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ClassicsOnline Home » ENESCU, G.: Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 / VILLA-LOBOS: O Canto do Capadocio
"both players project the music with admirable conviction"
Sonata, Op. 26, No. 1
canto da nossa terra (Aria)
canto do capadócio (Preludio)
canto do cisne negro
George Enescu occupies an unassailable
position in the history of Romanian music. Among the leading violinists of his
generation, he won a wide reputation also as a composer. although his
international fame has always rested rather on his achievement as a performer
and as an influential teacher, the principal musical influence in the early
life of the young Yehudi Menuhin. His pupils included Arthur Grumiaux. Yvry
Gitlis and Christian Ferras, and Menuhin has expressed his gratitude for the
musical breadth of Enescu¡¦s teaching and his amazing
technical and musical command, coupled with a phenomenal musical memory.
was born in 1881 in the Romanian town that now bears his name. He studied first
at the Vienna Conservatory and later with Marsick at the Paris Conservatoire,
where he concentrated at the same time on composition, under the guidance of
Massenet and Gabriel Fauré. His career largely centred on Paris, but at the
same time he busied himself with the development of music in Romania, where his
musical influence was profound and effective, both in the training of young
musicians and in the stimulus he offered to Romanian composers.
Cello Sonata, Opus 26 No. 1, was completed in 1898, during the period of
Enescu's study at the Paris Conservatoire. The composer, now seventeen, had
already written a considerable amount of music, including the four orchestral
works he was later to describe as "school" symphonies, a violin
concerto, two Romanian Suites and much else. The sonata has never found a place
in the standard cello and piano repertoire, although the composer, also an
accomplished pianist, played it with the cellist Pablo Casals in a recital in
1907. In four thematically related movements that follow to some extent the
example of César Franck, the sonata opens with a large-scale sonata-form movement.
There follows a scherzando movement, towards the end of which the cellist must
tune his bottom string down a whole tone, a practice for which Dvorák among
others offers a precedent. There is a dark-hued slow movement and a finale that
combines the contrapuntal with the lyrical.
position of Heitor Villa-lobos in Brazil is comparable in some respects to that
of Enescu in Romania. Villa-Lobos, however, was never a virtuoso performer, in
spite of his early experiences as a cellist, under his father's encouragement.
As a young man he spent much time exploring the varied forms of folk and
popular music of his native country. local success was followed by formative
years in Paris, where he might have stayed, had it not been for the
possibilities opened for him under the nationalist Vargas government in Brazil
from 1930. At home he was entrusted with the task of devising an appropriate
system of musical education, leading to the foundation of the Conservatory in
Rio in 1942, tasks that had a marked effect on his style of composition.
years in Paris saw the composition of the remarkable and varied series of
Chôros, their title taken from a popular form of street music in Rio de
Janeiro. Villa-Lobos followed this series of fourteen works with nine of
similar variety under the title Bachianas Brasileiras, written between 1929 and
1945 and suggested by the similarities he perceived between the music of J.S.
Bach and Brazilian folk-music. The Prelude O canto do capadócio (Song of the
Cheat) and the Aria O canto da nossa terra (Song of Our Land) were arranged for
cello and piano by the composer from the second of the Bachianas Brasileiras,
an orchestral work completed in Rio in 1930. Sonhar (To Dream) was written in
1914, the Berceuse in 1915 and O canto do cisne negro (Song of the Black Swan)
during the same period. These compositions formed part of the young composer's
concert repertoire during those years in which he was seeking to enhance his
reputation and career in Brazil. Divagacao (Divigation), which includes an
optional drum part, was written in 1946, at the start of the final epoch of the
life of Villa-Lobos, during which he devoted himself increasingly to
compositions for virtuoso performance.
American cellist Rebecca Rust was born in San Francisco and studied at the
University of New York under the former cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio, Bernard
Greenhouse and at the Cologne Musikhochschule with Paul Szabo, the cellist of
the Vegh Quartet. She took master courses in the United States of America and
in Switzerland with Mstislav Rostropovich and after her marriage to Friedrich
Edelmann, principal bassoonist of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, she
settled in Munich, her base for solo appearances in Europe and America. Her
husband's discovery of a forgotten early cello sonata written in 1898 by George
Enescu enabled her to introduce this work in recitals in Amsterdam, Washington,
New York and Munich with the pianist David Apter and has made possible the
first release of the sonata on compact disc.
pianist David Apter was born in New York and studied at the famous Juilliard
School, at Manhatten and at Yale University, as a pupil of teachers who
included Rosina Levhine, Nadia Boulanger and Paul Badura-Skoda. A concert tour
of South America led to a Fulbright Scholarship to Munich, where he met Rebecca
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ENESCU, G.: Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 / VILLA-LOB...