George Enescu: Complete Works for Piano Solo

Raluca Stirbat

(CD - Hänssler Classic #98060)

Review by Blair Sanderson

George Enescu's primary instrument was the violin, but he also wrote a substantial body of works for piano, including sonatas, suites, preludes, and other short character pieces. This three-disc Hänssler Classic set of the complete works for piano solo, performed by Romanian pianist Raluca Stirbat, offers valuable insights into Enescu's evolving methods and artistic development over a period of four decades, from the Suite No. 1 in G minor, Op. 3 (1897) to the Piano Sonata No. 3 in D major (1935). Enescu passed through several phases, starting with a fascination with Baroque forms in his teenage years, and progressing to an enthusiasm for Wagnerian chromaticism and Romanian folk music, which led to a more integrated mature style. Stirbat is an ardent proponent for Enescu's music, and her album is the first complete set of his piano music on CD. Recorded at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, the sound is crisp and detailed, though the resonance of the performing space is quite pronounced.

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