During World War I, together to his creative activity, Enescu gave concerts in Romania for the wounded in hospitals. After the war, he resumed his tours as a violinist and conductor in Switzerland, France, Holland, Spain, USA, Portugal, Canada etc.
The musician founded The Symphonic Orchestra in Iași and he conducted it between 1918 and 1920; he also conducted Philharmonic Society Orchestra (1898-1906), Public Instruction Ministry Orchestra (1906-1920), and of the Philharmonic Orchestra in Bucharest (1920-1946).
Enescu was often invited at the Peleș Castle by Queen Elisabeth of Romania (whose pen-name was Carmen Sylva) to give concerts and violin recitals. A series of songs in German is the result of the artistic collaboration between Enescu, the composer, and the Queen, the author.
His most beloved composition, the one he worked on for more than 10 years, is the opera Oedipe, Op. 23. Finished in 1931, it was dedicated to Maria Rosetti-Cantacuzino, the woman who became, in 1937, George Enescu’s wife.
During his work at the opera Oedip, George Enescu finished a series of symphonic and chamber pieces, the representative for the composer’s mature style: Symphony no. 2 in A major, Op. 17 (1914), Suite for orchestra no. 2 in C major, Op. 20 (1915), Symphony no. 3 in C major, Op. 21 (1918-1921), as well as String Quartet no. 1, in E flat, Op. 22 (1920), Sonata for piano in F sharp minor, no. 1, Op. 24 (1924), Sonata for piano and violin no. 3, in A minor, in Romanian folk character, Op. 25 (1926).
They were followed by Sonata for piano and cello in C major, Op. 26 no. 2, dedicated to the great cello player Pablo Casals, Pastoral Suite in D major, Op. 27 (1939), two unfinished symphonies (reconstituted and orchestrated by composer Pascal Bentoiu), String Quartet in G major, Op. 22 no. 2 (1951), Chamber Symphony for 12 solo instruments, Op. 33 (1954), and Vox Maris, Op. 31, symphonic poem for mixed choir with tenor and soprano solo and a great orchestra (1954).
The international acknowledgement and fame brought George Enescu numerous occasions to give music interpretation courses, stylistic, analysis and musical forms classes at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, École Instrumental “Yvonne Astruc” in Paris, Accademia Musicale Chigiana, in Siena (Italy), University of Illinois (USA), The Mannes Music School in New York, in Brighton and Bryanstone (UK) etc. He taught composition classes at the Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), and at the Conservatoire Américain in Fontainebleau (France).
Yehudi Menuhin, Christian Ferras, Ivry Gitlis, Ida Haendel and Arthur Grumiaux are just some of the most known violinists who improved their performing art under the guidance of George Enescu.
Among the distinctions that were given to him as a sign of appreciation and acknowledgement there were: the titles of Officer and Chevalier of French Legion of Honor (1913, 1936), Honorary Member (1916) and Active Member (1933) of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest, Correspondent Member of the Fine Arts Academy in Paris (1929), National Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome (1931), Institute of France in Paris (1936), and Arts and Sciences Academy in Prague (1937).
During the period that followed World War II, George Enescu leaves Romania and settles in Paris, where he died in 1955.
The memory of the great Romanian musician is revived by the International Festival that bears his name, as well as by symposiums taking place in Romania and abroad and, not in the least, by the specialized writings, the exhibitions, and the concerts organized by “George Enescu” National Museum in Bucharest.
George Enescu, the composer, the conductor, the piano, the violin player and the professor (1881 – 1955) goes down in history as one of the most remarkable men of culture of the 20th century; he played a prominent part as a music ambassador both in his country and worldwide. He also involved himself actively in promoting Romanian music, composers, conductors, and performers internationally.
Being a romantic and classical by instinct, I strived to keep, in all my works, a kind of balance that has its inner definite line.
(The Morning – a newspaper, in 1936)
An article by The National Museum “George Enescu”
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