Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2 [25:12]
Septet in E flat Major, Op. 20 [35:47]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet [10:40]
George Enescu (violin)
Georges de Lausnay (piano)
Ulysse Delecluse (clarinet); Georges Alès (violin); Pierre Jamet (harp); Fernand Oubradous (bassoon); Gaston Marchesini (cello); Jean Devémy (horn); Gaston Crunelle (flute); Henri Moreau (double bass)
rec. live, 17 June 1948, (Beethoven Op.30, No.2); 1 March 1951 (Beethoven Op. 20, Ravel); Salle de l’ancien Conservatoire, Paris. Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française
20 interviews with George Enescu in French
MELOCLASSIC MC1022 [73:54 + MP3 CD: 330:00]
Yehudi Menuhin, Enescu’s most famous pupil, said of his teacher that he was ‘the greatest musician and the most formative influence’ he had ever experienced. Composer, violinist, teacher, conductor and pianist, Enescu’s musical gifts seemed to excel in every field. What we have on record of Romania's most important musician, as a performer, is meagre to say the least. There are examples of his conducting, his piano playing, but it is as a violinist that most will want to hear him. His most famous recording, the Bach Solo Sonatas and Partitas, set down in New York in 1949 — though Noel Malcolm, his biographer, says 1950 — for Continental records (CLP 104/6), came too late. He was in his late sixties, frail and ill and technically past his best. There are a couple of releases on Biddulph (nla), a Dante release of his collaborations with his godson Dinu Lipatti (HPC091-92), again deleted. He also made a recording in June 1932 of the Bach Double Concerto with his pupil Yehudi Menuhin, available in an excellent Ward Marston transfer on Naxos Historical (8.110965).
In 1910, Enescu performed all the Beethoven Violin Sonatas for the first time with Edouard Risler in Paris. Sadly, he only recorded the Kreutzer commercially, in the early 1950s for Remington. This, together with Schumann’s Second Violin Sonata, has been issued on Opus Kura (OPK 7009); the pianist in both works is Céliny Chailley-Richez. This ‘First CD Release’ from Meloclassic of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2 is an important addition to the violinist’s discography. It is a live radio recording from 1948, in which Enescu is partnered by Georges de Lausnay (1882-1964), who was a professor of piano at the Paris Conservatoire.
The violin sonata is preceded by an announcement in French and, unfortunately, the first four bars are missing. Enescu is on good form technically throughout, though that is not to say that there are not occasionally some intonational lapses. The first movement has a certain nobility, is energised and rhythmically adept. A wistful quality permeates the slow movement, the violinist being fervent in his expression. A sprightly Scherzo follows, and the sonata is capped off with a fairly brisk finale, restless and uneasy in character. Despite the sonic limitations of the source material I, for one, appreciate the release of this valuable document, of historical significance, which will certainly appeal to Enescu devotees.
The two remaining items are again culled from Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française, but from a concert given three years later in 1951. Apart from the bassoonist Fernand Oubradous, who also carved out a career as a conductor, the other members of the ensemble are all names new to me. The Septet displays some refined playing and the violinist, Georges Alès, has a rich, vibrant tone, though he does tend to dominate at times. After the Adagio introduction the ensemble bring rhythmic vitality and freshness to the Allegro con brio first movement. There’s a credible warmth and intimacy in the Adagio cantabile. Each of the performers takes his turn in the spotlight in the appealingly characterized variation movement, and the radiant finale truly portrays the joy of their music-making. The Ravel Introduction and Allegro is given an idiomatic airing and secures a convincing interpretation. The harpist, Pierre Jamet, shows his mettle in some assured playing. Announcements in French between the items are retained. The sound quality of this later 1951 broadcast is an improvement on the earlier one.
CD 2 contains 20 interviews with George Enescu in French, over five hours’ worth, all in remarkably good sound. Although I had seen some silent footage of the man, I had never heard him speak. The interviews were carried out over a six month period in 1952 with Bernard Gavoty, the French organist, musicologist and music critic. The interview where he discusses his pupil Menuhin includes some musical excerpts.
Michael Waiblinger has provided an excellent biographical account of the musician in his annotations, and quotes Enescu at the beginning: ‘I have only one language: music. I try to speak it’. This aptly sums the man up.
MP3 CD - Entretiens avec George Enescu - 20 interviews with George Enescu in French
This is a data CD with files recorded in MP3 format. It can be played by a PC or modern CD device.
Présentateur et producteur: Bernard Gavoty
25 January 1952 ∙ 1er ∙ naissance en Roumanie, l’enfance [22:14]
1 February 1952 ∙ 2ème ∙ les débuts [13:39]
8 February 1952 ∙ 3ème ∙ premiers essais de composition [16:41]
15 February 1952 ∙ 4ème ∙ Vienne, fantômes et vivants [16:23]
28 February 1952 ∙ 5ème ∙ deuxième apprentissage a Vienne [17:16]
29 February 1952 ∙ 6ème ∙ au conservatoire de Paris en 1895 [20:17]
7 March 1952 ∙ 7ème ∙ les classes au Conservatoire de Paris [14:51]
14 March 1952 ∙ 8ème ∙ le double talent, compositeur et violoniste [16:16]
21 March 1952 ∙ 9ème ∙ heurs et malheurs de sa vie de compositeur [21:27]
28 March 1952 ∙ 10ème ∙ son ennemi intime, le violon [13:48]
4 April 1952 ∙ 11ème ∙ sur l’estrade [13:01]
18 April 1952 ∙ 12ème ∙ ses Dieux [19:03]
2 May 1952 ∙ 13ème ∙ les deux guerres [15:29]
25 April 1952 ∙ 14ème ∙ il rève à Oedipe [12:19]
2 May 1952 ∙ 15ème ∙ à propos de l’Opéra Oedipe [17:09]
9 May 1952 ∙ 16ème ∙ Yehudi Menuhin [14:06]
16 May 1952 ∙ 17ème ∙ de l’estrade au papier règlé [14:52]
23 May 1952 ∙ 18ème ∙ comment il compose [14:38]
30 May 1952 ∙ 19ème entretien ∙ les grands hommes dans sa carrière [16:42]
6 June 1952 ∙ 20ème entretien ∙ Enesco intime [19:15]