The Unknown Enescu, Volume 1: Music for Violin
Click on cover for high-resolution image
£8.50 to Discovery Club members
(member discounts on MP3s also)

Price includes postage and packing

Comment on this album

The Unknown Enescu, Volume One: Music for Violin

Catalogue Number: TOCC0047
EAN: 5060113440471
Release Date: 13 August 2012
Duration: 80:21

Aubade
Pastorale, Menuet triste et Nocturne
Sarabande
Sérénade lointaine
Andantino malinconico
Prelude and Gavotte
Airs dans le genre roumain
Légende
Sérénade en sourdine
Fantaisie concertante
Nocturne ‘Villa d’Avrayen’
Hora Unirei
Aria and Scherzino

Sherban Lupu, violin, conductor
Masumi Per Rostad, viola
Marin Cazacu, cello
Dmitry Kouzov, cello
Ian Hobson, piano
Ilinca Dumitrescu, piano
Samir Golescu, piano
Enescu Ensemble of the University of Illinois, ensemble

George Enescu (1881–1955) is one of the great composers, although the world has yet to realise the extent of his achievements. Enescu’s small published œuvre of 33 opus numbers belies the amount of music he produced: he composed prolifically but, as he was both a perfectionist and a busy performer, much of his music is still unknown. This CD reveals solo, chamber and concertante pieces featuring the violin, played by his fellow Romanian Sherban Lupu, who understands Enescu’s idiom like few other musicians.

Booklet texts (PDF)

Track Listing, MP3 Downloads and Streaming Samples

Track No. Track Title / Details Duration Sample Add to Cart
DOWNLOAD COMPLETE ALBUM 80:21
1 Aubade (1899)

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, violin
Ian Hobson, piano
3:50 play
2-4 Pastorale, Menuet triste et Nocturne (1900)
[arr. Lupu]

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, conductor, arranger, violin
Enescu Ensemble of the University of Illinois, ensemble

(first recording in this version)
13:42
2 Pastorale 3:30 play
3 Menuet triste 4:29 play
4 Nocturne 5:43 play
5 Sarabande (c. 1910–15)

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, violin

(first recording)
4:47 play
6 Sérénade lointaine (1903)

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, violin
Marin Cazacu, cello
Ilinca Dumitrescu, piano
4:53 play
7 Andantino malinconico (1951)

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, violin
Ilinca Dumitrescu, piano
2:19 play
8-9 Prelude and Gavotte (1898)

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, violin
Dmitry Kouzov, cello
Ian Hobson, piano
Samir Golescu, piano

(first recording)
10:25
8 Prelude 4:32 play
9 Gavotte 5:53 play
10-13 Airs dans le genre roumain (1926)

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, violin

(first recording)
7:16
10 I. Moderato (molto rubato) 2:06 play
11 II. Allegro giusto 1:34 play
12 III. Andante 2:00 play
13 IV. Andante giocoso 1:36 play
14 Légende (1891)

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, violin
Ian Hobson, piano
4:25 play
15 Sérénade en sourdine (c. 1915–20)

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, violin
Dmitry Kouzov, cello
4:25 play
16 Fantaisie concertante (1932)
[arr. Lupu]

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, arranger, violin

(first recording)
11:08 play
17 Nocturne ‘Villa d’Avrayen’ (1931–36)

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, conductor, violin
Masumi Per Rostad, viola
Ian Hobson, piano

(first recording)
6:15 play
18 Hora Unirei (1917)

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, violin
Ian Hobson, piano
1:44 play
19-20 Aria and Scherzino (1898–1908)
[arr. Lupu]

George Enescu, composer
Sherban Lupu, conductor, arranger, violin
Enescu Ensemble of the University of Illinois, ensemble

(first recording in this version)
5:12
19 Aria 2:17 play
20 Scherzino 2:55 play

Artists

George Enescu, Bucharest 1943

George Enescu, composer

Sherban Lupu

Sherban Lupu, arranger, violin, conductor

Masumi Per Rostad

Masumi Per Rostad, viola

Marin Cazacu

Marin Cazacu, cello

Dmitry Kouzov

Dmitry Kouzov, cello

Ian Hobson

Ian Hobson, piano

Ilinca Dumitrescu

Ilinca Dumitrescu, piano

Samir Golescu

Samir Golescu, piano

Enescu Ensemble of the University of Illinois, ensemble

Reviews

Delightful finds

Entitled ‘The Unknown Enescu’, the Toccata CD’s collection of shorter pieces ranges over 60 years and includes items that never reached a final format, these Sherban Lupu has arranged for this recording. Most of the pieces are quite slight but there are few that don’t have something destinctive about them, and several prove to be delightful finds – the tiny but extremely beautiful Andantino Malinconico of 1951, the Airs dans le genre roumain for unaccompanied violin, maybe a study for the Third Sonata but also suggesting the start of Impressions d’enfance. Then there’s the deceptively simple Sérénade en sourdine for violin and cello, with its unexpectedly chromatic turns of phrase, the brilliant arrangement of the Hora Unirei and the Aria and Scherzino, like two movements of a miniature violin concerto. Throughout the disc Lupu’s playing is truly idiomatic, with something of Enescu’s own elegantly expressive manner.

Duncan Druce Gramophone January 2013

Five first recordings

[…] It may seem strange to devote a disc to Enescu’s works featuring the violin, since surely with such a small oeuvre (only 33 opus numbers) they’ve all been multiply recorded. In fact there are five first recordings here and two first recordings in the versions presented by Toccata.

[…] It’s clearly a labour of love for the Romanian fiddle player. The Aubade is a transcription of a work originally written for string trio, as well as other instrumentation; it’s heard here in the version for violin and piano and to it Lupu brings a subtly deployed tone, a distinctive sound often, here, without too much vibrato. […] Lupu turns on tonal succulence in the Old School Menuet triste, and the piano hints at the cimbalom in the Nocturne finale, where the fiddle evokes lassitude very effectively.

[…] The Sarabande fuses Bach with folklore, whilst the Serenade lointaine is pure Fauré (of whom Enescu had been a pupil). It’s a very mini-piano trio, in effect. It’s followed by the very late, uneasy 1951 lament called Andantino malinconico, which makes a stark contrast with that early carefree opus.

[…] The Airs dans le genre roumain (1926) for violin, heard in its first ever recording, offers a lexicon of folk fiddling with a raft of bent notes, harmonics, double-stopping and luscious glissandi.

[…] the Fantaisie concertante of 1932 … was written at around the same time as his opera Oedipe and inhabits something of the same complex sound world. This demanding solo violin piece makes an important addition to Enescu’s canon, and its restoration is convincing.

Jonathan Woolf MusicWeb International December 2012

Remarkable performances

[…] first recordings are scattered through the disc. Some of the pieces are juvenilia, much of it gentle and attractive, including a Légende for violin and piano written when he was nine, and displaying a cultivated taste for the Romantic and showy. From the other end of his life comes the short but emotionally complex Andantino malinconico of 1951. The artists here come and go, providing inter alia a delightful, delicate piano quintet for the Nocturne ‘Villa d’Avrayen’. […] Lupu […] a unifying presence who appears on every track in one guise or another, gives some remarkable performances. Many of these works deserve to be better known, particularly he unaccompanied ones. The Sarabande is one such, a richly woven work with Bach in close attendance. The Airs dans le genre roumain is rooted in the folk-fiddling traditions of Romania, with Lupu superbly idiomatic. The recorded sound is clear and focused.

Tim Homfray The Strad November 2012

Audiophile Best Find

The disc consists of chamber music of the purest, most natural lyrical quality one could imagine: undemonstrative, yet with a glow of passion in its innermost heart; direct, tranquil, unrushed, yet with a seriousness, too. This is music for quiet moments, and even when in obvious folk-mood, Enescu gives us not red-blooded riotousness, but sounds that seem wreathed in summer or autumnal light. Heart and spirit, and beautiful writing in every passage.

[…] Volume One of The Unknown Enescu contains 13 pieces (mainly from the late-19th and early-20th centuries) – works such as Légende, Airs dans le genre roumain, a Prélude and Gavotte, and a Fantasie concertainte. A two-minute Andantino malinconico dates from 1951 – the latest work in the collection, and one of the last works he produced. The disc begins with an Aubade from 1899 – a gentle, slow country-dance form which Enescu penned during a period spent in the Carpathian Mountains; and the accompanying programme notes (the brilliant scholarship of Malcolm MacDonald) identify the ‘Romanian folklore’, and the ‘veins of Impressionism’ and ‘Fauré-like aristocratic intricacy’ which shape and inform his style.

My personal favourite, though, is the Serenade Lointaine, of 1903, written for the wedding anniversary of the King and Queen of Romania – the Romanian Royal family bestowing great patronage on Enescu throughout his life. In its four-and-a-half minutes, the work brings the romantic hue of Tchaikovsky to mind, with touching, heartfelt (almost melancholy) melodies and phrases, yet with the classical economy and facility of J. S. Bach – a composer venerated by the Romanian.

The recording is, as one would expect from Toccata, of the highest quality: there is clarity, ‘air’ and almost a sense of friends just gathering and playing for the pleasure of it. The sound of the instruments is captured in such a way, as to create an immediate, concert-hall presence and chamber-music proximity – as if you are sitting in the front rows of the Wigmore Hall itself, although the recordings were made in Broadcasting House, Bucharest, and at the University of Illinois. And the standard of playing from Enescu’s dedicated exponents, the pianist, Ian Hobson, and cellists Marin Cazacu and Dmitry Kousov, to name but three, seems to be perfection itself. For those who know only the Romanian Rhapsodies, or who have never heard a note of Enescu’s music, the chamber works collected on this CD are a revelation – and a true delight for the romantic-of- heart and the serious-of-mind.

Stuart Millsom Quarterly Review August 2012

Comments

0 comments – add a comment