Despite being quite popular in his own time and having been lauded as a genius of composition by such musical luminaries as Yehudi Menuhin, Romanian composer George Enescu is easily one of the most underappreciated and underperformed composers of his generation. He was nothing short of a musical prodigy as a child, and although his early works take clear inspiration from his love of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, these imitative works quickly gave way to Enescu's mature and unique harmonic and melodic language. This Hanssler Classic album, Vol. 2 of the complete works for violin and piano, clearly illustrates this rapid maturation. The works on the program span a time from 1895 (at which point Enescu was all of 14 years old) to the highly refined and frequently performed Third Sonata of 1926 and culminating with the Andante malinconico of 1951. Performing these works are Enescu's compatriots, violinist Remus Azoitei and pianist Eduard Stan. The duo strikes a stunning balance between sheer Romanticism and harmonic clarity, clearly guiding listeners not only through each individual movement, but through the maturation of Enescu's works as a whole. Azoitei's tone is warm yet powerful and focused, with an impressive breadth of colors at his disposal. Stan is not only a sensitive accompanist (essential for the somewhat uneven composition of the first sonata), but a powerful soloist when taking on the melody. Hanssler's sound is intimate and clear.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Sonata for violin & piano No. 3 in A minor ("dans le caractere populaire roumain"), Op. 25|
|Sonata for violin & piano No. 1 in D major, Op. 2|