Live music by George Enescu, Tudor Dumitrescu and Horaţiu Rădulescu

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Romania has spawned a wellspring of composers and musicians that successfully build upon and transform classical music traditions and the avant-garde. Often overlooked in the U.S., these Romanian heavyweights are featured this Sunday on Cued Up from a bevy of concerts in New York City.

One of the most widely known Romanian composers and a high-caliber concert violinist as well, George Enescu (1881–1955), wrote Piano Sonata No. 1 in F♯ minor in 1924, right in the middle of his busy career as a recording and touring violinist. Fast forward to New York City in 2011, where the Romanian-born pianist, Matei Varga, navigates this rollicking piece with equal parts self-abandonment and black belt-precision at a performance at (Le) Poisson Rouge last February.

Another piano piece from the same concert is by the short-lived, but high-impact pianist and composer Tudor Dumitrescu (1957-1977), whose life tragically ended in Romania's '77 Earthquake. His Prelude, nostalgic for the sounds of the early 20th century, was also a revealing look into the direction he might have gone in had he survived the disaster.

Ending the program is the New York premiere of String Quartet No. 5 "Before the Universe Was Born," by composer Horaţiu Rădulescu (1942-2008), performed by the JACK Quartet at a concert from this last March, also at (Le) Poisson Rouge. Studying psycho-acoustics at IRCAM and highly praised by Olivier Messiaen, his own brand of spectral composition often reconciles the mystical with the alien sounding upper reaches of music's harmonic series.

Hosted by:

Olivia Giovetti

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