The Unknown Enescu, Volume One: Music for Violin

George Enescu (1881–1955) is one of the great composers, although the world has yet to realise the extent of his achievements. Enescu’s small published œuvre of 33 opus numbers belies the amount of music he produced: he composed prolifically but, as he was both a perfectionist and a busy performer, much of his music is still unknown. This CD reveals solo, chamber and concertante pieces featuring the violin, played by his fellow Romanian Sherban Lupu, who understands Enescu’s idiom like few other musicians.

Sherban Lupu, violin, conductor
Masumi Per Rostad, viola
Marin Cazacu, cello
Dmitry Kouzov, cello
Ian Hobson, piano
Ilinca Dumitrescu, piano
Samir Golescu, piano
Enescu Ensemble of the University of Illinois, ensemble

Listen To This Recording:

  1. Aubade (1899)
  2. Pastorale, Menuet triste et Nocturne (1900) [arr. Lupu]

  3. Pastorale
  4. Menuet triste
  5. Nocturne
  6. Sarabande (c. 1910–15)
  7. Sérénade lointaine (1903)
  8. Andantino malinconico (1951)
  9. Prelude and Gavotte (1898)

  10. Prelude
  11. Gavotte
  12. Airs dans le genre roumain (1926)

  13. I. Moderato (molto rubato)
  14. II. Allegro giusto
  15. III. Andante
  16. IV. Andante giocoso
  17. Légende (1891)
  18. Sérénade en sourdine (c. 1915–20)
  19. Fantaisie concertante (1932) [arr. Lupu]
  20. Nocturne ‘Villa d’Avrayen’ (1931–36)
  21. Hora Unirei (1917)
  22. Aria and Scherzino (1898–1908) [arr. Lupu]

  23. Aria
  24. Scherzino

5 reviews for The Unknown Enescu, Volume One: Music for Violin

  1. :

    ‘This demanding solo violin piece makes an important addition to Enescu’s canon, and its restoration is convincing.’

    —Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International

  2. :

    ‘Many of these works deserve to be better known, particularly he unaccompanied ones. The Sarabande is one such, a richly woven work with Bach in close attendance. The Airs dans le genre roumain is rooted in the folk-fiddling traditions of Romania, with Lupu superbly idiomatic. The recorded sound is clear and focused.’

    —Tim Homfray, The Strad

  3. :

    ‘The recording is, as one would expect from Toccata, of the highest quality: there is clarity, ‘air’ and almost a sense of friends just gathering and playing for the pleasure of it. The sound of the instruments is captured in such a way, as to create an immediate, concert-hall presence and chamber-music proximity – as if you are sitting in the front rows of the Wigmore Hall itself, although the recordings were made in Broadcasting House, Bucharest, and at the University of Illinois. And the standard of playing from Enescu’s dedicated exponents, the pianist, Ian Hobson, and cellists Marin Cazacu and Dmitry Kousov, to name but three, seems to be perfection itself. For those who know only the Romanian Rhapsodies, or who have never heard a note of Enescu’s music, the chamber works collected on this CD are a revelation – and a true delight for the romantic-of- heart and the serious-of-mind.’

    —Stuart Millsom, Quarterly Review

  4. :

    ‘Entitled ‘The Unknown Enescu’, the Toccata CD’s collection of shorter pieces ranges over 60 years and includes items that never reached a final format, these Sherban Lupu has arranged for this recording. Most of the pieces are quite slight but there are few that don’t have something destinctive about them, and several prove to be delightful finds… Throughout the disc Lupu’s playing is truly idiomatic, with something of Enescu’s own elegantly expressive manner.’

    —Duncan Druce, Gramophone

  5. :

    ‘I was glad to know that violinist Sherban Lupu is himself Romanian. Very often, I have found, the music of Eastern Europeans
    requires native players because the rhythms of such music often mirrors the speech patterns of those nations. […]

    Enescu being Enescu, he was almost incapable of writing anything that did not have feeling, and this piece [Sarabande, despite its modern bent, it is an almost tragic-sounding lament, one of his finest and most concise compositions. […]

    What a tour-de-force [Prelude and Gavotte] – and Lupu makes it sound easy! […]

    In addition to its [Fantaisie concertante] technical challenges, Lupu also imbues it with tremendous feeling. […]

    I cannot recommend this CD highly enough, to Enescu lovers, to fans of the violin, or to those who enjoy classical music informed by Eastern European and Gypsy folk music. […]. Five stars!’

    —Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare Magazine March/April 2013

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