Saturday, May 27, 2017

George Enescu - Symphony No. 4; Chamber Symphony; Nuages d'Automne sur les Forêts (Peter Ruzicka)


Composer: George Enescu
  1. Symphony No. 4 in E minor (completed by P. Bentoiu): I. Allegro appassionato
  2. Symphony No. 4 in E minor (completed by P. Bentoiu): II. Un poco andante, marziale
  3. Symphony No. 4 in E minor (completed by P. Bentoiu): III. Allegro vivace - non troppo
  4. Voix de la nature: Nuages d'Automne sur les Forets
  5. Chamber Symphony in E major, Op. 33: I. Molto moderato, un poco maestoso
  6. Chamber Symphony in E major, Op. 33: II. Allegretto molto moderato
  7. Chamber Symphony in E major, Op. 33: III. Adagio
  8. Chamber Symphony in E major, Op. 33: IV. Allegro molto moderato

NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Peter Ruzicka, conductor

Date: 2015
Label: CPO



Peter Ruzicka follows his pioneering disc of Enescu’s Fifth Symphony and Isis (10/14) with the earlier of the Romanian’s unfinished symphonies, realised by composer and musicologist Pascal Bentoiu. Likewise fully drafted, albeit with only its first movement and a third of its successor orchestrated, the Fourth Symphony (1934) yet inhabits a vastly different emotional domain – its initial Allegro evincing a visceral anguish for the most part amply conveyed by this powerful if slightly too broad reading. With its martial undertones and haunted progress, the central Andante is one of Enescu’s most distinctive creations; after which the energetic final Allegro brings an emotional release that avoids any hint of triumphalism – not least in the stark defiance of its climactic bars. Ruzicka and his Hanover players assuredly have its measure, confirming the work’s place among the most vital symphonies of its era (Vaughan Williams’s Fourth makes for a telling comparison), though future recordings will hopefully uncover even more of the intricately heterophonic writing which is a hallmark of this music.

As to the couplings, the eight-minute fragment of Nuages d’automne sur les forêts is all that Enescu wrote (in the early 1930s) for seemingly the first part in a trilogy of which only Vox maris saw completion. There have been earlier recordings, but Ruzicka’s astute handling of its sombre expression and swirling textures is demonstrably superior. Nor is his account of the valedictory Chamber Symphony (1954) to be found wanting, even though Hannu Lintu’s recording captures more of the suffused radiance that makes it such an affecting swansong.

CPO’s sound is admirably detailed if lacking in the last degree of immediacy, and there are informative booklet-notes. Hopefully Bentoiu’s own music will be gaining greater exposure during the run-up to his 90th birthday in 2017; for now, this is a self-recommending release.

-- Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone

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.


Peter Ruzicka (born July 3, 1948 in Düsseldorf) is a German composer and conductor of classical music. He received his early musical training (piano, oboe and composition) at the Hamburg Conservatory. He studied composition with Hans Werner Henze and Hans Otte. Ruzicka's works were performed by leading international orchestras, ensembles and artists. As a conductor Peter Ruzicka has directed orchestras such as Royal Concertgebouw, Staatskapelle Dresden, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Bavarian Radio Symphony and Czech Philharmonic.


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  2. Excelente aporte. ¡Muchas gracias!

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