Trio Brancusi

George Enesco: Piano Trios

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George Enescu (the "Enesco" spelling in the graphics for this release is French), not so long ago known only for the two Romanian Rhapsodies for orchestra, is a composer on the way up, with new performances of many of his works flowering both in performance and on recordings. This release by the all-female Trio Brancusi, consisting of two Romanians and one Armenian, contains almost unknown early works; the first two here receive their premiere recordings, and the Piano Trio in G minor, which survived only in a set of parts, had not been performed anywhere since 1898. It's a student work, with a musical language somewhere between Schubert and Schumann, but it is already notable for the sheer density of its textures and for its expert handling of all three instruments. The short Sérénade lointaine packs an effusion of melody into its five-plus minutes. The final Piano Trio in A minor is the only one of the three that is in Enescu's mature language, which fused elements of late-Romantic chromatic harmony with Romanian folk elements and a commitment to Classical forms. This work, composed in 1916, was also lost and not rediscovered until 1965. It offers what might have happened if Liszt had composed chamber music toward the end of his life. The Trio Brancusi's performances are spectacular; these are difficult, extended pieces, and their energy never once flags. Recommended for anyone who has had even a taste of Enescu.

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