Enescu: Symphonie concertante - Symphony No. 1

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Enescu: Symphonie concertante - Symphony No. 1 53:56 $24.98
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# Track Title Length Format Sample Rate Price
1 Symphonie concertante in B Minor, Op. 8: Assez lent - 10:36 192/24 Album only
2 Symphonie concertante in B Minor, Op. 8: Assez lent -(2) 04:50 192/24 Album only
3 Symphonie concertante in B Minor, Op. 8: Majestueux 08:29 192/24 Album only
4 Symphony No. 1 in E-Flat Major, Op. 13: I. Assez vif et rythme 10:58 192/24 Album only
5 Symphony No. 1 in E-Flat Major, Op. 13: II. Lent 10:50 192/24 Album only
6 Symphony No. 1 in E-Flat Major, Op. 13: III. Vif et vigoureux 08:13 192/24 Album only

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George Enescu (1881-1955): Symphonie concertante, Op. 8; Symphony No. 1 in E-Flat Major, Op. 13

Truls Mørk, cello
Hannu Lintu
, conductor
Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra 

Considering how accomplished a musician Enescu was, it is surprising that the Symphonie Concertante in B flat minor for cello and orchestra was the only extensive work featuring a solo instrument that he ever completed. This is particularly remarkable because the cello ranked third among his own instruments, and writing pieces for violin or piano would have allowed him to extend his own performing repertoire. He did write smaller-scale solo pieces for the violin (Ballade, 1895) and the piano (Fantaisie, 1896), and he did plan to write a number of concertante works at various points in his career, but he never finished any of them.

The Symphonie Concertante is in a single movement but has a complex structure. It opens with a section that has an almost processional steady gait. The cello introduces and develops the thematic material for several minutes before the orchestra enters the dialogue. The thematic material grows and develops further until the music goes into a fleeting, scherzo-like section. The slower opening tempo returns in a freely conceived recapitulation leading through a ponderous culmination to a section marked ‘Majestueux’. This launches a determined and positive drive in which the soloist, as in a concerto finale, progresses with brilliance to the final climax.

Enescu wrote his Symphony No. 1, Op. 13 in 1905, and it was premiered in Paris in the following year. It represents the next step in the steady, determined growth of the young composer. Written with a confident hand, it still betrays some of its influences, but these are now better integrated. In fact, it is only in name that this work is the first of its kind, as Enescu had written four unperformed ‘school symphonies’ between 1895 and 1898. In all, he wrote an astonishing amount of music in the 1890s.

With healthy self-confidence, Enescu wrote his first official symphony in the heroic key of E flat major, the key of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. Although the work only has three movements, it is music on a grand scale and with grand gestures, where influences from Brahms, Wagner, Richard Strauss and French composers fuse together in a late Romantic sublimation. As in his two subsequent symphonies, Enescu orchestrated the work with broad, full strokes, bringing the music to thundering climaxes; but there is a more sensitive side to it too.