Pianist and Yale faculty member Ilya Poletaev (’09DMA) is bringing together his colleagues for a concert celebrating the music of George Enescu (1881-1955) on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. at Sprague Hall. The program will introduce audiences to the rarely-heard works of Enescu, who has been described by Pablo Casals as “the greatest musical phenomenon since Mozart” and by Yehudi Menuhin as “one of the wonders of this world.”
Although today chiefly remembered mostly as an great violinist, Enescu was perhaps the most versatile musician of the twentieth century: in addition to playing the violin, he was a virtuoso pianist and conductor, an inspiring pedagogue, and – most importantly – a composer of some of the most extraordinary music of his time, unique for its refinement, complexity, and emotional depth. Although celebrated in his native Romania, his mature work (completely different from the Romanian Rhapsodies, composed when he was only 18) has been heard infrequently, and is only now beginning to reach a wider audience. The concert on Feb. 6 seeks to introduce to the public some of the most important chamber works in Enescu’s oeuvre.
Kate Remington of WSHU talked with Poletaev about what is special about Enescu’s music.