RECORDING OF THE MONTH
George ENESCU (1881-1955)
Chamber Music - 1895-1906
Pavane (from: Suite no.2 in D, for piano, op.10) (1903) [6:25]
Impromptu Concertant in G flat, for violin and piano (1903) [6:15]
Ballade, for violin and piano, op.4 (1895) [4:31]
Konzertstück, for viola and piano (1906) [9:24]
Cantabile and Presto, for flute and piano (1904) [6:11]
Nocturne and Saltarello, for cello and piano (1897) [8:00]
Pastorale, Menuet Triste et Nocturne, for violin and piano 4 hands* (1900) [13:16]
Légende, for trumpet and piano (1906) [7:29]
Aubade, for string trio (1899) [5:00]
Sérénade Lointaine, for violin, cello and piano (1903) [4:57]
Tarantella, for violin and piano (1895) [4:27]
Claudia Bara (piano); Tatiana Samouil (violin); Gérard Caussé (viola); Vincent Lucas (flute); Justus Grimm (cello); Frédéric Mellardi (trumpet); Carmen-Elena Rotaru (piano*)
rec. Eglise Evangélique Saint Marcel, Paris, June 2011. DDD
INDESENS INDE036 [76:02]
As the subtitle of this virtually all-French disc indicates, the performances here are concerned with the young George Enescu - very young, often. There is no question that Enescu was precocious - his Ballade for violin and piano was published as his op.4 when he was still fourteen, by which time he had already graduated from the Vienna Conservatory, having enrolled at the age of seven. By the time he wrote two of his best-known chamber works, the Légende for trumpet and piano, and the Konzertstück for viola and piano, Enescu was an 'old' man of 25, and had already published his First Symphony, his two Romanian Rhapsodies, two Violin Sonatas and a Cello Sonata, his Octet and Dixtuor, and much more besides.
Yet none of his music sounds like juvenilia. In fact Enescu shows an expressive maturity far beyond his years: the Impromptu Concertant and Ballade, both for violin and piano, and especially the Sérénade Lointaine for piano trio, are truly atmospheric, yearning and dreamy. The same could be said of the beautiful flute-work of the Cantabile. Elsewhere, his supreme lyricism, easy elegance and boundless fertility - all coinciding, for example, in the ravishing folk-like Aubade for string trio - make these works something that most composers twice Enescu's age would be proud to put their names to.
Indésens' sound engineering here is first-rate, although there is some uncomely noisy breathing from flautist and cellist at times. Légende sounds slightly recessed, but all the better to avoid the distortion that comes from recording a trumpet too closely. The booklet is very informative with regard to the works and has photos and detailed biographies of the performers, if nothing on Enescu himself. Some of the photos are in the post-modern style - slightly blurred and badly framed to intimate zaniness. The only regrettable thing about this whole product, some minor orthographic transgressions aside, is the choice of font used throughout the booklet - one where the blockish letters run into each other, making legibility a chore.
Most of these works have been recorded at least once, often several times, though seldom in a monographic programme that a composer of Enescu's genius merits. With splendid individual and team performances from all the soloists and a generous running time, this is a five-star CD that should appeal to anyone with ears and a heart.
Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk
A five-star CD that should appeal to anyone with ears and a heart.