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ENESCU, George (1881-1955)


  • Josu de Solaun, piano

This third and final volume dedicated to Enescu’s piano works shows the unique blend of influences he acquired during his teenage years in Vienna and Paris. These start with his Brahms-like treatment of the piano as a symphonic instrument in the Scherzo and Ballade to the infusion of French late-Romanticism and Fauré in the Impromptus. The crowning achievement of these early compositions is the Suite dans le style ancien, Enescu’s first public solo piano opus, a stylised evocation of Bach seen through the prism of turn-of-the-century Paris.



Scherzo (1896) * (00:04:00)
Ballade for Piano (1894) * (00:07:49)
Prélude et Scherzo () (00:10:00 )
Prélude (00:04:10)
Scherzo (00:06:01)
Barcarolle in B-Flat Major (1897) (00:04:28)
La Fileuse in D Major (1897) (00:05:02)
Regrets in G-Flat Major (1898) (00:03:23)
Suite No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 3, "Dans le style ancien" (1897) (00:20:00 )
I. Prélude: Grave (00:03:29)
II. Fugue: Allegro moderato (00:04:02)
III. Adagio (00:08:23)
IV. Finale: Presto (00:03:50)
Impromptu in A-Flat Major (1898) (00:04:21)
Impromptu in C Major (1900) (00:06:10)
Modérément (1898) * (00:02:22)
* World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:07:30

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.


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.


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)


“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

“If you have read my previous reviews in this series, you will recall how I have enjoyed the playing of the American-trained Spanish pianist, Josu De Solaun. If Grand Piano is going to plead the cause for long neglected music, you need such dedicated advocates. Technically he is outstanding, and, with a modicum of personal freedom, he has breathed life into the music. A hugely successful series.” – David Denton


“Technical virtuosity, color, originality and, above all, a musicality in abundance...The technical mastery of Solaun, but also his familiarity and empathy with these pieces, that allow him to go beyond the notes to...infuse them with life...makes listening to this music is a real pleasure. That being said, a reference that no music lover should miss.” – Ritmo

“Everything in these three discs is of the same quality, eloquence and poetry, virtuosity and sense of suggestion, mastery of form and, above all, an intimate understanding of the wandering, free, complex language of rhythms and harmonies that is the genius of Enescu ....How can these keyboard works still not be inscribed in the pantheon of the piano of the early twentieth century, next to those of Busoni, Rachmaninov, opposite the opus of Albéniz, Debussy and Ravel. Mystery.” – ARTAMAG’