Saturday, May 27, 2017

George Enescu - Symphony No. 3; Concert Overture (Hannu Lintu)


Composer: George Enescu
  1. Concert Overture in A major "sur des thèmes dans le caractèe populaire roumain", Op. 32 
  2. Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 21: I. Moderato, un poco maestoso 
  3. Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 21: II. Vivace, ma non troppo 
  4. Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 21: III. Lento, ma non troppo 

Tampere Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra
Hannu Lintu, conductor

Date: 2013
Label: Ondine




Enescu’s Third Symphony is one of those “everything including the kitchen sink” late-romantic orchestral extravaganzas that makes even Scriabin sound tame. Scored for a huge orchestra, including a wordless chorus in the finale, it is extremely virtuosic and difficult to play but great fun to hear. It has only been performed successfully by orchestras that know the idiom well (as in Andreescu’s Olympia recording), or by well-trained ensembles ready to commit to the music 100 percent under the baton of a true pro, as here.

Hannu Lintu takes a bit more time over the score than does Andreescu, but he secures very impressive playing from the Tampere Philharmonic, and he’s extremely well recorded. In his hands Enescu’s debt to Tchaikovsky’s Pathéthique symphony in the second-movement march becomes especially evident, while the balance between orchestra and voices in the finale is extremely well judged and atmospheric, a tribute also to Ondine’s engineers. Make no mistake, this is a major work and essential listening for any fan of super-opulent, early 20th-century orchestral blockbusters.

Enescu’s cumbersomely titled Concert Overture on Themes in the Romanian Popular Character (it’s even longer in French) is a late work. It begins in an appropriately folksy style, then all hell breaks loose, but in a good way. More refined in scoring than the Third Symphony, the piece is still a riot of color and arresting harmonies, folk-influenced or not. It’s just as well played as the symphony (and even more of a rarity on disc). This is a terrific release, plain and simple.

-- 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.


Hannu Lintu (born 13 October 1967, Rauma, Finland) is a Finnish conductor. Lintu studied piano and cello at the Turku Conservatory and at the Sibelius Academy, and studied conducting with Atso Almila, Jorma Panula and Eri Klas. He was chief conductor of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra (1998-2001), Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra (2009-2013) and is currently chief conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (since 2013). Lintu has conducted commercial recordings for such labels as Claves, Dacapo, Danacord, Hyperion, Naxos, and Ondine.


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