George Enescu: His Life and Music

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ISBN: 978-0-907689-32-4
Release Date: 1990-10-15
Composer: George Enescu
Author: Noel Malcolm
Series: Composer Studies

Preface by Sir Yehudi Menuhin
Extent: 320 pages
Composition: Demy octavo ~ Illustrated ~ List of Works ~ List of Recordings ~ Index
(Out of print, but available for printing on demand)

The Romanian composer George Enescu (1881-1955) is one of the neglected giants of the twentieth century. Prodigiously gifted, he became best known in America as a conductor (where he was considered as a successor to Toscanini in New York) and in Europe as one of the greatest violinists of the century. But he was first and foremost a composer; and, tragically, his mature works – works of extraordinary emotional depth and intricate beauty – remain almost unknown outside Romania.

This, the first full-length study of Enescu and his music to be written in the West, tells the story of his life and development as a composer. All of Enescu’s published compositions, and many unpublished works, are discussed. The book in intended for the non-specialist reader as well as the musicologist. There is a detailed list of Enescu’s compositions and a list of all his known recordings as conductor, violinist and pianist.

Noel Malcolm is a historian, philosopher and journalist, and the leading English authority on Enescu. From 1981 to 1988 he was a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and is now Foreign Editor of The Spectator. A frequent visitor to Romania (and a trustee of the Mihai Eminescu Trust, which gave support to dissidents there during the Ceausescu years), he was the first Westerner to study Enescu’s manuscripts in the Enescu Museum in Bucharest after the museum had been closed down by the Communist government.

6 reviews for George Enescu: His Life and Music

  1. :

    “Malcolm has researched very thoroughly Enescu’s life and music and the result of many years’ work is presented here with clarity and insight. […] this is an indispensible “bible” for anyone interested in this neglected genius.” Amazon Customer Review

  2. :

    “Noel Malcolm […] was able to produce here a wonderful biography written to appeal to the non-specialist reader as well as to the musicologist […] once described by Pablo Casals as “the greatest musical phenomenon since Mozart”, Enescu was not only one of the greatest violinists of the century, but a distinguished pianist and conductor too, an enlightened teacher (Yehudi Menuhin was one of his pupils) […] My belief is that [it] is just a matter of time before his reputation would start to rival Bartok’s.” Amazon Customer Review

  3. :

    “Altogether an excellent piece of work” —Neue Zeitschrift für Musik

  4. :

    “The writing is straightforward, based on thorough research […]. Highly recommended.” —Choice

  5. :

    ‘This is a vastly interesting book, I cannot remember making so many notes or annotations to a book on a composer’s life and music for many years. […]

    An outstanding book and a rattling good read.’

    —Ian Lace, MusicWeb International

  6. :

    ‘Noel Malcolm paints a moving portrait of a remarkable man, drawing us into the circles in which he moved.’


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