"The music of George Enescu continues to be a source of discovery for me. As the Fates would have it, though, his Chamber Symphony for 12 Instruments was already familiar to me from a recent Ondine recording by Hannu Lintu conducting the Tampere Philharmonic, which I reviewed only as recently as 36:2. In that review, I stated that the work was new to me and that I had no other versions against which to compare it. Well, that situation didn't last long, for here is another performance of the piece, which, on my first hearing of it under Lintu, didn't make a very favorable impression.
Despite its low opus number, the Chamber Symphony is Enescu's final work. The composer's close friend, Marcel Mihalovici, was called upon to complete the score after Enescu suffered a severe stroke in 1954. There are, of course, far, far more than 33 works in Enescu's catalog; it's just that most of them are without opus number.
Considering the more exotic scoring of Schreker's Chamber Symphony, also on this disc, instrumentation for the Enescu is fairly conservative, consisting of flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano. Still, this is not an easy work to assimilate. The mood is dark, often menacing, and sometimes of a bitter, burlesque character, as in the trumpet solo at the beginning of the last movement. The style is somewhat reminiscent of Schoenberg's pre-12-tone Expressionist works, with passages here and there that sound like they could have come from a scene in Berg's Wozzeck.
This much I can say: Enescu's Chamber Symphony found me in more receptive ear to this performance by Wolynec and the Gateway Chamber Orchestra than did the performance by Lintu and his Tampere ensemble." - Jerry Dubins for Fanfare
TRACK LISTING: 1. Chamber Symphony for 12 instruments, Op. 33~1. Molto moderato, un poco maestoso(5:58) 2. Chamber Symphony for 12 instruments, Op. 33~2. Allegretto molto moderato(4:08) 3. Chamber Symphony for 12 instruments, Op. 33~3. Adagio(2:11) 4. Chamber Symphony for 12 instruments, Op. 33~4. Allegro molto moderato(4:13) 5. Chamber Symphony for 23 players(27:06) 6. Chamber Symphony for 15 soloists, Op. 9(23:05)