LUCIAN BAN: „ENESCU RE- IMAGINED”
I have come to truly discover and fall in love with Enesco’s music long after I moved from Romania to New York City to pursue my passion for jazz and I’ve found that many of Enesco’s works, some of which are lesser known, have a structure and a feeling resembling that of jazz. This was the starting point for wanting to present his music in a new light, together with an ensemble Featuring some of my favorite musicians working today, artists who are actively pushing the music forward. I asked John Hebert, an old collaborator
and one of the greatest bassists around to work with me on this and re-orchestrate some of Enesco’s music. I remember vividly going to Jersey City to John’s place in spring of 2009 with a map of Enesco’s scores and how stunned we were at realizing the depth and richness of Enesco’s music. I mean his music was so open to be re-interpreted from a “jazz” sensibility. For such a project you really needed the right musicians and I’m elated to have on board people like Tony Malaby, Ralph Alessi, Mat Maneri, Albrecht Maurer from Koln, Germany or Joyce Hammann (who did a series of rehearsals
and the premiere concert in New York at Merkin Hall in October 2009), Taylor Ho Bynum, Gerald Cleaver or Nasheet Waits handling the drum chair, the great Badal Roy on tablas, or the young Curtis Stewart on violin. Without them this music would not have been possible and I want to thank them for their extraordinary musicianship and dedication to the project.
I’ve deliberately wanted to “re-imagine” some of Enesco’s less known works and not opuses like the Romanian Rhapsodies or the Romanian Poeme because I’m convinced these other works of him are some of the greatest music written in the 20th century.
It is my hope that they will enter the world performance circuit as they rightly deserve. Some of the pieces present here on the CD – like the un_nished 4th Symphony, the Ballad for Violin & Orchestra Op 4A (arranged by John) or the little jewel Aria et Scherzino for violin, viola, cello, bass and piano – I’ve discovered them in the vaults of the Enesco Museum in Bucharest and special thanks go to them for their great support and access.
The Octet for Strings Opus 7 written when Enesco was barely 19 years old is an extraordinary composition with a monumental form and massive contrapuntal modal themes. All wrapped in an unusual intensity this is the piece where I _rst heard in my head Badal’s tablas playing underneath all of the themes and melodies.
Aria et Scherzino for violin, viola, cello, bass and piano written in 1909 and never published in Enesco’s life is a little piece of stunning melodic beauty. The main melody carried by the violin was written by Enesco to feature every open string of the violin ascending along with the melody. At one rehearsal we decided on the spot to start directly with a tenor sax solo.
3rd Sonata for Violin & Piano in A minor Op 25 “ In the Romanian Folk Character” written in 1926 is one of his more known works and is a perfect example of Enesco’s genius as both a virtuoso violinist and a stunning composer. Heavily influenced by the Romanian gypsy fiddler virtuosos, this is, in a way, Enesco at its most “jazz” feel as I’m convinced he was able to improvise for hours on this music.
The end result, the full Sonata, is a masterpiece of the 20th century music.
The great French classical pianist Alfred Cortot describes this piece as “an evocation in sound of the mysterious feeling of summer nights in Romania: below, the silent, endless, deserted plain; above, constellations leading o_ into infinity …” We perform here (with some serious re-orchestration from me) material from the 1st part – Malincolico, and 2nd part – Misterioso.
4th Symphony (unfinished), Marziale –in 1928 Enesco began to sketch a Fourth Symphony, which he would often return to but never complete. The original manuscript it’s in Enesco’s Museum archives in Bucharest. Especially in Marziale, the 2nd movement we ‘attacked’ the themes and lines seemed to me almost lifted from the best of an Ellington or Mingus orchestral charts. John’s bass line is literally the one Enesco wrote down in his score and I heard immediately the melodies played with our ensemble. Shifting moods & tempos, big band themes along with byzantine like melodies, groove and open solos … it’s all in there.
Writing these notes and knowing that the ensemble will tour in the following years, I feel blessed to be part of this music and very proud to spread the “gospel” of Enesco in the world.http://revistamuzicala.radioromaniacultural.ro/?p=14699http://revistamuzicala.radioromaniacultural.ro/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/lucian-ban-ot-brooklyn_25242800.jpghttp://revistamuzicala.radioromaniacultural.ro/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/lucian-ban-ot-brooklyn_25242800-150x150.jpgAVATAR ENESCU