The XXth edition of the “George Enescu Festival” has ended but I didn’t get over it. Even now I listen in my car to Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony – Pathetique on repeat. And considering the fact that I cannot listen to a concert in peace and I always find the urge to take my photo camera with me, let’s review some of the highlights of the Festival.
The first day of the Festival is the most important one. Not only the enthusiasts and fans are meeting again after 2 years but also a lot of personalities and VIPs are attending so they can be noticed participating in such a cultural display. They all put on the best suites and clothes but forget their manners. But that’s another thing that I’ve already covered in a different post.
So, being the most important day of the Festival it is indeed a difficult job for the opening orchestra. This year we were delighted to have been greeted by the Residentie Orkest from Hague.
Having a history of more than 100 years the Residentie Orkest did a tremendous job on opening the Festival. The chief conductor is Neeme Jarvi but this time the orchestra was conducted by Romanian conductor Christian Badea. Over the first two days of the Festival they have chosen a varied program including of course one of Enescu’s works. It is a tradition to have at least one of Enescu’s pieces in the opening concert. This year the Hague orchestra has decided to play the First Symphony in E flat Major op. 13. What other Enescu’s works could have been more appropriated for the opening? Here it’s how it sounds (under a different version)
I know that Enescu is not really understood by everybody and some people have ears only for Bach, Mozart or Beethoven. I’m sure there are others who’ll tell you that it’s just a Festival and not one of Romania’s greatest composers. I’m not going to tell you who he is. Anyone can search that information on the internet or by reading a book on the matter, but all I’m saying is that everybody should take time to acknowledge his music. Because in the end you’ll find probably one of the best composers that ever lived. And it is recognized by the foreign artists and orchestras more than it is in his own Country. Of course there are some works that make me cut my wrists but I also have discovered some composition that really left me breathless. Some of them during this years Festival.
Other than that, the Hague Orchestra has offered to the audience in the first day Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony, one of those works that cannot let anyone fall asleep in the concert hall.
In the second day the program turned out to be more interesting. We had a first time audition from the Romanian composer Dan Dediu which is Atlantis, then Grieg’s piano concert in A minor and in the end the Fantastic Symphony from Berlioz. Well, that in the end really broke my mood. I didn’t like it 🙂
But I was actually very impressed by Dediu‘s work Atlantis. I practically hate contemporary music and most of the contemporary composers. I stand the classics, I love the romantics but this? It’s pure pain for the ears. Most of the works are not even interesting and really I do not want to be a doctor in music so I can understand what the hell they’ve composed there. But not this one, not Atlantis. It’s one of the best contemporary compositions I’ve ever heard. It’s something that makes you raise your head in attention and stay like that throughout the performance. The name says everything about the work and I really hope that I will hear it again pretty soon.
After that it was time for a great legend to walk the stage. Pianist Dan Grigore came to perform Grieg’s concert. Except his artistic qualities he also has a somehow different reputation. That of a very strict person and conservative. When I was little it was said that during one of his concerts a person entered the concert hall while he was playing the piano. He sensed that and he stopped playing the piano immediately and walked off the stage not to return. Since then nobody is permitted to enter the concert hall after he has entered the stage. I don’t know if that is just an urban legend, but tell that to a kid and I can assure you that you will think twice before entering a concert hall after the concert has started. But I also know that during his Grieg performance this year, mobile phones ringtones could be heard several times. Not everybody seems to know about this urban legend.
But before I end this post let’s here how Grieg’s concert sounds like. Because it is awesome indeed! And I’m sure everybody knows it from different TV shows, movies and commercials. This is something that clearly is going to my classic playlist.