Angela Gheorghiu lashes out at great composer

Angela Gheorghiu lashes out at great composer


norman lebrecht

October 09, 2021

Around the publication of her memoirs in Romanian, the soprano has seen fit to launch a rant against the country’s foremost composer, George Enescu.

Here’s what she says:

‘In 30 years I have not discovered any important hall where Enescu performed. Where did he performed? Imagine how many great artists there where on this planet when Enescu was playing violin? Can you imagine?

‘What I want to say is that in Romania, there are false legends created. For example, nobody speaks of Dinu Lipatti, Clara Haskil, the artists that truly matter internationally. Furthermore, Sergiu Celibidache, Radu Lupu who is still alive and had a remarkable international career, Hariclea Darclée, at the beginning of her career, when the great composers were still alive, Virginia Zeani and Ileana Contrubas. I think one of the greatest Romanian artists, who has had a real career is Radu Lupu. And Clara Haskil. Dinu Lipatti had a shorter life and he didn’t have the possibility of a greater career. The idea is that there are other big names that Romania does not know about – I am talking about Romanian critics, who were serving the party, studied musicology, and music were their job. They have not had the curiosity and will to see what exactly a true great composer means. Because there are other composers in Romania who had more important works than George Enescu”

Who are they? (a reporter asks)

‘I will give you two examples. One is Nicolae Bretan, who wrote wonderful operas. Another great composer who lived in Romania and I remember his operas were performed at the opera house, and he composed a very good Hamlet- is Pascal Bentoiu. Another composer is Paul Constantinescu. Their works must be studied and shown and explained to the professionals in order to further explain to the public the true face of musical history…

‘I want to say that nobody has the courage here, in Romania, to say these essential truths for the Romanian culture. Furthermore, I would add, that I said in my international interviews, that not always great artists have chosen to go to Paris. If one went to Paris, does not mean that that individual is the greatest artist. It’s not true. There are artists who stayed in Romania and are very good. But nobody knows them. And here, a serious distinction must be made. What an international career means, what it means to be a great composer, what it means to be a great conductor? I mean, through what work one can demonstrate? About Enescu I know that he only performed in America once at New York, he replaced a conductor, Toscanini, at Carnegie Hall. He replaced him, he wasn’t initially invited by anyone. And after that, he was invited only once. So twice, twice doesn’t mean a career? Right? Things must be told the way they are. When he went for the second time he played in a museum. I don’t want you to be upset with me, that I destroy legends, but we must bring true artists to the spotlight. There are small and big Romanian artists both in Romania and outside Romania. These truths must be studied and only the proven truth must be exposed.’

Sources here and below:


  • Bloom says:

    A career means being invited you know where and by you know whom more than twice. And being called “historic” during your lifetime more than thrice.

  • We privatize your value says:

    Wow, I had thought that she was an airhead, but she’s actually quite erudite and eloquent! What she says is substantially right, there is no doubt about that. Another interesting Romanian composer: Adrian Raţiu. Bravo Madam, you tell it like it is!

    • Tom Phillips says:

      I have never gotten that sense about Gheorghiu who is indeed a diva but in no ways unintelligent. As opposed to the most celebrated of today’s East European sopranos who in most of her statements and actions appears to have no brain stems at all (much like her even less intellectually gifted husband).

  • RW2013 says:

    Has she ever heard Oedipe?

  • Peter says:

    Have seen it with English subtitles on Youtube.
    What she says is that other composers lost the spotlight because perhaps the communist regime (and the next governments) promoted one but neglected the others, that had wider careers or more important works.
    When I look at Romania (and Bulgaria) struggling with Covid now (it’s full of anti-vaxxers and a general mistrust in everything), with strong nationalists views and with very poor judgements even for the 21st century, I tend to believe it’s true.

  • Garib says:

    Shut up and study your scores, lady. You’ve no bloody idea what you’re talking about…

    • Antonia says:

      Your name is from a cultural etymological origin that often treats women as having value only as persons who meet men’s domestic needs. Your comment is right in line with this. No one should listen to you as you address her so disrespectfully. She’s achieved more in her career surely than you have in yours.

      • Garib says:

        Listen, Antonia:
        – you don’t know my name or my achievements, please don’t speculate about it
        – what I mean, is that a soprano, who after two production revivals still doesn’t her cues right in Rondine Act I (and she’s famous for such behavior), has no business lecturing us about music. I’m of course totally for rediscovering neglected rumanian composers. I have 2 CDs of Nicolae Bretan’s music. His music is melodic, enjoyable, certainly talks to the Rumanian heart. However it’s simplistic to say the least, and couldn’t remotely hold the candle to Enescu’s fantastic and visionary creating spirit. Not to mention the latter’s achievements as a violinist, pianist and conductor. But Bretan started as a gifted singer himself, hence Mrs Gheorghiu’s sympathy for him.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Why doesn’t she simply leave Enescu out of it, would she want to point out other composers.

    Whatever point she’s trying to make….

    Like with Alagna.

    First they’re together, and it’s great.
    Then they aren’t.
    They she says she’s back together with him, and it was “stupid” for her “career” to not be with him.
    Then everyone is told that he beat her, even in front of a family member who did nothing.

    How many strategical points and images are there now? One tries to point something out here, and to simply be logical one might be accused of promoting spousal abuse rather than was it going on you might have gotten away from it despite concerns about career moves.

    And how were the unknown ones supposed to fit into these strategies. As if they would have needed the “critics” for their career, and then….

    Enescu performed only twice in America, the second time he was asked only in a museum. But he is considered the great composer, although I don’t want to destroy legends….

    And what’s wrong with museums?

    Imagine anyone has to deal with all of this this “makeup.”

    And this is supposed to promote integrity?

    • Antonia says:

      She may express herself with emotional dysregulation, but this is what happens to trauma victims, which she is if her lover beat/beats her. It’s actually irrelevant about her relationship with Alangna in our responses to her thesis. Why do you see a need to bring this up? Are you, like Garib, actively looking to have her treated with disrespect?

      • Nijinsky says:

        My point was quite clear. And I was simply trying to point out flaws in her argument, SHE is the one trying to create disrespect, and that’s for Enescu. In fact she does that in order to promote others, which is quite petty. I do agree that someone who is being abused is going to show signs of emotional dysregulation and one should have empathy with that, but saying she needed someone for her career involves other motivations.

        She said she needed to be with someone for her career, and then later that same person is made out to be a villain. I don’t know what happened, it could be quite true, but he denies it.

        Were the composers she said didn’t find approval from the government critics supposed to initially make the same moves for their career, blind to what really was going on? Something she seems to accuse Enescu of having found favor because of?

        And to bring Enescu into it, is what truly has nothing to do with it. As if promoting composers who she feels should be more heard involves first pointing one’s finger at someone that according to her shouldn’t. That is the most false way of trying to promote anyone, to first try to create a dark cloud over someone else in contrast as if there’s some dark intrigue at play.

        If there are composers who are neglected, I hardly think this is primarily because Enescu according to her has found more favor. Nor is it how one is going to promote favor for neglected composers according to me.

      • Nijinsky says:

        By the way, I’m not trying to create disrespect for Gheorghiu, when I just listened to a recording on youtube of her “voice teacher” who she mentions in the book, who could be quite abusive again, it makes my hair stand on end to think Gheorghiu was supposed to learn anything from such “screeching.”

        But when she goes on saying she can always tell who is the best, and that’s simply a talent she has……

        She might be creating disrespect for herself, you see. Everyone makes their own decisions, and that SHOULDN’T rely on who is the best. And music is something innate to the human condition, something that everyone has as part of their humanity, to start making it into an object as to who is the best, you really lose what it is to begin with, for everyone.

  • Herbie G says:

    The problem is that if one takes such claptrap seriously and attempts to argue with it, it gives it a measure of credibility that it does not deserve. So I won’t bother to waste any time on it, save to say that Enescu was Romania’s leading composer of his period and an exceptional violinist and teacher, and Gheorghiu is… erm… Need I say more?

    • Antonia says:

      Are you actually well-familiar, then, with all the other composer ms she lists as having better skill and value? If not, then you’re not qualified to say who was the best composer of Enescu’a period. She wouldn’t argue he was the “leading” composer; but this was exactly her point, that he WAS, but didn’t deserve the title.

    • Armchair Bard says:

      Bang on the button there, Herbie. And ask anyone from the Former Record Company that was her Former Record Company: mad as a box of frogs…

  • sam says:

    She makes excellent points, backed up by thoughtful examples and arguments.

    And she is not wrong. Enescu is no great composer, even his one hit is not that great, picturesque at best.

    • Rob Keeley says:

      Do you know Oedipe? The Piano Quartet, the Piano Quintet, the 2nd and 3rd Symphonies, the 3rd Violin Sonata, the extraordinary Carillon-Nocturne from the 3rd Piano Suite? No-one would claim the attractive Romanian Rhapsodies represent GE at his best.

      • Antonia says:

        LOL, see J. Barcelo’s comment below for a different take on the Rhapsodies. Music is so very subjective!

    • Irina says:

      1. Some of her ‘thoughtful examples’ = factually incorrect nonsense. She makes it seem like Enescu just happened to be in the U.S. for a couple of times and that’s all.
      He actually TOURED the U.S. fourteeeeeen times (and was very well received!)
      2. Judging Enescu’s work by one (famous) piece – and calling it ‘his one hit’ only proves ignorance with his work.
      His ”one hit” is so famous and well-loved for a variety of reasons. It’s filled with ‘national matter’ and thus used and played a lot… also the music is easier to understand for the majority of people.
      Personally I find it pretty great, even without knowing he was about 20 years old when he wrote it/them (if we’re talking of the Romanian Rhapsodies).

      There is so much diversity, personality, expressiveness in his music and it’s only some youtube clicks away.
      His Suite for orchestra no. 1 (with the Prelude in unison! Quite unique, wouldn’t you say?), his wonderful, unforgettable Octuor (he was young when he wrote that, too), his violin and piano sonatas, the Impressions d’enfance suite (such a subtle, evocative jewel)…

      Trust me, to any serious musician she only embarrased herself.
      (& One doesn’t need to bring some down in order to lift others. I won’t get into the language, attitude, even moral standing etc…)

  • Bratsche Brat says:

    Another one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

  • Peter says:

    Well then, I look forward to her recordings of Bretan, Constantinescu and Bentoiu. So far she’s recorded some art songs by fellow Romanians, but apparently none from these three.

  • Gheorghiu père says:

    She’s right. This picture we have that it’s *Enescu and nobody* … is a distortion. I discovered Constantinescu a dozen years ago at a Bucharest concert. Beautiful stuff. Bretan did leave important operas. Bentoiu, a Modernist, was a major figure, notable for his Hamlet (1960s), as she says; his Sacrifice of Iphigenia was recorded. But nobody outside Romania knows him. So the rant is justified and helpful, and she’s a smart woman notwithstanding her reputation for being an awkward artist.

    • Rob Keeley says:

      Thanks for the heads-ups for non-Enescu composers, but, apart from the Romanian Rhapsody no 1, hardly any of his music is performed with any regularity in Western concert halls, with the single isolated exception of ‘Oedipe’ at Covent Garden a few years ago.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      She is certainly correct that many composers are undervalued simply for lack of international exposure. One can even sympathize with her impatience with the international perception of Enescu as “the” single Romanian composer of importance. However, she is certainly wrong to say that Enescu is not a great composer. (I would add his Octet to the list of works others have mentioned.)

  • Not a Fan! says:

    And this is the Angela who drove Slatkin up the wall at the Met?

  • Jean says:

    This is ridiculous. To compare Bentiou and Constantinescu with Enescu?? I suggest Mrs. Gheorghiu to listen to his 3rd Symphony and his great opera Oidipe, and then return back with comments.

  • Phillip says:

    This woman is a poet when she keeps in silence.
    Enescu is famous as a very good composer, not as a singer or a condutor.

  • BRUCEB says:

    I really hope “sang” is the fault of a translator app…

  • J Barcelo says:

    She can rail against Enescu all she wants, but no other Romanian wrote something as brilliant as the Romanian Rhapsodies. The two Bretan operas I have on CD (once on Nimbus) are wonderful to listen to for sure. Still, Enescu’s Oedipe is the greater work.

    • Peter says:

      You see… when you say Enesco “wrote” the Rhapsodies this is totally wrong… Enesco only orchestrated the rhapsodies after Romanian folk music, so he did not compose them at all: everything was there, he just did some orchestrations on folk music.
      And I agree, Enesco is not at all special in the music world, perhaps only as a violin teacher!

      • Norton says:

        Nonsense. Your comment shows you understand very little about about what entails composition. I suppose he didn’t orchestrate them either? And Messiaen should have listened himself as an arranger of those bird’s who’s singing he loved so much. What about Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosen? He just copied down the work of Weber?

      • Irina says:

        Of course he’s ”not that special in the music world”, he happened to be romanian lol. But that is slowly changing and ‘the outside’ will get to know his great work better…
        The Rhapsodies are wonderful, iconic, a crystalization and landmark of romanian culture.
        But to judge Enescu’s greatness by them? Is only scratching the surface. Please educate yourselves on his music by *listening* to his music, not by the ‘criteria’ of fame.
        Give a go to his Octuor (was super young when he wrote it), his Suite for Orchestra no. 1 (they’re all wonderful but this one has the Prelude in Unison which is… something else), honestly anything you find, but these two are some of my favourites

  • John Borstlap says:

    She is right about Paris, it attracted all kinds of people and they needed to have enough money for the train fare and to keep afloat for a time and to have introductions to the people that mattered. For the rest she simply explains the typical limitations of a small country.

    I would much like to explore the composers she named, I’ll try on the internet when I’ve time.

  • Violon says:

    What an idiotic comment! Enesco’s violin sonatas are performed by the greatest violinists and his opera Oedipe is being performed at the Paris Opera at the moment.
    Yes he is a bit of a national hero. So what?

  • KCB says:

    In reply, one word: Oedipe.

  • Kira Levy says:

    Good, somebody has finally said it. Enescu wrote nothing of major importance. Ok he was a great polymath and an inspired violinist with a photographic memory. But the compositions are don’t hold a candle to,say, Bartok

    • Rob Keeley says:

      I respectfully disagree: he easily holds a candle to Bartok (although his love of ‘la grande ligne’ comes from his studies with Fauré. do give the 3rd Violin Sonata a try, in case you don’t know it, although I expect you do…

      • John Borstlap says:

        Indeed, his chamber music is very interesting to great. It has an oldfashioned, ‘romantic’ feel about it which may seem ‘less modern’ for people who see everything historicist, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the music. Oedipe is a great opera (especially the scene with the sphinx is fascinating and as ‘avantgarde’ as anything), but his symphonies are much less interesting, incoherent, rather bland, pretentious.

        It may be of interest to know that Enescu, on his postwar deathbed, warned against atonal modernism, predicting that composers would loose contact with audiences and destroy the art form. That was in the period when Boulez and Stockhausen bubbled-up from postwar mental debris.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    E is mostly famous as a teacher: Menuhin , Gitlis, Ferras + Haendel. His compositions a bit thin

    • Rob Keeley says:

      You really think so, Esther? What have you heard? Surely not the late Piano Quartet and Piano Quintet? Great, ‘rich’ works! 🙂

    • minacciosa says:

      In stating that, you demonstrate fully that you are not truly familiar with Enescu’s compositions. His is one of the major voices in 20th century music. Let me help you out: begin with the 3rd Symphony and continue with Oedipe.

    • BRUCEB says:

      Also Uto Ughi if I remember correctly.

  • Jean pierre provost says:

    Angela , you forgot Eugenia Moldoveanu
    I am canadian maried to a wonderful romanian roman born in Ploiesti.
    I love Romania am very familiar with the Praova valley
    I visited all theese marvellous places. ..Sinaia Brasov Busten Pedeal Bran Sibiu Sigisoara etc..
    I am a great fan of you…i love Opéra mainly the italien Opéra PUCCINI mon préféré Verdi ….
    Hope To meet with you one of theese days
    Lareverde noroc la multiane….ha ha

  • Jean-Pierre Provost says:

    Je viens de vous écrire
    Je demeure à St Sauveur au nord de Montréal Canada
    Je suis un vrai fan de la Roumanie et de sa culture
    J’ai 80 ans et adore l’opéra et les belles voix tel la vôtre.
    Je rêve de vous rencontrer mon épouse Maria traduira en roumain …moi je comprend nu vorbesc …
    Je me contente de ses sarmale tuica mamaliga etc

  • Rob Keeley says:

    Utterly fatuous, ignorant comments – she should know better. By all means boost up the Romanian unknowns, but you don’t do that by rubbishing one of the greatest musicians of the last century.

  • Larry W says:

    In her lengthy diatribe against fellow Romanian George Enescu, Angela Gheorghiu overlooks or misstates facts about Enescu. As she said, “these truths must be studied and only the proven truth exposed.” In the interview she says: “Where did he sing?” Enescu was not a singer (but the translation of cântat includes “played”). George Enescu was a composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, and teacher.
    Composer– The Colonne Orchestra, then one of the most prestigious in the world, presented in Paris his first mature work, Poema Română, conducted by Édouard Colonne. Enescu was 16. His 17 chamber works are widely performed, and his two Romanian Rhapsodies are staples of orchestral repertoire.
    Pianist– Alfred Cortot, one of the greatest pianists of all time, once said that Enescu, though primarily a violinist, had better piano technique than his own.
    Conductor– He was one of the candidates considered to replace Arturo Toscanini as permanent conductor of the New York Philharmonic.
    Teacher– His students included Yehudi Menuhin, Christian Ferras, Ivry Gitlis, Arthur Grumiaux, Serge Blanc, Ida Haendel, and Uto Ughi, among others.
    – Yehudi Menuhin considered Enescu “the most extraordinary human being, the greatest musician and the most formative influence” he had ever experienced.
    – Pablo Casals described Enescu as “the greatest musical phenomenon since Mozart” and “one of the greatest geniuses of modern music”.
    – The George Enescu Festival is one of the most important and well-funded in the world. They raised $65 million even during the pandemic. Martha Argerich and the Berlin Philharmonic were just a couple of participants. The highly talented young Romanian conductor Cristian Măcelaru has just been named director of the Festival.
    – Ms. Gheorghiu has not leaned that she does not elevate herself by stepping on others, especially a great musician whose contributions and stature she will quite likely not attain.

  • Just guessing says:

    Me thinks her controversial comments are purposefully designed to generate shock, hype and media coverage (i.e. buzz) = indirectly advertising her newly released book. Seems like a perfectly timed strategy.

  • Ines says:

    Even more interesting is the reaction of some romanian actor “opera is a mediocre chapter in modern music history”….”Verdi wrote some banal opera”…
    I think she s right about the idea that for some political reason, some names were promoted by the authorities as beeing very important and successful while others were completely neglected

  • Herbie G says:

    All very good points and advocating lesser-known composers is praiseworthy – but seeking to emphasise the merits of one composer by trashing another displays a lack of intelligence at the very least.

    • BRUCEB says:

      Some people seem to naturally see things that way. If someone we don’t know about is good, it must mean that someone we do know about is bad (or at least overrated).

      It’s not actually a zero-sum game; the lesser-known person can be good without the famous person having to be bad. But some people’s minds just work like that. *shrug*

      • John Borstlap says:

        The zero-sum fallacy is a widespread tactic of people believing in the egalitarian world view.

        • BRUCEB says:


          I’d been noticing it more in a social context: some people seem to think there is only so much freedom to go around, for example — so if gay people can get married, then it impinges on someone else’s rights somehow, so it’s important that gay people not be able to marry.

          That way of looking at the world never struck me as “egalitarian.”

          • John Borstlap says:

            But it is a ‘balancing act’ between assumed equal parties. If the world looks entirely pluralistic, in a social and economic and cultural sense, it is very hard to even come-up with the idea of a zero-sum game.

  • marcus says:

    Slagging off Enescu? Way to go. Not.

  • Geoffrey Beslity says:

    Your one of my favorite opera singers. Especially as Mimi in La Boheme.
    But I also love Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsodies and above all his Symphonic Poem.

  • minacciosa says:

    Paul Constantinescu is definitely worth investigating. He has many memorable works; the Harp Concerto, Piano Concerto, and the Byzantine oratorio “The Nativity” come immediately to mind. While I would advocate for frequent performances of Constantinescu’s music, there is no question that Enescu is the greater figure.

  • Dan says:

    May I suggest you read the whole article translated and replace “singer” with performer.

  • Mirel Iancovici says:

    She is completely uninformed or, intentionally, wants to denigrate such a genius as Enescu. The other cited composers owe a great deal to Enescu.

  • Andrei Ungureanu says:

    I think everyone must understand the political context of these interviews. Shortly after Cristian Macelaru was appointed as the new artistic director of George Enescu Festival, Angela started this campaign of denigration. First, she commented on the Romanian President’s facebook page, where he posted a picture with Cristian Macelaru. “Embarrassing and hypocrite. Where are the Romanian artists at the festival with the name of a false legend? The history of music in Romania I must rebuild, studying everything in a professional manner from zero on documentation and facts, not on fakes and untrue information, from 1945 till today”. And later she gave with two interviews, targeting Enescu.

    The main issue with these interviews is that they are based on untrue facts. Angela Gheorghiu uses untrue facts and great Romanian names in order to cancel Enescu (Virginia Zeani, Ileana Cotrubas, Dinu Lipatti, Hariclea Darclee, Clara Haskil, Sergiu Celibidache etc). This is a typical #cancelculture project.

    She could have read more about Enescu’s career, before giving false statements. Enescu did not perform only twice in USA, he often performed and conducted in NY, Chicago, Washington, etc (check New York Times). And AG constantly compares herself (lyric artist), internationally active from 1992, to George Enescu (violonist, conductor and composer), active in between 1891-1955, a century before her. It’s absolutely ridiculous to say “Enescu never performed in the great theatres I sang so many times”. Enescu did perform at Gaveau, Pleyel, Carnegie Hall and other worlds greatest halls and Oedip is still performed worldwide as well as his other works. The fact that Enescu has no recordings-untrue; check Columbia Records.

    The comparison with Pascal Bentoiu is ridiculous as Bentoiu spent most of his career studying Enescu, and his operas are heavily inspired from Enescu’s works.

    Lastly, I don’t think Angela has neither the knowledge, nor the ability to comment on the value of any composer. She isn’t a musicologist nor a reliable source of information. In her career, although she’s been famous, she is well known for her unprofessional behaviour and so many cancellations; sometimes she was even fired. It’s also known that her repertoire is very limited, narrow, and in the past 10 years she’s sang only Mimi and Tosca, rarely Adriana Lecouvreur. Regarding her discography; she recorded many roles she could never sing on stage because they were too big for her (Fedora, Madama Butterfly, Leonora from Il Trovatore, Manon etc) as well as certain controversial CD recitals like Homage to Maria Callas (whom she often criticises in interviews; exactly in the way she did with Enescu). She also gave many interviews where she promised to sing Norma, Lucia, Manon Lescaut, Butterfly, Desdemona on stage. It’s never happened. Using her reason, there are probably more than 200 sopranos who sang better than Angela Gheorghiu ONLY in the recorded age, however, they don’t cancel her career’s achievements.

    Regarding her recent autobiography, she said “I still began to sing, full voice, both stanzas of “Ah forse lui” à la carte”. And she uses “à la carte” thinking it means perfect, like in books. Iin my opinion, for someone who is yet to find out what “`a la carte” means, I think musicology is a bit far from her field of expertise.

    • Garib says:

      Thank you, Andrei. Spot on. I once witnessed the lady doing a particular aria in the recording sessions of a celebrated opera (which she shouldn’t have sung by the way). None of the takes was right musically/prosodically. One repetitor after the other had declined the invitation to be part of the enterprise, as they had been told by the record company they would have to comply to AG’s wishes at any artistic cost.

  • homo says:

    Her interview is more amusing if you imagine her saying it all in the voice of “Donatella Versace” played by Maya Rudolph on SNL.

  • Not very wise opinion about Enescu…
    Enescu was really a great composer and great violinist.

  • Nijinsky says:

    In retrograde, I remember how often I heard the name Enescu mentioned, in regards for example Clara Haskil or Dinu Lipatti, and I truly wondered why his name seemed to be overbearing; Clara Haskil and Dinu Lipatti still after all these years maintaining the pinnacle of piano artistry. The absolute pinnacle, and unsurpassed. That always did strike me as rather annoying, although I really knew nothing about the political environment, nor the history.

    Of course there are other composers that deserve mention, and the two Angela mentions are certainly worth looking into. But it would be nice to simply have those mentioned for their own merit, rather than Enescu needs to be dethroned.

    Again, I don’t know, but is this provoked because Angela wasn’t asked to perform at the Enescu festival?

    • Felix says:

      Yes, it is – AG demanded 150.000 $ to play at the Enescu festival cca. 20 years ago. In today’s money according to inflation calculator this would be 233.000$. For one concert…. It was a notable high-level scandal and even the country’s president got involved in mediating the issue, culminating in the cancellation of her concert. This is what I know, other may know more details. To add my two cents, Enescu played several dozen concerts in the US, in a time when one had to travel over 30 days by boat from the Constanta Port City in Romania to NY. Not today’s 8h Flight…and indeed Enescu made several tours in the US. All documented. I physically saw several of his billboards from the US, including a Carnegie Hall soloist performance with the NY phil., at the George Enescu Museum in Bucharest. Nice place to visit and a hard proof of Enescu’s legacy and career. There are pictures of him playing with Jacques Thibaud, one with Fritz Kreisler and many other great musical figures of the XX century. Anybody can see this; AG didn’t even bothered to go and have a look what is inside that museum in her native country’s capital just for an hour-long visit, and she pretends to ”research” Enescu’s career? Based only on what I humbly verified as a random music student in Bucharest, most of her public statements regarding Enescu, facts that she mentions, are simply fake news – easy to verify. All of Enescu’s concerts in the US and Europe are documented and undisputed as well as – and this should nail it – the documented opinion of several of the most respected musicians of his age such as Casals, Thibaud and all of his students that later became violin legends – Menuhin, Ferras, Haendel, Gitlis to name a few. In Romania, everybody knows that most of what later followed in composition and violin performance had been directly and deeply influenced by George Enescu’s work. I think one has to be blatantly ignorant or filled with deep hate against Enescu to get to a point of minimizing his outstanding influence over romanian musical history or his outstanding – and documented – carreer in the US and Europe. It could well be said that basically romanian music divides in ”before Enescu” and ”after Enescu”, even if one ”likes” his compositions or not. Regarding his compositions, I played his second and third violin sonatas, truly amazing music; especially the third sonata -I recommend the recordings with Kopatchinskaja, Azoitei or Kavakos for those curious to discover something truly unique in classical music literature. His octuor is a true masterpiece although Enescu wrote it at the age of 19; the ”hits” – Romanian Rapsodies of course got famous for being very ”easy” to receive by the public – just like someone could say about Verdi’s music – it gets stuck to your mind. The Symphonies are not particularly played or listened to, this is true. They are very complex, especially the third. Too bad Enescu didn’t wrote concerts for violin or piano, or quartets…maybe this way his work would have been more easily taken into account.

      • adelinamirai says:

        @Felix: Very well argued and supported with real evidence – I congratulate you for this. One can add to this clear evidence of Enescu’s outstanding career the information found on the Wikipedia page of Salle Gaveau, where he is mentioned both as violonist and composer whose works were premiered there, among the most celebrated performers and composers of the time. One can also find archived the exceptional reviews Enescu received as a conductor in The New York Times. So plenty of easy to find evidence – in this context, to state the contrary with such vehemence as AG has done, is absurd.

      • Nijinsky says:

        Felix, thank you so much for responding, and providing further information as to what’s going on. I just wondered, having seen she wasn’t invited this year, but didn’t know that stems back towards unreasonable demands twenty years ago. Dumitru Avakian has also recently written the same thing.

        What a tiresome amount of self importance! And because she’s not invited to the Enescu festival suddenly it’s not representing Romania artists, as well as that she shoots together limited anecdotal info to put down Enescu. Macelaru, who is director is Romanian, and I doubt whether he’s the only Romanian involved, it seems more it’s just that AG isn’t, and so she starts finding fault with Enescu himself, as if the whole festival shouldn’t exist. And sorry, but it makes one have difficulty believing other things she’s said. I don’t know the music of Enescu well, but will look into it more the coming weeks, rather than like “Sam” inspired by AG to listen once to one piece and decide I can judge, which beyond that still would remain my opinion.

      • Nijinsky says:

        Felix, I did listen to Enescu, his concertstucke for Viola, and then the third violin sonata, and fell in love. There’s a magic there, and a gypsy hypnotic labyrinth that one can’t separate from Romania, I think. And it’s spiritual.

        I don’t know what Angela is going on about, and she also insults country people saying something about the church is more for those in the country who are “uneducated.” “Uneducated!?” You mean the people that actually have to know how to grow food, that everyone needs to survive. It’s a typical remark one hears also in the states in reference to people who live where there are only cornfields, and such. Truly rather arrogant remarks.

      • Nijinsky says:

        I don’t understand WHY Gheorghiu has to take this much trouble, and create a whole drama, as if there’s some fight that needs to take place, and……

        Or like it’s about territory, and even money. There’s actually more than one IMG artists person I have encountered, having the same sort of thing going on. And it’s too bad, because without all of the struggle, and the restlessness, they could be making music, and that’s what they want, they make out. Because music doesn’t happen because you’ve created some drama, or made some enemy that doesn’t really exist, in order to excuse some struggle, thinking you’ve done something.

        And then there’s someone like Asmik Grigorian, who in contrast to Gheorghiu making a big drama, simply makes music out of Tchaikovsky’s aria for Liza in the Queen of Spades. Or Julia Lezhneva, or there was Emily Ameling, or Renata Tebaldi…..

        It’s a shame, and Gheorghiu can have such a nice voice, would she allow it.

  • Anca says:

    She evaluates George Enescu by how many times he played on an international stage to conclude he has no value. Her argument is not suitable to determine value, but rather success. George Enescu has written only one opera, Oedip, and in my opinion it is colossal! If I am to reffer strictly to her argument I would say that indeed when this opera was put on stage it did not have success, but London Philarmonic played this in 2017 and it seemed quite well received.
    In my opinion it is a shallow explanation why she states George Enescu has no value. On a personal note, I think Enescu has written a masterpiece.

  • Joshua Gordon says:

    For this string player, Enescu’s epic and fantastic string octet is a true thrill to play, an amazing journey. I think there are many string players around the world who would agree. There are other chamber works of his I’d like to experience, but the octet is already on my desert island list.

  • Aaron Boyd says:

    Even by the standard of the current era of almost mandatory iconoclasm, I am utterly baffled by the Enescu-bashing I see here. Rather than argue online (which is a losing proposition), I’ll submit the words of musicians far, far, greater than myself.

    Pablo Casals – “Enescu is the greatest musical phenomenon since Mozart”.

    Yehudi Menuhin – “the Absolute by which I judge all others… the most extraordinary human being, the greatest musician and the most formative influence I have ever experienced.”

    Janos Starker – “One of the most glorious and unforgettable musical experiences of my life…unbelievable sound, such phrasing, the most beautiful playing such as one dreams about a whole lifetime.”

    Josef Gingold – “What an artist!! My God! His Brahms 3rd symphony was the greatest of my life…”

    Enescu was probably the greatest all-around musician of the 20th century. His finest music (2nd, 3rd violin sonatas, Oedipe, Impressions of Childhood) rises to greatness, and his recordings on violin are absolutely treasures… We are unspeakably lucky to have had him.

  • Nijinsky says:

    I find this depressing. Angela can do such lovely things, and then she has to get into star wars. And she lists a whole list of people that probably wouldn’t want to at all be included. Clara Haskil, Lipatti, Cotrubas and the two composers she mentions: Constantinescu and Bentoiu.

    She’s been complaining for quite a few years about not getting the attention she thinks she deserves, and I don’t think that not being invited to the Enescu festival has nothing to do with it. If she had been invited, we might hear a completely different story. As Andrei Ungureanu mentions, this started when the president had a picture with him and the new conductor for the Enescu festival. If it had been a picture with Gheorghiu, we might hear a different story. This while making out she’s the one “most famous” person from Romania that can change things, and present a proper history. As if it’s impossible to create interest in other composers, without berating Enescu.

    It’s just saddening. WHY she has to take such trouble to create more schism in the music world. More cleavages. And it’s quite typical. It’s like she’s so full of who she is that when she’s not getting the attention she deserves she thinks there’s some plot against her, and hauls in others creating more schism and starts implicating morals.

    And then she’s trying to make a point about opera put in modern times, with the staging. You can’t just dismiss every single modern staging like that. I’ve seen modern stagings I like, I’ve also seen enough that I don’t, but that doesn’t completely hinge on whether they were transposed to another time as little that all that has to be done is set them in authentic periods to make them work. And her example as to why modern stagings can’t work regarding Traviata doesn’t gel to me. As if in these times you don’t have the 1% marrying amongst the 1%. As if you wouldn’t have a family with a pedigree or a social standing in the higher denizens of society trying to dissuade a vulnerable girl, already extremely insecure and finding herself already a stain, from marrying their son because of image. I’ve seen such behavior myself, in present day “society”. To really stretch things, it’s really almost more what she’s doing to Enescu and the Enescu festival regarding Romania with: “Don’t think this is really such a great composer, you should like these composers better,” quite possible motivated because she wasn’t asked to sing at the Enescu festival. And againregarding the people she lists, and says she’s defending in history being the one person “famous” enough in Romania to do it, I don’t believe those people all would be thrilled at how she’s trying to promote them, or have the same view of Enescu.

    Has she even had any conversation with Ileana Cotrubas about this, for example. I truly doubt Ileana has some issue with Enescu over shadowing her…..

  • matt solti says:

    I’m a fan of Georgiu I’m in love et 80 I speak Romanian

  • Nijinsky says:

    I hope Angela can be “forgiven” for simply saying what she thinks in a moment, or during a particular time. It’s quite possible she felt jilted when she wasn’t invited to the “great” Enescu festival, and felt she represented Romania enough that she should be included. And then felt others were neglected. That’s all very human.

    I actually admire her attempt to get rid of so much of the warped productions going on in opera, although I don’t think that rests solely on whether they are portrayed in the authentic period or not. I think because she dared to go against political or political/fashion trends, that she’s been a bit black listed; and then she dared to finally speak out about what she says was abuse from Alagna, although I question why she ever got involved with him, or thought she needed it for her career. That also makes a woman shunned, still in this society.

    One says all sorts of things, particularly when one is tired of someone being rather dominant, which Enescu is. I actually had this with Bach, even a week or a bit more ago I posted something of how I felt Couperin was a better composer. In some ways, maybe he was, and that’s tremendously overlooked, and Bach in contrast becomes tiresome the way people go on about him as the “greatest.”

    But then my sister plays cello, and I acquired a cello that needing fixing up from her teacher, who since passed away. He was supposed to glue the neck back on, when another student had it come off, and he glued it on crooked, and didn’t know how to get it back off, or wasn’t accustomed to it. He had it in his kitchen sitting in the middle where one would expect the carving and chopping of meat to take place. Like some carcass, and I finally said you can give me that, if you like. He whisked it into his car, so glad to get rid of it. It sat for awhile in my basement, till I got the neck off, got it to fit back properly, and then waited a few years, till I wanted to work on the rest of it, the top being off, and it needing regraduating, since the wood was quite a bit too thick. I finally recently got the whole thing together, had never fit a cello bridge, put in a sound post, etc. But then, my sister coming in town for our 93 year old father’s birthday, we got to play together that I had a cello for her. Flute and cello, from a Bach trio sonata. And I fell in love with Bach again, although before I’d been quite tired of him. But I don’t think I would have seen how his music indeed is to the glory of God and the recreation of the mind, had I pounded myself into being an aficionado or any kind of fanatic. And then there’s the tenacity and the relentless passion….. And the b-flat Partita….. I’ll say one thing though, given that Bach and all of his contemporaries poured out music, with good guidance and principles that brought out the nature of art itself, when one looks at what’s going on in these times…..