Georges Enesco

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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).


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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