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Enescu: Piano Sonatas Nos 1 & 3; Suite No. 2

Daria Parkhomenko (piano) (Prospero)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Piano Sonatas Nos 1 & 3; Suite No. 2
Daria Parkhomenko (piano)
Prospero PROSP0055   67:35 mins


Still one of the most under-appreciated of all indisputably great composers, the Romanian George Enescu wrote piano music that is rewarding to players and listeners alike. Alongside a handful of key works such as his Violin Sonata No. 3, Octet and opera Oedipe, the piano music remains a good place for newcomers to start exploring his output, and this welcome release is an ideal introduction to his world. Right from the ruminating opening bars of the Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor, Daria Parkhomenko draws the listener in, finding a richness and depth in Enescu’s textures that is superbly caught in warmly recorded sound. She has all the virtuosity for the hora dance rhythms of the middle movement, and evokes the Romanian-Moldovan plateau at night into the closing nocturne – though equally the whole performance seems to breathe the mountain air of Enescu’s retreat at Sinaia, where he worked on the sonata in summer 1924.

Composed about a decade later, the Piano Sonata No. 3 in D major is by turns dreamy and playful, with Parkhomenko supplying crisp attack. Enescu’s numbering implies the existence of a second piano sonata, which he probably never wrote down, but here that gap is filled by the Piano Suite No. 2, a work from the early 1900s that inhabits the world of French neo-classicism. A Romanian doina is smuggled into the third movement, ‘Pavane’, before a lively ‘Bourrée’ rounds things off, Parkhomenko bringing her rigorous technique to a performance full of the Enescu spirit.


John Allison