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Friday, May 26, 2017

George Enescu - Suites Nos. 2 & 3; Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 (Cristian Mandeal)


Composer: George Enescu
  1. Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 in A major, Op. 11
  2. Suite No. 2 in C major, Op. 20: I. Ouverture
  3. Suite No. 2 in C major, Op. 20: II. Sarabande
  4. Suite No. 2 in C major, Op. 20: III. Gigue
  5. Suite No. 2 in C major, Op. 20: IV. Menuet grave
  6. Suite No. 2 in C major, Op. 20: V. Air
  7. Suite No. 2 in C major, Op. 20: VI. Bourrée
  8. Suite No. 3 in D major, Op. 27 "Villageoise": I. Renouveau champêtre
  9. Suite No. 3 in D major, Op. 27 "Villageoise": II. Gamin en plein air
  10. Suite No. 3 in D major, Op. 27 "Villageoise": III. La vieille maison de l’enfance, au soleil couchant. Pâtre. Oiseaux migrateurs et corbeaux. Cloches vespérales
  11. Suite No. 3 in D major, Op. 27 "Villageoise": IV. Rivière sous la lune
  12. Suite No. 3 in D major, Op. 27 "Villageoise": V. Danses rustiques

"George Enescu" Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra
Cristian Mandeal, conductor
Date: 1994-1996
Label: Arte Nova




George Enescu’s larger works likely will always be the province of connoisseurs. One of the greatest child prodigies in history, a natural genius on a par with Mozart and Mendelssohn, his mature style is dense, harmonically sophisticated, contrapuntally extravagant, and “notey”, even in the music of these two suites, with their avowedly popular cast. It’s perfectly understandable why only the two Romanian Rhapsodies have ever really caught on with the wider public, but at the same time it’s a terrible shame that the rest of Enescu’s lavish (but by no means pointlessly difficult) orchestral output should languish in obscurity.

The Second Suite adopts Baroque dance forms but fills them with folk-tinged material. The music’s simple basic materials combine with typically rich textures and general busy-ness to create tension on many levels, while the use of thematic recall creates an unusual degree of formal unity for a piece using suite-type construction. Similarly, and despite the seeming innocence of the Third Suite’s movement titles (“Children Outdoors”, “Rustic Dances”), the actual music is extremely refined and evocatively colored. It’s also very difficult to play, which is why it helps to have a conductor and orchestra on hand who know it well. Cristian Mandeal and his Bucharest players certainly qualify in this department, and of course they give the Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 an affectionate and authentic treatment. The engineering is very good as well–perhaps a touch opaque, but only a bit. [9/21/2006]

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

More reviews:


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.


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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