Lucian Ban / John Hébert

Enesco Re-Imagined

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George Enescu was active and successful as a violinist, a pedagogue, a conductor, and of course a composer. He was heavily influenced by the folk idioms of his native Romania, as well as other emerging musical forms from around the world. As such, his highly diverse and extensive output frequently push boundaries of harmony, melody, and rhythm. It is perhaps fitting, then, that his own music should be expanded upon and performed outside of its traditional confines. This Sunnyside album (misspellingly) entitled Enesco Re-Imagined features reorchestrations of seven Enescu works -- ranging from the second movement of the unfinished Fourth Symphony to the Third Violin Sonata -- for jazz ensemble. Recorded at the 2009 Enescu International Festival, the performances here have a lot to offer most listeners. Even purists who aren't big fans of altering original compositions will notice that reorchestrators Lucian Ban and John Hébert do so in a highly respectful manner; perhaps most surprisingly, Enescu's music truly lends itself well to this type of performance, and jazz aficionados may not even suspect that these works were drawn from a "classical" composer. Ban, Hébert, and their ensemble play with a pleasingly laid-back, relaxed mood. Sunnyside's sound quality is clear, but not too close.

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