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According to one recent commentator, George Enescu ‘is the greatest composer whose greatness is not yet generally recognised’. He is remembered today chiefly as a virtuoso violinist and teacher (his pupils famously included Yehudi Menuhin), whereas in his lifetime Enescu (1881-1955) was also renowned for his compositions. The solo piano music certainly demonstrates a remarkable stylistic range. While early pieces suggest the influence of Brahms, with whom he played, and Fauré, with whom he studied, later works such as the second suite, the first and third sonatas and the Piéces Impromptu show him transmuting elements of German Romanticism, French Impressionism and the folk music of his native Romania into an individual and wholly original style. The Prelude and Fugue and the first suite, ‘dans le style ancien’, prove he could be an adroit neoclassicist too; their charming reinventions of Baroque forms are a testimony to his lifelong love of Bach.

As winner of the 2014 George Enescu International Piano Competition, Spanish pianist Josu de Solaun brings a clear authority to the music, which he plays with unassuming sensitivity. Although three brief pieces receive their world premiere recordings on Volume 3, most of Enescu’s piano music has already appeared on disc: Luiza Borac, an earlier winner of the Enescu Piano Competition, set the benchmark in the early 2000s when she recorded the suites and sonatas for Avie. Her versatile playing can really make the music sing at times, but Solaun’s more measured approach is no less satisfying. His three discs, which are available separately, offer an engaging and persuasive account of this fascinating repertoire.

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Piano International, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing