[ Warner Classics / CD ]
Release Date: Wednesday 5 September 2018
Bela Bartok and George Enescu were born in same Year - 1881, Bartok in the Austrian-Hungarian city of Nagyszentmiklos (today Romania), Enescu in the Moldovian town of Liveni-Botosani (today Romania). Both pieces on this recording are youth works of theirs - 1900 (Enescu Octet) and 1907 (Bartoks 1st violin concerto). Both works were neglected - Enescus Octet for nearly a decade due to the challenges of the piece (being premiered in 1909) , and Bartoks concerto was neglected by its dedicatee, the violinist Stefi Geyer (who was also his young love), and was published only after her death, in 1956 (being premiered in 1958). Bartok and Enescu both died in self-chosen exile - Bartok 1945 in New York, Enescu 1955 in Paris - yet both were respected and admired for being contributers to the development of their countries' culture and art, particularly as great «ambassadors» for the folk music.
"This is a marvellously played pair of works by the contemporaries Bartok and Enescu...Enescu's precocious Octet in C is a magnificent structure, realised here by wonderful soloists including Frang and the violist Lawrence Power" Sunday Times
"(In the Enescu) Frang plays lead violin in a section of four. Lawrence Power and Lily Francis are the violas, Nicolas Altstaedt and Jan-Erik Gustafsson the cellos. Enesco's underlying Romanian melodies are cousins to Bartok's ethnic tunes and the piece is predicated on tensions with one section often butting out another. It's a thrilling little argument and Frang leads it like a parliamentary Speaker with impartial authority. Unknown to me before this recording, the Enesco Octet deserves to be ranked with Schubert and Mendelssohn as a leader in its form. I am really grateful to Vilde Frang for bringing it to our attention. You should try it at home." Ludwig-van.com
"Absolutely stunning. Had the Heifetz-Piatigorsky team tackled Enescu's string Octet, I doubt that they would have topped this version by Vilde Frang and friends...What most absorbs me about this wonderful piece are its rich ingredients, an aspect that Frang and her collaborators appear to relish to the full." Gramophone editor's Choice Oct 2018
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 1, BB48a, Sz 36
Enescu: Octet in C major Op. 7