CelloSonata, Op. 26, No. 1
Ocanto da nossa terra (Aria)
Ocanto do capadócio (Preludio)
Ocanto do cisne negro
George Enescu occupies an unassailableposition in the history of Romanian music. Among the leading violinists of hisgeneration, he won a wide reputation also as a composer. although hisinternational fame has always rested rather on his achievement as a performerand as an influential teacher, the principal musical influence in the earlylife of the young Yehudi Menuhin. His pupils included Arthur Grumiaux. YvryGitlis and Christian Ferras, and Menuhin has expressed his gratitude for themusical breadth of Enescu?é?í?é?ªs teaching and his amazingtechnical and musical command, coupled with a phenomenal musical memory.
Enescuwas born in 1881 in the Romanian town that now bears his name. He studied firstat the Vienna Conservatory and later with Marsick at the Paris Conservatoire,where he concentrated at the same time on composition, under the guidance ofMassenet and Gabriel Fauré. His career largely centred on Paris, but at thesame time he busied himself with the development of music in Romania, where hismusical influence was profound and effective, both in the training of youngmusicians and in the stimulus he offered to Romanian composers.
TheCello Sonata, Opus 26 No. 1, was completed in 1898, during the period ofEnescu's study at the Paris Conservatoire. The composer, now seventeen, hadalready written a considerable amount of music, including the four orchestralworks he was later to describe as "school" symphonies, a violinconcerto, two Romanian Suites and much else. The sonata has never found a placein the standard cello and piano repertoire, although the composer, also anaccomplished pianist, played it with the cellist Pablo Casals in a recital in1907. In four thematically related movements that follow to some extent theexample of César Franck, the sonata opens with a large-scale sonata-form movement.
There follows a scherzando movement, towards the end of which the cellist musttune his bottom string down a whole tone, a practice for which Dvorák amongothers offers a precedent. There is a dark-hued slow movement and a finale thatcombines the contrapuntal with the lyrical.
Theposition of Heitor Villa-lobos in Brazil is comparable in some respects to thatof Enescu in Romania. Villa-Lobos, however, was never a virtuoso performer, inspite of his early experiences as a cellist, under his father's encouragement.
As a young man he spent much time exploring the varied forms of folk andpopular music of his native country. local success was followed by formativeyears in Paris, where he might have stayed, had it not been for thepossibilities opened for him under the nationalist Vargas government in Brazilfrom 1930. At home he was entrusted with the task of devising an appropriatesystem of musical education, leading to the foundation of the Conservatory inRio in 1942, tasks that had a marked effect on his style of composition.
Theyears in Paris saw the composition of the remarkable and varied series ofChôros, their title taken from a popular form of street music in Rio deJaneiro. Villa-Lobos followed this series of fourteen works with nine ofsimilar variety under the title Bachianas Brasileiras, written between 1929 and1945 and suggested by the similarities he perceived between the music of J.S.
Bach and Brazilian folk-music. The Prelude O canto do capadócio (Song of theCheat) and the Aria O canto da nossa terra (Song of Our Land) were arranged forcello and piano by the composer from the second of the Bachianas Brasileiras,an orchestral work completed in Rio in 1930. Sonhar (To Dream) was written in1914, the Berceuse in 1915 and O canto do cisne negro (Song of the Black Swan)during the same period. These compositions formed part of the young composer'sconcert repertoire during those years in which he was seeking to enhance hisreputation and career in Brazil. Divagacao (Divigation), which includes anoptional drum part, was written in 1946, at the start of the final epoch of thelife of Villa-Lobos, during which he devoted himself increasingly tocompositions for virtuoso performance.
TheAmerican cellist Rebecca Rust was born in San Francisco and studied at theUniversity of New York under the former cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio, BernardGreenhouse and at the Cologne Musikhochschule with Paul Szabo, the cellist ofthe Vegh Quartet. She took master courses in the United States of America andin Switzerland with Mstislav Rostropovich and after her marriage to FriedrichEdelmann, principal bassoonist of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, shesettled in Munich, her base for solo appearances in Europe and America. Herhusband's discovery of a forgotten early cello sonata written in 1898 by GeorgeEnescu enabled her to introduce this work in recitals in Amsterdam, Washington,New York and Munich with the pianist David Apter and has made possible thefirst release of the sonata on compact disc.
Thepianist David Apter was born in New York and studied at the famous JuilliardSchool, at Manhatten and at Yale University, as a pupil of teachers whoincluded Rosina Levhine, Nadia Boulanger and Paul Badura-Skoda. A concert tourof South America led to a Fulbright Scholarship to Munich, where he met RebeccaRust.