Saturday, May 27, 2017

George Enescu - Symphony No. 5; Isis (Peter Ruzicka)


Composer: George Enescu
  1. Isis, symphonisches adagio (ed. P. Bentoiu 1999)
  2. Symphony No. 5 in D major, for tenor, chorus & orchestra (ed. P. Bentoiu 1995-96): I. Moderato molto
  3. Symphony No. 5 in D major, for tenor, chorus & orchestra (ed. P. Bentoiu 1995-96): II. Andantio moderat piacevole
  4. Symphony No. 5 in D major, for tenor, chorus & orchestra (ed. P. Bentoiu 1995-96): III. Vivace con fuoco
  5. Symphony No. 5 in D major, for tenor, chorus & orchestra (ed. P. Bentoiu 1995-96): IV. Andante grave

Marius Vlad, tenor (5)
NDR Chor
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern
Peter Ruzicka, conductor

Date: 2014
Label: CPO



Karol Szymanowski is the obvious point of stylistic reference at the start of Isis except that where Szymanowski would soon have had us warmly wrapped in a sequined world, Enescu keeps his shimmering spectres alive without shifting perspectives, at least not for a few minutes. What we hear isn’t an Urtext as such but a 1999 ‘performing version’ by Pascal Bentoiu. Aside from being the goddess of love, magic, the dead, the moon and the female principle in nature, Isis was Enescu’s name for his mistress, so you can understand the erotic nature of his voluptuous essay. Anyone familiar with his similarly ethereal Vox maris of 30 years later (also involving a chorus, plus a tenor soloist) will likely fall in love with what they hear.

Quite how Enescu himself would have refined it is difficult to say, and much the same question hovers above the 40-minute Fifth Symphony, a wartime work again rendered performable by Bentoiu. The opening Moderato molto promotes a degree of tonal and harmonic lushness that makes Korngold sound positively ascetic by comparison, though there are some sensitively penned instrumental solos. The second movement opens with a viola solo and recalls such folk-inspired masterpieces as Suite villageoise and Impressions d’enfance (I also hear traces of the first orchestral Suite). The restless Vivace third movement, much of which grows out of the first movement, emerges here as something less than the required con fuoco (though the rest of the performance is more or less up to scratch) and the transparent finale opens sombrely, before culminating in a lyrical tenor solo backed by a female chorus.

The two works together add up to a seductive hour’s worth, though whether they’ll prove as durable as the suites and the best of the chamber works is difficult to tell. I would certainly recommend sampling.

-- Rob Cowan, 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. And another! Thanks again!

  3. ¡Grandes rarezas! ¡Muchas gracias!

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