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Friday, January 14, 2011

The Greatest of Romanian Musicians

George Enescu, memorial plaque at his residenc...Image via Wikipedia

George Enescu (1881 - 1955)

The greatest of Romanian musicians, George Enescu was equally remarkable as a violinist and as a composer.

He contributed significantly to the development of music in his own country, although much of his activity centred on Paris, where he was a pupil of Marsick and for composition of Fauré and Massenet. His violin pupils include Grumiaux, Ferras, Gitlis and Menuhin.The Romanian composer George Enescu is one of the neglected giants of modern music.

Prodigiously gifted, George Enescu became best known in America as a conductor (where he was considered as a successor to Toscanini in New York) and in Europe as one of the greatest violinists of the century. But he was first and foremost a composer; and, tragically, his mature works - works of extraordinary emotional depth and intricate beauty - remain virtually unknown outside Romania.

George Enescu was said by Pablo Casals to be "the most amazing musician since Mozart", a statement which in many respects was true.

George Enescu achieved international renown as a composer, violinist, pianist, conductor and teacher and he displayed genius in each of these disciplines.

He possessed a phenomenal memory and knew the entire repertoire of classical and romantic music by heart, in addition to many works of the twentieth century, with which one of his generations might well have been though unsympathetic.

Apart from these superlative gifts, George Enescu was a man of humility; he was a profound teacher (counting Yehudi Menuhin and Dinu Lipatti amongst his pupils) who impressed every musician who met him.

George Enescu was born in 19 August 1881 in Liveni, Romania. So gifted was he that, aged only seven, he entered the Vienna Conservatoire as an accomplished violinist, determined to be a composer.

George Enescu never forgot his home, set amidst Carpathian peaks, and graduated with distinction from Conservatoire before his 11th birthday.

He had played on the first desk of an orchestra under Brahms in the latter's "C minor Symphony" and accompanying Brahms in his First Piano Concerto.

Brahms was a lifelong hero, as was Wagner (indicating George Enescu's broad sympathies) who became, as he sad, "part of my vascular system".

George Enescu was at the Vienna premiere of Massenet's "Werther" in 1892 and he entered the Paris Conservatoire, studying composition with Massenet.

When the boy was only 13, Massenet wrote to George Enescu's father, "Your son is an exceptional individual; his is the most interesting musical constitution there can be".

George Enescu displayed a command of large-scale form: by the age of 16 he had written four Study Symphonies and had also given the premiere of his Violin Concerto in Paris in 1886.

Amongst a distinguished orchestral output, George Enescu left eleven symphonic works: four Study Symphonies written between 1895-1898 and five mature symphonies (the Fourth and Fifth are unfinished) plus a Concert Symphony for cello and orchestra and a Chamber Symphony.

He often lived in Paris, travelling widely, but returned to Romania for several lengthy periods, remaining there throughout World War II.

After he died, in 4 May 1955, his hometown of Liveni was renamed George Enescu.

George Enescu was one of the most prodigiously gifted musicians of the 20th century: He not only distinguished himself as a violinist, conductor and composer, but was also an accomplished pianist, able cellist and a famous violin teacher.

M.S.Regina Elisaveta cu George Enescu şi Dimit...Image via Wikipedia 

Dinu Lipatti (19 March 1917  – 2 December 1950)

Lipatti was born in Bucharest , his father was a violinist and his mother a pianist. He studied at the Gheorghe Lazăr High School, while undergoing piano and composition studies with Mihail Jora for three years. Dinu Lipatti attended the Bucharest Conservatoire,studying under Florica Musicesco, who also taught him privately.
 The best pupils at the Conservatoire gave a concert at the Bucharest Opera,in 1930 and the 13-year old Lipatti received a huge ovation for his performance .
Two years later, he won prizes for his compositions: a Piano Sonatina, and a Sonatina for Violin and Piano and  a Grand Prize for his symphonic suite Les Tziganes.

Dinu LipattiImage via Wikipedia
 In 1933 Lipatti subsequently studied in Paris under Cortot, Nadia Boulanger (with whom he recorded some of Johannes Brahms's Waltzes Op. 39), Paul Dukas (composition) and Charles Munch (conducting). He gave his first concert, at the École Normale, on 20 May 1935. However, three days before the concert, Paul Dukas died; in memory of Dukas, Lipatti's first piece at his concert, and the piece he first publicly performed as an adult pianist, was J. S. Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.

The World War II intrerupt Lipatti's career. Although he continued to give concerts throughout Europe, including Nazi-occupied territories.In 1943 he fled his native country Romania and settled with his wife Madeleine Cantacuzene, also a concert pianist in Geneva, Switzerland. where he accepted the position as piano professor at the conservatory. In 1947 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. As a result, his public performances became considerably less frequent after the war.

Lipatti gave his final performance, which was recorded, on 16 September 1950 in Besancon, France. He died less than 3 months later, in Geneva. Lipatti is buried at the cemetery of Chene-Bourg .
To read more : Dinu Lipatti
Dinu Lipatti plays J.S. Bach - Cantata BWV 147 (1950)

Gheorghe Zamfir

Gheorghe Zamfir ,was born April 6, 1941 in Gaesti, is a Romanian pan flute musician, one of the most famous pan flautists in the world, if not the most.

Gheorghe Zamfir is known for playing an expanded version of the traditional Romanian-style pan flute  of 20 pipes to 22, 25, 28 and 30 pipes to increase its range.

He is also known as "The Master of the Pan Flute"

 Gheorghe Zamfir ,was born in 6th April  1941, at 14 years old, he want to be  piano accordion player, but he began his pan flute  lessons, with Fanica Luca.Later he will attend Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory. 

Gheorghe Zamfir, 10-th Crossroad Festival, Mai...

Gheorghe Zamfir was "discovered" by Swiss ethnomusicologist Marcel Cellier, who extensively researched Romanian folk music in the 1960s.

Brought for the first time with his pan flute to western European countries in 1972 by the composer Vladimir Cosma as soloist in Cosma's original music for a movie.Since then, he has been used as soloist in movie soundtracks by composers Francis Lai, Ennio Morricone and many others. Largely through television commercials where he was named as "Zamfir, Master of the pan Flute", he introduced the folk instrument to a modern audience . In the United States his commercials were widely seen on CNN in the 1980s.

Gheorghe Zamfir  will break in the English-speaking world, when  BBC religious television programme "The Light of Experience" adopted his recording of "Doina De Jale", a traditional Romanian funeral song, as its theme. Epic Records  release the tune as a single in 1976, and it climbed to number four on the UK charts.

One of his most notable contributions was to the soundtrack for the classic Australian film "Picnic at Hanging Rock". His music has also been heard on the soundtracks of many Hollywood movies. He was asked by Ennio Morricone to perform the pieces "Childhood Memories" and "Cockeye's Song" for the soundtrack of Sergio Leone's ," Once Upon A Time In America", 1984 film "The Karate Kid, " and his piece "The Lonely Shepherd", is featured in Quentin Tarantino's film "Kill Bill " . "The Lonely Shepherd" was written by James Last and first released in 1977 on his album "Memories from Russia".

Gheorghe Zamfir -The Lonely Shepherd

Gheorghe Zamfir - My heart will go on

Gheorghe Zamfir - Ciocarlia



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