Hannu Lintu / Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra

George Enescu: Symphony No. 2; Chamber Symphony

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George Enescu is best remembered for his evergreen Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1, but most of his music has taken a long time to enter the western repertoire. Because the Symphony No. 2 in A major and the Chamber Symphony for 12 instruments have been treated to a handful of recordings, they are perhaps more familiar to listeners than most of his works, though limited availability still keeps them from a wider audience. That's why Hannu Lintu's recording of these works for Ondine is an important contribution to the catalog, because his clear and cogent readings with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra have the potential to establish these pieces outside Romania. Enescu's youthful energy, gift for memorable thems, and lush post-Romantic orchestration in the style of Richard Strauss make the Symphony No. 2 an engaging piece that listeners will immediately appreciate. The Chamber Symphony was Enescu's last composition, left incomplete because of a stroke, so the work was finished by Marcel Mihalovici. It is somewhat less ingratiating because of its serious mood and comparatively thin textures, but its lyrical lines and coherent development make it accessible. Ondine's recording of the symphony is spacious and vibrant, and all the details of the score are presented in gorgeous colors. However, the sound of the Chamber Symphony is dry and close to the instruments, making its sonorities sharp and austere.

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