George Enescu composed his Romanian Rhapsodies Nos. 1 and 2 in 1901; they were introduced together under in Bucharest on March 18, 1903. None of Enescu's compositions has achieved the enormous popularity of his Romanian Rhapsody No. 1, which long ago earned a permanent place in the international repertory. That brightly colored work, in A major, was built on authentic folk tunes, with brilliant orchestration, and strong characterization and originality. The Second Rhapsody stands in marked contrast to the ebullient, outgoing character of the First: it is a more inward and reflective piece, based on the theme of a folk song about certain heroic episodes recounted in ancient Moldavian chronicles and characterized by a spirit of poetic rumination. Toward the end there is brief episode of restrained animation, evoking for an instant the spirit of country fiddlers, but the end is undemonstrative. The contrast of the two rhapsodies when they were introduced together must have been as striking as the music itself.
George Enescu - Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 in A major, op. 11
George Enescu - Romanian Rhapsody No. 2 in D major, op. 11
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