BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 “Kreutzer;” SCHUMANN: Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 121; MENDELSSOHN: Andante from Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 – Georges Enesco, violin/ Celiny Chailley-Richez, piano – Opus Kura

by | Oct 14, 2005 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 “Kreutzer;”
SCHUMANN: Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 121; MENDELSSOHN: Andante
from Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 – Georges Enesco, violin/
Celiny Chailley-Richez, piano

Opus Kura OPK 7009  68:50 (Distrib. Albany) ****:

In a conversation with cellist Janos Starker in Atlanta, I asked him
whom he considered the greatest musicians. “If you ask me whom I love
to read as music, whose scores are to me the most satisfying, I say
Brahms. If you ask me who the most well-rounded of musicians was, I say
Enesco.” Remembered as both a fine, Roumanian composer and a pedagogue
whose influence was most keenly felt by violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin,
Georges Enesco (1881-1955) embodied the Romantic tradition in music,
which included more than a healthy veneration for the polyphony of J.S.
Bach. Most of Enesco’s vintage recordings as a violin soloist date from
1926-1929; so these inscriptions from 1952 sessions for Don Gabor’s
pioneer Remington label cannot stand as testaments to great technique.
But they do serve to demonstrate that superior musicianship can
transcend even faulty technical skills, as the late recordings of
pianist Alfred Cortot prove too often.

To listen to Enesco’s Kreutzer Sonata, it might be more appropriate to
read Tolstoy’s short novel about destructive passions than to scan your
Eulenberg Edition of Beethoven’s score. Both audiophiles and musical
purists will rail at the finger slips and periodic, screeching or
wobbling tone Enesco executes, but the musical sincerity and subtle
application of tempo rubato recall the eulogy accorded Cortot: even his
errors were those of a musical god. Often, the rough edges to the
interpretation appear deliberate, consonant with a tradition we find
likewise in the playing of Hubermann.  The Schumann D Minor
Sonata, often breathless, convulsive, and obsessive in its writing,
receives an edgy, passionate performance. There too we have faulty
technique and inconsistent intonation, a whining, plaintive
vocalization of the melodic line. But Enesco’s commitment to the score
permeates every page, and Chailley-Richez’ keyboard work is exemplary.
The Mendelssohn excerpt from the E Minor Concerto is a document unto
itself. Clearly taken from 78 rpm acetates, the performance has Enesco
in better form, with an outstandingly resonant flute tone and wonderful
application of vibrato and double-stopping. Rhythmically indulgent, the
rendition has an unnamed conductor and ensemble who seem sympathetic to
a thoroughly romantic sensibility. Noble and aristocratic on its own
terms, the Enesco experience soon justifies itself to even the musical
philistine.

–Gary Lemco
 

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