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Enescu: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 / Schubert Ensemble

Enescu / Schubert Ensemble
Release Date: 06/28/2011 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10672  
Composer:  George Enescu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schubert Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Enescu’s First Piano Quartet (1909) shows his profound stylistic debt to Fauré; the Second (1944), one of his last works, is dedicated to the French master’s memory. But both works are essentially Enescian in their ceaseless exploration of basic thematic shapes and atmospheric evocations of his Romanian homeland. Neither sounds anything like the early Romanian Rhapsodies, whose ubiquitous success Enescu came to hate.

Time stands still in these extraordinary works. The rapturous nocturne that is the First Quartet’s slow movement is one of his most exquisite inspirations, while the first two movements of the Second Quartet seem miraculously independent of any barline, with phrases and lines of wonderful plasticity
Read more drifting in and out as if on the drawing and exhalation of the players’ breathing. In his notes, Martin Anderson asserts: ‘Enescu is the greatest great composer whose greatness is not generally recognized.’ But it’s precisely the rarified and genuinely unusual nature of his inspiration that may have contributed to that state of affairs.

The Schubert Ensemble have clearly lived with this music for a long time – and love it. Subtlety, restraint, perfect unanimity within the ebb and flow of the inbuilt rubato – they have it all, plus the sudden blazes of energy required in both Quartets’ finales. The limpidity and crystalline touch of William Howard’s pianism impresses throughout. These works are magnificently performed here. An important release.

-- Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Piano and Strings no 1 by George Enescu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schubert Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Romania 
Quartet for Piano and Strings no 2 by George Enescu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schubert Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943-1944; Romania 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Stunning!! February 27, 2012 By bess holloway (Boulder, CO) See All My Reviews "Both the music and the ensemble were unknown to me, so I went by the ArkivMusic review. I have never been so well rewarded for taking a chance! This would be a fine gift for the music lover in your life who thinks they've "heard it all". Not yet, they haven't." Report Abuse
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