George Enescu’s Third Sonata for Violin and Piano carries a subtitle that seems innocent enough— “dans le caractère populaire roumain.” Roughly translated, it means “in Roumanian folk character.” Maybe you’ve heard Bartòk’s Roumanian Folk Dances and think to yourself, “Oh, I know what that style sounds like.” Not so.
To hear (or perform) this work is to enter a phantasmagoria of mood and color. The piano surges like the hammered cimbalom, a dulcimer-like instrument of the Romani tradition, while the violin whoops, laments, and dances in turn. It is a sonata unlike any other. Pianist David Korevaar and violinist Maria Sampen bring this astonishing and beautiful work to life.
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