Pablo Casals called George Enescu (1881-1955) ‘the greatest musical phenomenon since Mozart’. For many people he is remembered as one of the greatest violin virtuosos of the 20th century. Whilst true, that would be to recognise only one facet of this artist. He considered himself primarily a composer (he also was a fine pianist and conductor), and though his most famous work is the early Romanian Rhapsody No.1, this colourfully nationalistic effort is a world away from the individual and sophisticated style of his chamber and orchestra music. These show Enescu to be every bit the equal of his contemporaries Bartok, Kodaly, Janácek, Martinu and Szymanowski.
Like his contemporaries, he was very aware of the heritage of the traditional music of his country, and his style is a highly personal blend of folk music with the chromatic language of Wagner and Faure’s sophistication and delicacy. Early in his career he played in orchestras conducted by Brahms, and studied in Paris with Massenet and Faure – Ravel was a fellow pupil.
The three violin sonatas date from 1897, 1899 and 1926.
- Recorded in 2009.
- Enescu is a 20th century master whose works deserve wider currency, and this CD is an ideal introduction to his chamber music.
- Detailed booklet essay included.