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Tribute to George Enescu

George Enescu Philharmonic
04/28/2005 -  
Richard Wagner : Siegfried Idyll
George Enescu / Theodor Grigoriu: Sept chansons de Clément
Marot, op. 15

Gabriel Fauré: Requiem, op. 48

Leontina Vaduva (soprano), Stefan Ignat (baritone), Chorus and
Orchestra of the Bucharest “George Enescu” Philharmonic,
Cristian Mandeal (conductor)

A bridge between love and death, a trace uniting two basic human emotions, this is the path pursued by maestro Cristian Mandeal in designing the program of the concert which took place in the week before the Orthodox Easter, close in time to the commemoration of the death of the most important Romanian composer George Enescu.

From the viewpoint of the purity of love, as well as from a serene deliverance to passing away, Wagner – Enescu - Fauré is a triplet of composers which may serve at its very best the suggested idea, by means of Siegfried Idyll, Sept chansons de Clément Marot and the Requiem. All these representing areas in which conductor Cristian Mandeal feels “at home”: Wagnerian romanticism, French delicacy and, last but not least, Enescu’s works, constantly served with devotion and good stylistic approach. A concert of multiple significances, paying tribute to George Enescu but also to one of his teachers, Gabriel Fauré.

I have always admired Cristian Mandeal’s intimate liaison with the pages of the bard of Bayreuth, I remember a memorable interpretation of the Funeral March at Siegfried’s death, 20 years ago at the Romanian Athenaeum, when conducting the Cluj - Napoca Philharmonic. The Wagnerian effluvia are in his bloodstream and here, with his large typical gestures, Mandeal offered a smooth display of the Siegfried Idyll, enlightened by an erotic dreamlike mystery. The transparent lyric-charged sound induced deep reflectiveness in this rendering of an opus performed for the first time by Wagner himself on Christmas day of 1870, coinciding with Cosima’s birthday anniversary, to whom this work was dedicated. An accolade: Richard Wagner - Cristian Mandeal, a binomial which should extend over musical drama scores. Why not?

Leontina Vaduva’s comeback to the main Romanian concert hall was long awaited, as well as her interpretation of Enescu’s Sept chansons de Clément Marot, in the orchestral arrangement of Theodor Grigoriu. This extremely sensitive artist sang with elegant phrasing, sincerely addressed and with excellent pronounciation in French. Her exposition, although pigmented with subtleties, comes now from the realistic area of communicating the message of sounds and words. It is perhaps what Mandeal’s baton intended, inducing to the orchestra dense, sometimes dominant sonorities (Changeons propos, c’est trop chanté d’amours).

The renowned soprano has also performed, in the company of Stefan Ignat, the shorter sized soloist bars of Fauré’s Requiem. Leontina Vaduva’s limpidity of tone again generated atmosphere (Pie Jesu) but the baritone’s replication – whose voice has anyway a privileged colour – was somewhat outside the French style, his singing accusing some stiffness (Offertorium) and lack of legato (Libera me).

The chorus prepared by Iosif Ion Prunner honoured as requested the pages generously offered by Fauré, with a refined vision, where the diversity of nuances was impressive (pianissimi in section Introit et Kyrie as well as sounds quietly accessed, naration of deep sorrow and crescendi fluently dimensioned in Agnus Dei or Libera me, counterbalanced by accents of high severity - Hosanna from Sanctus). A chemistry in which the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra, the conductor Cristian Mandeal and the organist Nicolae Licaret brought their substantial contribution in illuminating from the inside this work about which the composer used to say as a credo: "That's how I see death: as a joyful deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness beyond the grave, rather than a painful experience."

Costin Popa



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