Here are two discs
packed with music fit to burst. Better
still; they are offered at bargain price.
Could I refer you to
Evan Dickerson's guide to the recorded
orchestral Enescu . His frame of
reference is wide and will guide you.
My impressions are from a more limited
Foster is no Mravinsky
or Stokowski or Golovanov. His approach
is more expansive; more relaxed. Accordingly
the two Rhapsodies while they do have
flashes of temperament are not explosive.
Instead they respond well to a suave
and lyrical flow superbly paced by Foster.
The Poème Roumain (a very
early and unusually extended work),
written at the same age that Korngold
wrote his Sinfonietta, is
surprisingly Brahmsian and tawnily autumnal.
It becomes more nationalistically turbulent
towards the close.
Then come the three
orchestral suites. They are dotted throughout
his musical life. The Third Suite is
an affectionate series of brightly coloured
rustic vignettes. Some of these are
nostalgic; e.g. The old childhood
house at sunset tr. 6 and the magical
River in the moonlight. Others,
like the finale, are infused with dance
material and the solo violin takes it
accustomed role evocative of the village
fiddler. The suite is in three moments.
Foster makes a conscious decision not
to put the pedal to the floor.
The First Suite employs
pure monody across its initial movement
entitled Prélude à
l'unisson. The Menuet Lent (tr.
2) features a discreetly crooning viola
solo. The Intermède has
a warmly centred, sincere and nonchalantly
strolling gait. The finale is rousing
- a sort of Romanian furiant. The Suite
No. 2 rejoices in baroque titles for
its six movements. Use is also made
of an orchestral piano. The shadow of
Bach and even of Handel peeps out from
most corners. Other reference comparisons
might include Warlock's Capriol and
Moeran's Serenade. Both the Air
and the Sarabande are affecting
and consolatory pieces.
The poetic Symphonie
Concertante is the closest Enescu
came to writing a cello concerto. It
is presented in a single track. The
music has a discursive and smilingly
rhapsodic Delian flow which in this
recording, even when the music becomes
animated, is broad rather than rapid.
Do you respond to Enescu
poetically sustained? Can you live with
Foster's well supported and well upholstered
Brahmsian textures - and these are convincingly
done? If so then look no further. This
set forms an immediate complement to
Foster's EMI symphonies - recordings
only recently issued/reissued and
reviewed on this site.