Friday, May 26, 2017

George Enescu - Suite No. 1; Symphony No. 1 (Cristian Mandeal)


Information

Composer: George Enescu
  1. Suite d'orchestre No. 1 in C, Op. 9: Prélude à l'unisson (Modérément)
  2. Suite d'orchestre No. 1 in C, Op. 9: Menuet lent (Mouvement du précédent)
  3. Suite d'orchestre No. 1 in C, Op. 9: Intermède (Gravement)
  4. Suite d'orchestre No. 1 in C, Op. 9: Finale (Vif)
  5. Intermède pour Instruments à cordes, Op. 12: Allègrement
  6. Intermède pour Instruments à cordes, Op. 12: Très lent
  7. Symphony No. 1 in E flat, Op. 13: I. Assez vif et rythmé
  8. Symphony No. 1 in E flat, Op. 13: II. Lent
  9. Symphony No. 1 in E flat, Op. 13: III. Vif et vigoureux

"George Enescu" Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra
Cristian Mandeal, conductor
Date: 1993-1995
Label: Arte Nova


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Review

The dignified romance of the First Suite with its massed strings elegantly dipping and bowing in spot-on unanimity makes an immediate impression. The Prelude a l'unisson first movement has the violins skirling like the solo in Sheherazade. The Lento reminds me of the ecstatic string writing of early and mid-period Tippett. Enescu delivers an enormous passionate voltage in his succulent massed string writing. Tippett must surely have been influenced by this work in the Corelli Fantasia Concertante. In the Intermède the harp glitters and sparks for a few moments but otherwise this is another string-dominated movement of some (earthbound) dignity. The darting life of the finale uses a theme gaining in confidence. This is big-boned string writing for a patently massive band of strings

The two movements of Intermède are an allegrement: all sunlit happy evenings on the veranda (Dvorák's serenade for strings) and a très lent which is both more reflective and more modernistic; uncertain in tonality, making a contrasting companion to the Barber Adagio.

The First Symphony has long been a favourite of mine with its commanding pugnacious drama well to the fore in this recording. Even so it does not have the dizzying heft of the Rozhdestvensky recording on an old Melodiya LP. The music flows like lava, eruptively eloquent, driven by turbulent elementals and rolling thunder. At the end of the first movement a sense of hard-won triumph flows through the string figures rushing up and down the scale. The second movement is a valse triste of a swooningly romantic Straussian beauty, bidding farewell in string quartet textures at the close. The finale is Brahmsian (St Anthony variations) with some references to Elgar - a storming movement. The drama is intensified by the contrasting silvery torment of strings at 8.23. The work ends in an atmosphere that will recall the triumph of Sibelius 2's finale.

-- Rob BarnettMusicWeb International

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George Enescu (19 August 1881 – 4 May 1955) was a Romanian composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, and teacher, regarded as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century and Romania's most important musician. He was the youngest student ever admitted to the Vienna Conservatory at the age of seven. Many of Enescu's works were influenced by Romanian folk music, his most popular compositions being the two Romanian Rhapsodies. He was also a noted violin teacher. Yehudi Menuhin, Christian Ferras, Ivry Gitlis, Arthur Grumiaux, Serge Blanc, Ida Haendel and Joan Field were among his pupils.

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Cristian Mandeal (born April 18, 1946 in Rupea, Romania) is a Romanian conductor and pianist. He studied conducting, piano, and composition at the Bucharest Music Academy, and later studied in Berlin with Karajan (1980) and with Celibidache in Munich (1990). Since 1991 Mandeal has served as permanent conductor of the "George Enescu" Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra. He has recorded full symphonies of Anton Bruckner, Johannes Brahms and especially the complete symphonic works of George Enescu.

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