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Debussy, Enescu, Ravel, Rota & Ysaye: Impressions D'Enfance

Debussy, Enescu, Ravel, Rota & Ysaye: Impressions D'Enfance

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Leader of the Orchestre National de France for the past two decades, chamber musician, high-flying soloist, Sarah Nemtanu is one of the most dynamic musical figures on today’s French scene. With her partner Romain Descharmes, she presents here a very personal journey, in the form of a tribute to her dual Romanian and French roots: George Enescu’s Impressions d'enfance, his whirlwind Impromptu concertant, and the famous sonatas of Ravel and Debussy make up the programme, rounded out with the magical harmonies of Ysaÿe’s Rêve d’enfant and, to end with, Nino Rota’s Improvviso ‘Un diavolo sentimentale’, which evokes ‘a dream of constructing a big top to enfold all the mischiefs, joys, fears, dreams and naïve memories, in short, the most beautiful impressions of our childhoods … .’


Impressions d’enfance, Enescu’s musical memoir of his village childhood, is beautifully done, with Nemtanu secure yet unshowy in the exacting cadenza (depicting a village fiddle player) with which it opens, and Descharmes deploying careful gradations of colour and dynamics in Enescu’s evocations of the sad figure of the local beggar and the brook that flows through the family’s garden.

-- Gramophone

The idea for the program, confides Sarah Nemtanu in the liner notes, came from the discovery of Enescu's Impressions d'enfance – which introduces an Impromptu concertante dating from her years of Parisian studies. Impressions from Debussy and Ravel, of course, [appear on the track list as well]. She added, by way of transitions, two delicate “music boxes” filled with dreams, one dedicated by Ysaÿe to his son Antoine, the other written by Rota alongside the soundtrack of Fellini’s Satyricon.

First violinist of the Orchestre National de France for twenty years, Nemtanu lacks neither confidence in his speech nor imagination in his phrasing. This is evidenced by Debussy's Interlude, with winged fantasy and a finale with lively, slender lines, both tender and passionate. The Blues from Ravel's sonata is drawn with finesse[.] Enescu’s Childhood Impressions are rendered with great tenderness. Published in 1954 by a sixty-year-old composer, these memories of the Romanian countryside in which he grew up are poetic and colorful images...some arousing great emotion in the little boy...others charged with nocturnal terrors. A version closer to that of Leonidas Kavakos (with Peter Nagy, ECM) than to that of Gidon Kremer (with Oleg Maisenberg, Teldec)[.]

-- Diapason

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Alpha
    • UPC/Barcode: 3760014198342
    • Item Number: ALPHA834