One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


16th-19th November


Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from
 

George ENESCU (1881-1955)
Symphony No. 4 in E minor (1934, orch. completed, Pascal Bentoiu, 1996) [35.36]
Nuages d'automne sur les forêts (c. 1935 unfinished) [8.30]
Chamber Symphony, Op. 33 (completed 1954, assisted by Marcel Mihalovici) [18.03]
NDR Radiophilharmonie/Peter Ruzicka
rec. 2013/14, Kleiner & Großer Sendesaal, NDR Hannover, Germany
CPO 777 966-2 [62.32]

The CPO label continues its survey of George Enescu symphonies and orchestral works with this release featuring the world première recording of the Symphony No. 4 completed by Pascal Bentoiu. The first orchestral release consisted of Symphony No. 5 and symphonic poem Isis in performing versions by Pascal Bentoiu. They were played by the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern under Peter Ruzicka (review). For this new release Ruzicka conducts the Hannover-based NDR Radiophilharmonie.

With his music known more by reputation than actual concert performances Rumanian-born Enescu, a contemporary of Bartók and Stravinsky, is one of the most unfairly neglected composers of the last century. The booklet notes for this release suggest that this relative disregard might be due to Enescu being seen outside Europe as a composer of “folkloric inspiration” rather than a symphonist. During his visits to the USA, Enescu made his reputation as a conductor. In Europe he was probably better known as a violin virtuoso. From my experience the Enescu works most likely to be encountered in performance are his pair of Romanian Rhapsodies with the first being the more popular of the two. In recital I have heard the String Octet two or three times also one of the two String Quartets over a decade ago. The Piano Quintet is occasionally performed.

Enescu’s Symphony No. 4 in E minor was written in 1934 and although fully sketched out he only managed to complete the orchestration of the first movement and a small section of the middle movement. Over sixty years later in 1996 fellow Rumanian composer Pascal Bentoiu completed the score’s orchestration. On occasion I was reminded of the sound-world of Szymanowski. Often squally and changeable in quality the relatively lengthy opening Allegro appassionato feels serious and determined, full of contrasting ideas and broad dynamics. Stylish and lighter-scored, the Un poco andante, marziale movement contains bursts of dance elements - all of a rather haunted quality. I was also struck by the expressive charm and positive feelings of the Finale which is Ibert-like and in the manner of Escales and Divertissement.

Composed around 1935, the fragment Nuages d'Automne sur les Forêts (Autumn Clouds over the Woods) forms part one of Enescu’s projected symphonic suite Voix de la Nature (Voice of Nature). This is a heady, atmospheric work of contrasting moods. It's evocative of changing nature scenes, of scudding clouds and unsettling storms. The fragment breaks off suddenly at point 8.30.

Enescu scored his Chamber Symphony, Op. 33 for twelve instruments: flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, violin, viola, cello, bass and piano. It was written in 1954 while Enescu was living in Paris. Some authors say Enescu was able to complete the score himself, however, others say he was left paralysed by a stroke and dictated some of the music to his friend the composer Marcel Mihalovici who acted as his amanuensis. Cast in four movements, the opening movement of the Chamber Symphony feels like a fusion of the pastoral and the melancholic, always stylish with reasonable appeal. The Allegretto has a bubbling, bright and optimistic character with brief dreamy episodes concluding with vivid splashes of colour. Plaintive trumpet calls dominate this short Adagio. The trumpet again enjoys prominence in the Finale before it is swallowed up by the other instruments.

Under Peter Ruzicka’s baton the NDR Radiophilharmonie plays splendidly throughout. Intelligently Ruzicka maintains a focused intensity and a firm control over the shifting rhythms in all their complexity. In the Chamber Symphony the ensemble plays with an engaging unity and with some impressive solo contributions. The clarity, presence and balance of the recording are as good as one has come to expect from this source. The music of Enescu continues to captivate here with performances that demonstrate its use of colour and rhythmic character.

Michael Cookson


 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger