ENESCU Two sonatas for cello and piano Op. 26 Alexandre Dmitriev, Alexandre Paley. Saphir

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Enescu Two Sonatas For Cello Alexandre Dmitriev Alexandre Paley Saphir

GEORGES ENESCU

Two sonatas for cello and piano

Alexandre Dmitriev, cello

Alexandre Paley, piano

Cello Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 26, No. 1

1. Allegro molto moderato (11’39)

2. Allegretto scherzando (6’52)

3. Molto andante (10’15)

4. Presto (6’35)

Cello Sonata No. 2 in C major, Op. 26, No. 2

5. Allegro moderato ed amabile (10’42)

6. Allegro agitato, non troppo mosso (5’47)

7. Andantino cantabile, senza lentezza (7’43)

8. Final à la roumaine (7’24)

Born in 1881, Enescu was, with Mozart, one of the most remarkable child prodigies that the history of music has ever known. Taking up the violin at the age of four, he completed his first composition at five and was seven when he enrolled at the prestigious Vienna Conservatory. There, he learned about Wagner's music, which he would later conduct frequently, and met Brahms of whom, in a way, he sought to be his aesthetic heir at the time.

The first Sonata for cello and piano was thus composed in late 1898, reportedly in 12 days. Some hear the influences of his teachers or models (Brahms, Saint-Saens, Massenet, Fauré...) in it, and although that is true of the traditional four-movement forms and highly contrapuntal finale, like a veiled reference to the fugal finale of Brahms's First Cello Sonata, what strikes us straight off is rather the very personal nature of the discourse, playing with striking short cells, concise and abrupt, and their development in long, implacable, or sometimes lyrical, phrases that are close to the gift of infinite melody typical of Rachmaninov's genius.

The second Sonata, written in 1935, shows the same qualities within stranger, more shifting harmonic climates worthy of Scriabin. Essentially meditative but occasionally rising to a few climactic eruptions, the music seems tinted with dark forebodings of coming catastrophes. The 'Finale à la roumaine' goes back to the vein of Enescu's most famous works, the two Romanian Rhapsodies for orchestra, or the Third Violin Sonata, Op. 25. In this blend of fragments of dances and dreams, there is an incredible feeling of improvising freedom.

Saphir productions LVC1170

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