George Enescu Complete Works for Violin and Piano

Among his many talents, Romanian composer George Enescu was a violinist and a pianist — which makes the music on this 2-CD set so fascinating. The larger works, such as his three sonatas for violin and piano are the Enescu of the symphonic world.

Like his orchestral works, the three sonatas feature flowing melodies, harmonies and syncopation enriched by Slavic folk traditions. The sonatas were written during the first part of Enescu’s career, and all owe something to the late-romanticism of his youth (although that influence was somewhat removed by the time the third sonata was written in 1926). If you like Enescu’s orchestral output, you’ll find these worthy companion pieces.

But I found the shorter works really made this an outstanding collection. There are some characteristic pieces from the turn of the century that are suitably tuneful. for for me, I found the 1940 “Impressions d’Enfance” to be the most intersting work int the program.

Enescu sets scenes from his childhood in a series of brief vignettes that boil them down to their emotional essence. Some of the selections are surprisingly forward-looking, using the extreme range of the violin to maximum effect.
Violinist Remus Azoitei and pianist Eduard Stan perform well individually, and as a team. Hanssler’s recording quality was good, although sometimes the violin sounded a little pinched to me. Still, there was excellent balance between piano and violin, and the mostly dry acoustic helped me hear the subtle interplay between the instruments more clearly.

George Ensecu: Complete Works for Violin and Piano
Remus Azoitei, violin; Eduard Stan, piano
Hanssler Classic 98.035
2 CD Set

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