George Enescu (1881-1955)
String Octet in C major, Op. 7(for 4 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos)
Composed in 1900, when Enescu [Enesco] was around 19 years old
Dedicated to André Gédalge
40 minutes (approximately)
5 recordings, 13 videos
From Edition Silvertrust:
Georges Enescu's Octet for strings was hailed as an amazing accomplishment for a young man of nineteen, and indeed it is. This epic work combines the musical language of the late romantic era with the emerging new language of polyphony. Enescu wrote that he set out to create a vast work and he admitted it was quite hard for him to achieve what he had set out to do, "No engineer putting his first suspension bridge across a river can have agonized more than I did as I gradually filled my manuscript paper with notes." But the final result was truly astounding.
Georges Enescu (1881-1955) was a child prodigy on the violin and also the piano. He entered the Vienna Conservatory at age seven graduating at age 13. The next year he continued his studies at the Paris Conservatory. He became a violin virtuoso and famous teacher of the violin, but also devoted himself to composition. He is remembered today mostly for his two Romanian Rhapsodies for Orchestra, but he wrote in virtually every genre and produced a considerable amount of fine chamber music.
The Octet, completed in 1900, was published four years later. The expansive main theme to the opening movement Très modéré, gives a clear indication that composer intends a work on the grand scale. The second subject is presented in canonic form. Enescu combines sophisticated melody with a touch of Romanian folk music. The explosive second movement, as the title clearly suggests, Très fougueux, is a massive fugue. The beautiful slow movement, Lentement, which follows is in the form of a mysterious nocturne. The finale, Movt de Valse bien rhthmé. is an extraordinary and wild waltz which combines many of the themes of the earlier movements into a stunning synthesis.
A powerful work of genius. If it were to be performed in concert, it would undoubtedly bring down the house. Though it is not a particularly easy work, it is by no means beyond the range of good amateur players, who will certainly thrill to the opportunity of playing it. Never easy to obtain, we are pleased to make this incredible octet available.
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