I was doing some graphic design work on Zazzle while listening to Enescu’s Piano Trio in G minor live from the Romanian Athenaeum, and I thought I should write this short post about the festival, letting all of you know that the videos go live on the festival’s website and remain available there for an extra 12 hours. After spending four wonderful evenings in the concert halls of the Athenaeum and the Palace Hall, I have the great pleasure of enjoying more concerts while I do my computer work, including some amazing pieces of the 21st century. The festival is on until September 26, so you too have a chance to listen to up to eighteen more performances until Sunday.
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As you may know, the George Enescu Festival is a large classical music festival held in honor of Romania’s greatest composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, and professor. The festival started in 1958, soon after Enescu’s death three years previously, with a memorable edition that included Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor with Yehudi Menuhin and David Oistrakh (a piece that happens to be one of my best loved of all classical music). Here’s a recording on YouTube with Mehunin and Oistrakh from the same year. Enescu was Menuhin’s mentor; the two had an amazing connection.
If you wish to learn more about Menuhin’s interesting life, here’s the book Yehudi Menuhin: A Life (Northeastern UP, 2000) (affiliate link), from Humphrey Burton, which I’m about to order soon.
Back to the festival, the 1958 edition also staged Enescu’s opera Œdipe, which I found fascinating some two decades ago, when I saw it performed in Bucharest as part of the festival. Here’s an EMI recording of Œdipe (affiliate link) with José van Dam, Barbara Hendricks, Brigitte Fassbaender, Marjana Lipovsek et al. from 1989 with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte Carlo directed by Lawrence Foster.
Here’s a page with more about the Enescu festival, from its beginnings until 2013, on Wikipedia. Since 2001 the festival has been taking place every two years, and these days the Enescu competition is held in alternate years. With Covid messing things up, the 2020 competition was put on this year.
To the joys of classical music, and a healthier, happier life,