EMI and one on Naxos, and the former under Lawrence Foster is good enough to justify exalted descriptions. I also have a lot of time for that Violin Sonata, the orchestral Suites, and of course the first Rhapsody is not just a popular showpiece - it's far better than that, despite (?) its relative popularity.

Incidentally, the name Enescu is correct; when he lived in Paris he, along with countless other expat Romanians, changed the ending, to "o", as when pronounced in French, the original ending sounds like French for "bottom/arse", and hence might have been laughed at.....

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 6:39:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012 6:42:46 AM PST
Skaynan says:
Thank you so much guys! I got Enescu & Lipatti Interpret Enescu & Lipatti and it is indeed great music. Right up my alley, really. How didn't I know of this music before? Lucky we have this forum.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 10:50:36 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012 11:29:46 PM PST
Mandryka says:
You probably know that he suffered from inflammatory arthritis. Amazingly, he continued to play violin and record music in fact, there's an extraordinary Kreutzer sonata on record from quite late in his life. But to hear his violin playing at it's best you have to really go to the very early recordings, before he caught the disease.

Many old fashioned violinists, like Huberman, Enescu, Kulenkampff, Busch, Thibaud, use microtones very expressively. If you think music making is about communicating, then what they do is wonderful. It's an art which seems to have disappeared.

Enescu's best student was Christan Ferras, who recorded one of his sonatas (at least.) Everything Ferras did is worth hearing, though truth is I can't remember how he plays the Enescu.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 10:58:21 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012 11:20:01 PM PST
Mandryka says:
Are you serious? Did he really change his name because it rhymes with cul? I can only think of one french word which rhymes with cul: secu. All the rest have cul as part of them (culcul is another, though I expect it has cul as part somehow -- I'm not a native francophone)

Merci beau cul.

Posted on Dec 3, 2012 12:36:37 AM PST
Dead serious, Mandryka! apparently a problem for a lot of Romanians as they flooded into the city which became their cultural home. If I can find a specific reference to this, I'll post it!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2012 5:03:55 AM PST
Mandryka says:
Yes I remember now that Nicolae Ceauescu had a problem like that.

Posted on Dec 3, 2012 5:58:26 AM PST
Incidentally, do you know why they shot Mr and Mrs Ceausescu 36 times each?

It was because they ran out of bullets.
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  12
Initial post:  Nov 17, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 3, 2012

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