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Enesco, Georges

Georges Enesco was born in Liveni in 1881 and died in Paris in 1955. He studied in Vienna (where he met the old Brahms) and in Paris with Gabriel Fauré. Already a child prodigy, he then became a universal musician: an exceptional violinist, a pianist, a conductor, a teacher, and an organizer of musical life in Romania. His music is always ringing with a spatial and historical polyphony: his native Romania (a sort of Latin enclave in the midst of a Slavonic domain which included a Germanic minority) is situated at the edge of the Byzantine universe, between the Orient and a very varied Europe. In him rang a cultural polyphony that reconciled his Moldave land with Brahms’ Viennese style and Fauré’s poetry. Enesco is also surprising for his tenacity, his capacity of letting his most important works mature endlessly: he spent twenty five years on his opera Œdipe and three decades on his second String Quartet. Not to speak of the rigor with which he treated his music: he only recognized twenty three compositions, leaving aside a number of scores, both unachieved and complete. Even if Enesco particularly favoured the strings in solo, small or chamber formations, he also wrote symphonies, operas and “classical” forms. His melodies and “folklore” pieces are of a remarkably intimate character. Enesco’s language is classical and Fauré-like in nature. But it is also full of extremely ductile rhythms and various experiences in the fields of modality, chromatic scales, harmony (the third tone of his third Sonata) and declamation (Œdipe). Enesco’s musical and stylistic universality tends not towards a syncretism that could become superficial, but towards the sedimentation of European and Oriental cultural memories. Hence surges forth the full force of his proud beauty.