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Chamber Symphony (Enescu)

George Enescu

The Chamber Symphony, Op. 33, in E major, is a symphony written for twelve instruments, and the last work finished by the Romanian composer George Enescu.

History [ edit ]

The earliest ideas eventually taken up in the Chamber Symphony date back to a sketch for a septet for winds and piano, dating from around the time of the Octet for strings, Op. 7 (1900). The score is dated May 1954, a year before his death but less than two months before Enescu suffered the cerebral stroke in July that made all work impossible. The final markings to the score had to be dictated to Marcel Mihalovici (Malcolm 1990, 251, 253). The score is dedicated to the Association of Chamber Music Concerts of Paris and its permanent conductor Fernand Oubradous (Benoiu 2010, 492).

The work was performed for the first time in a concert commemorating the first anniversary of the composer's death, at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest. Constantin Silvestri conducted the performance and, when it received only a tepid response from the audience, announced, "This work is Enescu's masterpiece; it is more difficult to grasp than others, because of its very advanced language. Therefore, we shall perform it once more in its entirety." After this second hearing, it was a great success (Bentoiu 2010, 476).

Instrumentation [ edit ]

The work is scored for twelve instruments: flute, oboe, cor anglais, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, violin, viola, cello, contrabass, and piano.

Analysis [ edit ]

The Chamber Symphony transcends the cyclical principles of Enescu's earlier works, in that the entire composition is constructed as a single sonata-allegro overarching entity, cast in four movements (Bentoiu 2010, 477):

  1. Molto moderato, un poco maestoso: a double exposition, leading to the combined thematic synthesis that will be developed in the following movements
  2. Allegretto molto moderato: a combined scherzo and theme and variations
  3. Adagio: unites the materials worked out in the previous movement into a vast melodic line
  4. Allegro molto moderato: a first section continues working out the thematic synthesis, and a second provides the recapitulation of the first-movement material.

References [ edit ]

  • Bentoiu, Pascal. 2010. Masterworks of George Enescu: A Detailed Analysis, translated by Lory Wallfisch. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-7665-1 (cloth) ISBN 978-0-8108-7690-3 (ebook).
  • Malcolm, Noel. 1990. George Enescu: His Life and Music, with a preface by Sir Yehudi Menuhin. London: Toccata Press. ISBN 0-907689-32-9.

Further reading [ edit ]

  • Firca, Clemansa, and Ștefan Niculescu. 1971. "Esențializări (1945–1955)". In George Enescu: Monografie, 2 vols., edited by Mircea Voicana, 1017–1138. Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România.
  • Lupu, Olguţa. 2011. "Aspects of the Motifs Becoming in the Chamber Symphony op. 33". In George Enescu: International Musicology Symposium 2009, edited by Liliana Bîrnat,Carmen Maria Cârneci, and Mariana Petrescu, 362–77. Bucharest: Editura Muzicală.
  • Moisescu, Titus. 1978. "Preluari tematice: Simfonia de camera pentru 12 instrumente, op. 33 de George Enescu". Muzica 28, no. 2 (February): 18–28.
  • Terényi, Ede. 1972. "Lumea armonică a 'simfoniei de cameră' de George Enescu". (Simpozionul de muzicologie de la Conservatorul Gheorghe Dima, edited by Dan Voiculescu.) Lucrări de muzicologie 8–9:155–71.
  • Timaru, Valentin. 1981. "Analiza Simfoniei de Camera, a lui George Enescu". In Centenarul George Enescu 1881–1981, edited by Speranța Rădulescu, 227–45. Bucharest: Editura Muzicală.

External links [ edit ]

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