Enescu’s piano pieces performed at SHSU

On Thursday, January 21, SHSU’s Doctor Josu de Solaun performed the third and final concert in the “George Enescu Complete Piano Works” series.

Before the performance, de Solaun explained to the audience that George Enescu was only sixteen when he wrote Suite No. 1, Op. 3 and was heavily influenced by Bach. While Bach’s effect on this piece was noticeable, Enescu’s own sound and style were also beginning to come into their own.

Enescu was twenty-two when he wrote the two other pieces performed that night: Prelude and Fugue and Suite No. 2, Op 10.

The three pieces that were performed were all written by George Enescu in the late 19 and early 20 centuries. The first piece of the night, Suite No. 1, Op. 3, felt like turn of the century Europe.

At about twenty minutes long, this piece was a great introduction to the concert, especially if this was someone’s first experience with Enescu’s music.

The second piece of the night, Prelude & Fugue, was an exploration into serenity and transition. The music seemed to envelope the room and take the audience on a journey into the next piece.

Suite No. 2, Op 10 was the third and final work of the night. It started with a light and energetic toccata, showcasing Enescu’s refined talent of making compelling melodies. The second movement was a more relaxed dance piece.

Pavane, the third movement, peacefully washed over the audience with its lightness and warmth, seemingly in preparation of the final movement. The piece ended in much the same way as it began, lighthearted and triumphant, thus ending the performance in a way that can only be described as powerful.

The energy in the pieces being performed was accentuated by de Solaun’s own intensity on stage. Often times it seemed as if he was channeling Enescu himself.

After the concert, de Solaun gave his thoughts on the pieces that he performed that night. Specifically, the third movement of Suite No. 2, Pavane.

“I think [pavane] is one of the best pieces ever written for piano,” de Solaun said. “It is so beautiful.”

De Solaun illustrated how he got his start in music. He explained that he grew up in Spain and started playing the classical guitar at the age of four before beginning to play the piano at the age of seven.

Unfortunately, when he was 12 years old, de Solaun had to make the difficult decision of choosing which instrument he would have to give up. In the end, he chose to continue the piano.

He said that this was an especially painful choice to make because, as the national instrument of Spain, the guitar was very dear to his heart.

Dr. Josu de Solaun’s next performance will be on Sunday, February 7 at the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center. He will be performing a solo recital for the Spring Piano Festival.

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