GEORGE ENESCU: CONCERTPIECE (1906)

This is one of the gems of the viola-piano chamber repertoires. It is no uncommon fact that this genre of viola-piano music contains some of the most musically substantial, melancholic, and emotionally convincing repertoires, more so than the violin-piano literature which is sometimes seen as fleeting and overly brilliant for brilliance sake.

Concert piece (1906) was a commission by Théophile Laforge, the violist who held the first position of Professor of Viola at the Conservatoire de Paris. Interestingly, this is Enescu's only solo viola work, and is one that made its way into the 'standard viola repertoire'.

This work has been featured in the lists of: audition repertoire, required course study material, competition repertoire. Hence we see that this is a work to be paid attention to if you play the viola! Other than these 'prospects', it is a work that contains many different facets that are valuable for the developing violist to master, considering also that it was a piece designed to test the abilities of the students at the conservatoire. It can be said that it is a 'ritual' as part of a violist to learn this work as part of his/her performing repertory.

  1. Technical difficulty: florid running passages and decorations, lyrical double-stopping, a variety pf sound colours and the general depth of musical expression.
  2. Balance: the violist has to be able to balance this display of technical brilliance with musicality and expression.

Despite all the 'economical' and 'commercial' value of Concert Piece, It is still a sonic and emotional treat for the listener. Filled with expressive melodies painted from the luscious and melancholic sound of the viola, compelled with driving and escalating emotional tendencies. Not to be left out too is that this is a work that is equally demanding on the pianist, who assumes the role of collaborator, not accompanist. Much of the emotional soundscape is being painted by the pianist, whose role lies in supporting and sometimes even leading the charge in this work.


REFERENCES

  • Laine, Frédéric (1998). "La classe d'alto de Théophile Laforge au Conservatoire", Bulletin 1998 de l'Association des Amis de l'Alto
  • Roth, Henry (1997). Violin Virtuosos: From Paganini to the 21st Century. Los Angeles, CA: California Classics Books. ISBN 1-879395-15-0
  • Malcolm, Noel. 1990. George Enescu: His Life and Music, with a preface by Sir Yehudi Menuhin. London: Toccata Press. ISBN 0-907689-32-9
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