"Three of the Romanian composer’s underperformed, muscular works for piano are brilliantly realised in this new recording
Enescu wrote just six works for piano – two sonatas, three suites and a set of variations. Daria Parkhomenko’s disc includes the best known of them, the sonatas Opus 24 Nos 1 and 3 (the second sonata, Op 24 No 2, seems never to have existed), separated by the second of the suites, Op 10, which was awarded the Pleyel keyboard prize in Paris in 1903. The sonatas were premiered in 1925 and 1938 respectively, and differ markedly in style. The first of them, composed when Enescu interrupted work on Oedipe, parades a range of modernist influences, from Debussy and Ravel to motoric Prokofiev and neoclassical Stravinsky, as well as touches of modal Romanian folk music. In the second sonata the style is more purely neoclassical, sometimes not unlike Ravel’s suite Le Tombeau de Couperin, but also harking back more directly to baroque keyboard composers, such as Scarlatti and Rameau.
Despite the stylistic borrowings, the works have a muscular tang that is distinctively Enescu’s own; Parkhomenko projects that wiry intensity superbly, and her performances of what to many listeners will be unfamiliar but thoroughly rewarding music are as fiercely committed as they are brilliantlyaccomplished."