AN UNSUNG 20TH CENTURY MUSICAL GENIUS

Pablo Casals, Yehudi Menuhin, Vincent d’Indy, and Alfred Cortot, among others, spoke of him in glowing terms. Why is it then that critical opinion has often ignored George Enescu’s contribution to 20th century music? Or for that matter, how long has it been since your local symphony orchestra programmed either of the Romanian composer’s rhapsodies?

As I listened to a download of THE UNKNOWN ENESCU, VOLUME TWO it delighted me to discover both the peerless Romanian violinist Sherban Lupu in the fine company of conductor Ian Hobson at the helm of the Illinois-based Sinfonia da Camera, and the gifted collaborative pianist Viorela Ciucur.

And, of course, the greatest reward was to discover several works of George Enescu, beyond the familiar and ever welcome Romanian Rhapsody No. 1.

The recording features several rarely heard works, including the Impressions Roumaines for solo violin, and Dans le caractère populaire roumain, both works from the 1920’s, both inflected with the strong Roma flavor that characterized much of Enescu’s music.

The centerpiece of the recording is the Caprice Roumain for violin and orchestra. Enescu composed fragments of this work from 1925-1949, never completing it. Cornel Țăranu, finished it after the composer’s death.

Sherban Lupu delivers a fiercely dramatic, technically dazzling performance in the Toccata Classics recording of this collection of gems by an unsung 20th century musical genius.

Rafael de Acha © 2022

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