Notes and Editorial Reviews
George Enescu's larger works likely will always be the province of connoisseurs. One of the greatest child prodigies in history, a natural genius on a par with Mozart and Mendelssohn, his mature style is dense, harmonically sophisticated, contrapuntally extravagant, and "notey", even in the music of these two suites, with their avowedly popular cast. It's perfectly understandable why only the two Romanian Rhapsodies have ever really caught on with the wider public, but at the same time it's a terrible shame that the rest of Enescu's lavish (but by no means pointlessly difficult) orchestral output should languish in obscurity.
The Second Suite adopts Baroque dance forms but fills them with folk-tinged
material. The music's simple basic materials combine with typically rich textures and general busy-ness to create tension on many levels, while the use of thematic recall creates an unusual degree of formal unity for a piece using suite-type construction. Similarly, and despite the seeming innocence of the Third Suite's movement titles ("Children Outdoors", "Rustic Dances"), the actual music is extremely refined and evocatively colored. It's also very difficult to play, which is why it helps to have a conductor and orchestra on hand who know it well. Cristian Mandeal and his Bucharest players certainly qualify in this department, and of course they give the Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 an affectionate and authentic treatment. The engineering is very good as well--perhaps a touch opaque, but only a bit.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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