Cantabile and Presto by George Enescu
I dare say that everything came from the bottom of my heart!
Romanian violinist, conductor, teacher and composer, George Enescu, began to play the piano when he was 4, taking lessons with a Gypsy violinist, Nicolas Chioru, and began composing when he was 5. In August 1889, he made his formal debut as a violinist in Slánic, Moldavia. He had enrolled in the Conservatory of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (1888), where he studied violin with Sigismund Bachrich, J. Glün, and Joseph hellmesberger, piano with L. Ernst; harmony, counterpoint, and composition with R. Fuchs; chamber music with J. Hellmesberger, and music history with A. Prosnitz, winning 1st prizes in violin and harmony (1892). After his graduation (1894), he entered the Paris Conservatory, where he studied violin with Armand Marsick and J. White, harmony with Pierre-Max Dubois and Thomas, counterpoint with André Gédalge, composition with Gabriel Faure and Jules Massenet, and early music with Diémer, winning 2nd accessit for counterpoint and fugue (1897) and graduating with the premier prix for violin (1899). At the same time, he also studied cello, organ, and piano, attaining more than ordinary proficiency on each.In June 1897, George Enescu presented in Paris a concert of his works, which attracted the attention of Colonne, who releases composer’s op. 1, Poème roumain, the next year. He also launched his conducting career in Bucharest in 1898.
The Cantabile and Presto was composed for the 1904 concours. Early in his career, Enescu wrote several pieces to be used as test pieces in the Paris Conservatoire’s annual instrumental competitions. This miniature for flute and piano is one of the earliest and is dedicated to Paul Taffanel, flautist and Professor at the Conservatoire and one of the most important figures in the development of a French tradition of wind playing in the early twentieth century. Premièred in 1904.