Georges Enesco

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Enesco, Georges

 

(also G. Enescu). Born Aug. 19, 1881, in the village of Liveni-Virnav (now Georges Enescu); died May 4, 1955, in Paris. Rumanian composer, violinist, conductor, pianist, teacher, and figure in the music world. Academician of the Rumanian Academy (1932).

In 1893, Enesco graduated from the Vienna Conservatory; in 1899 he graduated from the Paris Conservatory, where he had studied violin under M. P. J. Marsick and composition under J. Massenet and G. Fauré. Enesco, the head of the Rumanian school of composers in the 20th century, is a central figure in Rumanian music. In his works he achieved an organic synthesis of national folk music and European artistic traditions, principally romanticism and impressionism. Enesco’s compositions, in numerous genres, laid the foundation for modern Rumanian music.

Enesco’s most important works are the opera Oedipus (1931; staged 1936, Paris Opera), the pinnacle of Rumanian operatic music; the Symphony No. 3 (1918), scored for orchestra, organ, piano, and chorus; the Chamber Symphony (1954), scored for 12 instruments; the Suite No. 3 (Villageoise, 1938); the symphony poem scored for soloists, chorus, and orchestra (Call of the Sea, 1951); and the Sonata No. 3 for Piano and Violin (In the Rumanian Folk Manner, 1926). His two Rumanian rhapsodies (1901) are also popular.

One of the greatest violinists and conductors of his time, Enesco performed in Rumania and other European countries and in the USA; he was renowned throughout the world. He made concert tours in Russia in 1909 and 1917 and in the USSR in 1946. An excellent ensemble player, Enesco performed with many leading musicians. As a violinist he was noted for his inspired playing, profound insight into the composer’s intentions, individual and distinctive interpretations, and flawless technique. He was famous as an interpreter of J. S. Bach, W. A. Mozart, L. van Beethoven, J. Brahms, and the French composers, particularly, C. Franck; he also championed the works of Rumanian composers.

Enesco, who was at the center of Rumanian musical life of the first half of the 20th century, helped found the Rumanian Composers’ Society and served as its president from 1920 to 1948; he also founded the Enesco Prize, awarded annually from 1913 to 1946 for the best Rumanian composition. Enesco, a democrat and an antifascist, helped organize the Rumanian Society for Friendly Relations With the USSR in 1944 and served as chairman of its music section. Enesco’s memoirs were edited by B. Gavoty (Russian translation: Vospominaniia i biograficheskie materialy, 1966).

REFERENCES

Iampol’skii, I. Dzh. Enesku. Moscow, 1956.
Kotliarov, B. “Dzh. Enesku.” In the collection Voprosy muzykal’no-ispolnitel’skogo iskusstva, vol. 2. Moscow, 1958.
Kotliarov, B. Dzh. Enesku, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970.
Oistrakh, D. “Vstrechi s Enesku.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1961, no. 8.
Leites, R. “Dva ocherka ob Enesku.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1971, no. 8.
Leites, R. “Opernaia estetika Dzh. Enesku.” In the collection Iz isto-rii muzyki sotsiaiisticheskikh stran Evropy. Moscow, 1975.
Balan, G. George Enescu: Mesajul, estetica. Bucharest, 1962.
George Enescu. Bucharest, 1964. (Collection of documents and materials.)
George Enescu, Monografie, vols. 1–2. Bucharest, 1971.

E. R. LEITES

References in periodicals archive ?
George Enescu''s perfectly approachable Second Suite, like a free-fall bungee jump to a Bachian ground-plan, is the offering for the twentieth George Enescu Festival, honouring an early 20th century composer with a razorsharpness matching Mozart.
Richard Ryan put them ahead but George Enescu equalised for Corries with a header from Sam Hartrey's corner.
Before closing, though, I must mention Birmingham Conservatoire's series of chamber concerts marking the 50th anniversary of the death of George Enescu, Romania's greatest musician and equally renowned as a composer, conductor, violinist and teacher (one of his most illustrious pupils was Yehudi Menuhin).
The No 1 in A Minor was recorded in Paris in 1936 when he was in his late teens, and the Double Concerto four years earlier when he was joined by his teacher George Enescu.
Also represented in this season's programmes are two works by George Enescu, his rarely performed Symphony No 3 and the world premiere of his violin sonata No 3 arranged by Per Henrik Nordgren.
The veritable whirlwind George Enescu (or Georges Enesco in the Gallic sphere with which he is often identified) has not lacked for admirers in the Anglophone world--Gerald Abraham pronounced the operatic masterwork Oedipe to be "as subtly wrought" as Alban Berg's Wozzeck (in The Concise Oxford History of Music [London: Oxford University Press, 1979], 838)--and so it seems remarkable that the literature in English has for so long remained in a parlous state; Enescu cannot even be traced amidst the hues of Elaine Brody's Paris: The Musical Kaleidoscope 1870-1925 (New York: Braziller, 1987), though, similar to Maurice Ravel, he aroused considerable attention in Paris as a young student of Andre Gedalge and Gabriel Faure.
While the opening flourish, a Romanian Rhapsody by George Enescu (a chap who memorised Wagner's entire Ring Cycle) again underlined the point by parading a series of folk tunes, the concluding Rhapsodie espangnole by Maurice Ravel proved the exception.
George Enescu sealed the points for Corries, although Caerau pulled one back from an injury time penalty.
The bottom line, though, was that last Tuesday, the aforesaid Maddock's birthday, a sequence of events led to the delaying by several hours of the CBSO's chartered flight to Bucharest in Romania, where they were scheduled to give two concerts in the city's flagship George Enescu Musical Festival, held once every three years.
String quartets also appear on the Naxos label by the Rumanian composer/violinist George Enescu, who died in 1955 and was the teacher of Yehudi Menuhin.
Nichimura does not define "twentieth-century" in her introduction and while the majority of entrants were born after 1900, the inclusion of some composers with birth dates ranging from 1874 to the close of the nineteenth century (including Arnold Schoenberg, John Ireland, Igor Stravinsky, and Edgard Varese) causes one to wonder whether, say, George Enescu (born 1881) and Bohuslav Martinu (born 1890)--two gregarious peripatetics who had many opportunities to be interviewed--were erroneously omitted or whether there are no published interviews extant.