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Briefly Noted: Enescu's 'Isis'

available at Amazon
Enescu, Isis / Symphony No. 5, M. Vlad, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern, NDR Chor, P. Ruzicka

(released on July 8, 2014)
cpo 777823-2 | 60'39"
We are avid fans of the music of George Enescu here at Ionarts. The Rumanian composer kept up a restless schedule of performing (he was a talented violinist), as well as being an educator and musicologist. At the time of his death, in Paris in 1955, he apparently left a large number of pieces incomplete. Some of these are still being brought to light, thanks to Pascal Bentoiu, a Romanian composer and also Enescu biographer, who has made performance versions of them according to Enescu's intentions. This new release from the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern and conductor Peter Ruzicka offers performances of two of them, beginning with the vocal symphonic poem Isis, which Bentoiu discovered only in 1996 in an archive in Bucharest. It is an atmospheric, languid, mostly static work for orchestra, wordless women's chorus, harp, and celesta, and Bentiou connects it, composed in 1923, to Enescu's mistress, eventually wife, Maruca Cantacuzini, whom Enescu called Isis. It is nicely paired with the fifth symphony, from 1941, which also uses women's chorus and a tenor soloist, setting the words of an elegiac poem by Mihai Eminescu, De-oi adormi curând. Both are fine discoveries, even if they are not 100% Enescu.

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