BBC Music Magazine - - Choral & Song Reviews -

Strigoii; Pas­torale fan­taisie

Rod­ica Vica (so­prano), Tiberius Simu (tenor), Bog­dan Baciu (bari­tone),

Alin Anca (nar­ra­tor);

Ber­lin Ra­dio Sym­phony Orches­tra/ Gabriel Bebe elea

Capric­cio C5346 53:15 mins

A re­mark­able num­ber of pre­vi­ously un­known works by Ge­orge Enescu have resur­faced in re­cent years. The lat­est is the ora­to­rio Strigoii (Ghosts) set­ting a text by Ro­ma­nian poet Mi­hai Emi­nescu and com­posed in the mid­dle of World War I. Enescu ap­pears to have com­pleted a vo­cal pi­ano ar­range­ment of the work in a re­mark­ably quick pe­riod of time. Yet ow­ing to the chaotic po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, the man­u­script was ap­par­ently mis­laid, and the com­poser never got around to re­vis­ing or or­ches­trat­ing Strigoii.

Thanks to Ro­ma­nian mu­si­cians Cor­nel ranu and Sabin Pautza who have re­con­structed Strigoii and clothed it in suit­ably id­iomatic in­stru­men­ta­tion, as well as to the fine vo­cal and or­ches­tral con­tri­bu­tions on this record­ing, we can now ap­pre­ci­ate a fas­ci­nat­ing score whose most strik­ing fea­ture is the ex­ten­sive declam­a­tory speak­ing role for the nar­ra­tor. Stylis­ti­cally, Enescu’s writ­ing seems closely re­lated to De­bussy, Bartók and even Schoen­berg, fre­quently in­hab­it­ing a half-way house be­tween the hyper-ro­man­ti­cism of his Third Sym­phony and the more aus­tere ar­chaic id­iom of his op­er­atic master­piece, Oedipe.

An­other in­trigu­ing dis­cov­ery is the early un­pub­lished Pas­torale fan­taisie for small orches­tra, first heard in Paris in 1899. Given the rel­a­tively pos­i­tive re­sponse to its first per­for­mance, it is un­clear why the com­poser should have over­looked such an at­trac­tive and imag­i­na­tive work, and it is played here with great warmth and sen­si­tiv­ity. Erik Levi PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★★

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