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Thread: George Enescu

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Default George Enescu

    Let me just say this; while I see Bernstein's position as the great musician in general of America, that he isn't the greatest musical mind of the century; that place goes unreservedly, in my opinion, to George Enescu. He was equally proficient on the violin, piano, at the podium, composing, and teaching, as well as having one of the greatest musical memories ever (knowing virtually all of Bach's cantata's, Beethoven quartets, and just about everything else by heart). Of his violin pupils there are, of course, Yehudi Menuhin, Christian Ferras, and Ida Haendel to name but a few of the ones that made quite a name.

    As for his compositions, I can do little but say something similar to what I said on my old Ravel thread: listen to more than the Rhapsodies and all your dreams will come true. The Third symphony is really amazing, though, and I've heard about Oedipe (though I've never heard it itself, hopefully soon to be remedied) that it's one of the peaks of 20th-century music.

    Enescu deserves far, far more attention than he gets. Perhaps this century will be the one in which Enescu rises in the public view to what he needs to be: one of the greatest musicians the 20th century has ever had.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    I haven't heard much Enescu. The works which come readily to mind are Romanian Rhapsody 1 & 2. Ill have to check into this composer a little further.

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    For the past few days, I've been wanting to introduce myself to the music of this man. I don't know why; no one mentioned him or his works in a big way recently. And for the record, I haven't heard his Romanian Rhapsodies. (Okay, maybe once, but that doesn't really count.) I was thinking of starting with chamber works (again, for an unknown reason). Do you any favourites that you would recommend?
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    There are videos on Youtube of some of his work. None of the symphonic stuff, but there are the last two of his violin sonatas more or less complete on there.

    Here's Enescu himself with Dinu Lipatti playing his second violin sonata:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6El9MJxLSRw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UejKZ2o5tCM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02yFtSL39HQ

    Sherban Lupu playing the first movement of his third violin sonata:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jyraz...eature=related

    His Concertstücke for viola and piano:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOFB9z2j3aY

    And here's Yehudi Menuhin playing his third violin sonata in its entirety (with Hephzibah):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUPA3twoXC8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UccjyHhRCTQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axiRO...eature=related
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by opus67 View Post
    For the past few days, I've been wanting to introduce myself to the music of this man. I don't know why; no one mentioned him or his works in a big way recently. And for the record, I haven't heard his Romanian Rhapsodies. (Okay, maybe once, but that doesn't really count.) I was thinking of starting with chamber works (again, for an unknown reason). Do you any favourites that you would recommend?
    I can't really call them favorites if they are the only ones I've heard, but I do enjoy a disc from Nonesuch (79682-2) with Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica. It has the Enescu Octet, Op. 7. To my ears it is very much late romantic, not 20th century. The first half minute or so the entire string ensemble plays in unison a very slavic sounding almost recitative theme. That might seem boring, but it isn't. I think this version is played by a string orchestra rather than an octet. This gives it a lot of space.

    The disc also contains a Piano quintet (Op. 29) which is more modern and a little less to my liking, though I probably would find it very rewarding if I gave it all of my focus rather than using it as musical wallpaper as we are so guilty of these days.

    Here is a link to a better review, unfortunately with no samples:
    http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=5666
    Last edited by Weston; Dec-24-2008 at 20:52.

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    WV and Weston, thank you very much for the links and recommendations. It's getting a bit late here, and I'm in a Brucknerian hangover, so I'll make sure to listen to at least some of the works listed tomorrow (later today, that is).
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    Greatest musical mind of the 20th century? George Enescu?
    You can not be serious.

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atabey View Post
    Greatest musical mind of the 20th century? George Enescu?
    You can not be serious.
    And how can I not be serious?
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Well,not one paper i read about the topic rates him above Stravinsky or Prokofiev or Shostakovich and i humbly agree.If you have any reasons or any thesis' or papers that states why he is superior,please be my guest to list them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atabey View Post
    Well,not one paper i read about the topic rates him above Stravinsky or Prokofiev or Shostakovich and i humbly agree.If you have any reasons or any thesis' or papers that states why he is superior,please be my guest to list them.
    And since when must someone be rated superior to be superior? I'm not saying Enescu was strictly superior, I'm only meaning that he was one of the greatest and most grossly underrated musicians of the 20th century. If I said "the greatest" I humbly apologize, as once you get to this level there are no strict superlatives to be given, but I think Enescu is much greater than many people make him out to be.

    Bach was never in the public eye until Mendelssohn, yet Mozart and Beethoven worshiped him; Enescu is still not in the public eye, yet people like Casals and Menuhin next to worshiped him (they still worshiped Bach, granted, but that's almost a given really).
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    Bach was never in the public eye until Mendelssohn, yet Mozart and Beethoven worshiped him;
    I had thougt for Beethoven that was Handel. "He is the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel before his tomb." I find that surpising. It should have been Bach.

    None of that detracts from your point, however. We cannot know who history will deem the greatest when the dust settles. In the pop/rock world, I find Ian Anderson to be the greatest musical mind. Few would agree with me at present, especially the critics. I am confident time will prove them wrong.

    I don't know enough about Enescu to agree or disagree with your ranking. For you it is correct, and that is enough for me to learn more about him at least. That is why we are here.
    Last edited by Weston; Dec-25-2008 at 17:24. Reason: splitting not just hairs, but infinitives

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    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    And since when must someone be rated superior to be superior? I'm not saying Enescu was strictly superior, I'm only meaning that he was one of the greatest and most grossly underrated musicians of the 20th century. If I said "the greatest" I humbly apologize, as once you get to this level there are no strict superlatives to be given, but I think Enescu is much greater than many people make him out to be.

    Bach was never in the public eye until Mendelssohn, yet Mozart and Beethoven worshiped him; Enescu is still not in the public eye, yet people like Casals and Menuhin next to worshiped him (they still worshiped Bach, granted, but that's almost a given really).
    I was not talking about the public eye.What i meant by paper is academical papers,papers who are written by people with credentials.That is not like the public opinion.I agree that one can disagree but it actually says something.

    Stravinsky is generally regarded to be greatest musical mind of the century.I take Shostakovich over him any day but still when one says Stravinsky is more influential so superior i accept it.

    What my earlier post failed to emphasise was that a clear superlative can not be made and you emphasised it very well here.You say one of the greatest,now the thing is settled.I am off this thread because unfortunately i do not share your enthusiasm about him but he is respectworthy for sure.

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    Listening to the third violin sonata linked to above. I have not yet read about the work, yet, but there seem to be influences of music from parts of the world other than Europe. Or, perhaps, it's the Romanian music that I have not familiarised myself with.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    Quote Originally Posted by opus67 View Post
    Listening to the third violin sonata linked to above. I have not yet read about the work, yet, but there seem to be influences of music from parts of the world other than Europe. Or, perhaps, it's the Romanian music that I have not familiarised myself with.
    Yes, Enescu was influenced quite heavily by the music of his native Romania, yet he still had several Western influences, Bach at the fore (trends?) and also Brahms (whom he apparently met). These further Western influences, if I remember rightly, are more able to be found in his symphonic music.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by opus67 View Post
    Or, perhaps, it's the Romanian music that I have not familiarised myself with.
    It's Romanian. The title "dans le caractere populaire roumain" clarifies it. You may also enjoy his Impressions d'enfance Op. 28, for violin and piano. Two versions come to my mind: those by Kremer and Kavakos.


    and I've heard about Oedipe (though I've never heard it itself, hopefully soon to be remedied) that it's one of the peaks of 20th-century music.
    I have many versions of the work, including the 1955 Paris Radio recording (the first recording in the original french language), but I never gave the opera much attention.

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