A treasure island of piano music — Spiegel Online
The Grand Piano label continues to uncover gems of the piano repertoire. — Fanfare

ENESCU, George (1881-1955)

COMPLETE WORKS FOR SOLO PIANO • 2


  • Josu de Solaun, piano

The four works in this second of three volumes devoted to Enescu’s piano music range over a period of more than 30 years. The earliest is the joyful, ebullient Suite ‘Des cloches sonores’, Op. 10 which covers a wide expressive range including use of the melancholy Romanian song, the doina. The Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 24 is a mercurial, puckish work, both spirited and contemplative, and the Pièce sur le nom de Fauré is a charming souvenir from one composer to another.

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Tracklist

 
Suite No. 2 in D Major, Op. 10 (1903) (00:25:00 )
1
I. Toccata: Majestueusement, mais pas trop lent (00:04:25)
2
II. Sarabande: Noblement (00:08:17)
3
III. Pavane: Lentement berce (00:06:26)
4
IV. Bourée: Vivement (00:06:04)
 
Prélude and Fugue (1903) (00:15:10 )
5
Prélude (00:08:26)
6
Fugue (00:05:32)
 
Piano Sonata No. 3 in D Major, Op. 24, No. 3 (1935) (00:17:00 )
7
I. Vivace con brio (00:06:11)
8
II. Andantino cantabile (00:10:44)
9
III. Allegro con spirito (00:08:50)
10
Pièce sur le nom de Fauré (1922) (00:02:17)
Total Time: 01:07:12

The Artist

Pianist Josu De Solaun is the First Prize winner of the XIII George Enescu International Piano Competition in Bucharest (previous winners include the legendary pianists Radu Lupu and Elisabeth Leonskaja) and the XV José Iturbi International Piano Competition. He has been invited to perform in distinguished concert series throughout the world, having made notable appearances in Bucharest (Romanian Athenaeum), St Petersburg (Mariinsky Theatre), Washington DC (Kennedy Center), New York (Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera), London (Southbank Centre), Paris (Salle Cortot), Mexico City (Sala Silvestre Revueltas), and all major cities of Spain.

www.josudesolaun.com

The Composer

The greatest of Romanian musicians, George Enescu was equally remarkable as a violinist and as a composer. He contributed significantly to the development of music in his own country, although much of his activity centred on Paris, where he was a pupil of Marsick and for composition of Fauré and Massenet. His violin pupils include Grumiaux, Ferras, Gitlis and Menuhin.

Despite early success, notably the two Romanian Rhapsodies [Naxos 8.550327], his work found real appreciation only among a small number of musicians and admirers. Prolific in his youth, during which he pursued studies first in Vienna then in Paris, the demands of performance and administration, not to mention upheaval in his personal life and in his beloved Romania, slowed his creativity so that he was able to complete only a handful of major compositions after the First World War. Yet the sheer quality of these works, which amalgamate his understanding of the classical masters with the achievement of the French and German romanticists, while transcending stereotypical notions of radical and conservative, has seen a gradual resurgence of interest over the past three decades.

Chamber music

Chamber music was a prominent feature of Enescu’s music from his earliest years. Along with his two cello sonatas [Naxos 8.570582], there are four extant violin sonatas, two string quartets [Naxos 8.554721], two piano quartets [the second on Naxos 8.557159], a piano quintet [Naxos 8.557159], piano trio, string octet, and wind decatet [Naxos 8.554173], as well as shorter pieces for various combinations.

Orchestral Music

Although much that he wrote may be of greater musical significance, Enescu's most popular composition is the Romanian Rhapsody No. 1.

Reviews

Melómano (Spain)

“…whether because of the unusual programme or the superb interpretations offered by Solaun, we are faced with a collection of music that needs to be listened to, an essential album that promises to delight even the most demanding music lover.” – Melómano (Spain)

Scherzo

“Full recommendation for these completely outstanding albums, thanks to the indisputable merit of a communicator who is so thoroughly engaged with the music he plays.” – Scherzo

BBC Music Magazine

“[…] Josu de Solaun makes a seriously persuasive case for the varied and absorbing piano music in these three discs. […] De Solaun never makes heavy weather of Enescu’s demanding writing, but lets expression lead at all times, no matter how intense the virtuosity. There’s a bouncy vitality to his playing, a warm and intimate approach to phrasing and beautifully mellow tone quality.” – BBC Music Magazine

“De Solaun is a wonderful pianist, especially in the colorful worlds of the Second Piano Suite. ” – American Record Guide

“The American-trained Spanish winner of both the Enescu and Iturbi International Piano Competitions, Josu De Solaun, will certainly make you shake your head in disbelief in the disc’s opening work, and throughout his technical brilliance is remarkable.” – David Denton

Ritmo

“Luckily, there are records, and pianists like Josu de Solaun and record labels like Grand Piano wanting to make known these treasures. Although I have not yet had the opportunity to hear the first volume of this integral, these two are of a level such that they deserve to be considered a reference in this repertoire.” – Ritmo