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This month’s featured composer: George Enescu (1881–1955)
The greatest of Romanian musicians, George Enescu was equally remarkable as a violinist and as a composer. He contributed significantly to the development of music in his own country, although much of his activity centred on Paris, where he was a pupil of Marsick and for composition of Fauré and Massenet. His violin pupils include Grumiaux, Ferras, Gitlis and Menuhin.
Despite early success, notably the two Romanian Rhapsodies, his work found real appreciation only among a small number of musicians and admirers. Prolific in his youth, during which he pursued studies first in Vienna then in Paris, the demands of performance and administration, not to mention upheaval in his personal life and in his beloved Romania, slowed his creativity so that he was able to complete only a handful of major compositions after the First World War. Yet the sheer quality of these works, which amalgamate his understanding of the classical masters with the achievement of the French and German romanticists, while transcending stereotypical notions of radical and conservative, has seen a gradual resurgence of interest over the past three decades.
Chamber music was a prominent feature of Enescu’s music from his earliest years. Along with his two cello sonatas, there are four extant violin sonatas, two string quartets, two piano quartets, a piano quintet, piano trio, string octet, and wind decatet [Naxos 8.554173], as well as shorter pieces for various combinations.
Although much that he wrote may be of greater musical significance, Enescu's most popular composition is the Romanian Rhapsody No. 1.
There are 139 works by George Enescu on the Naxos Works Database.
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