Poème roumain, Op. 1 (1897)
Poème roumain, Op. 1 is the first orchestral piece composed by George Enescu, in 1897, when he had graduated from the conservatoires of Vienna and Paris. Even though he was just 16 when he wrote it, this is a work of considerable achievement, as Enescu’s understanding of the orchestra was quite substantial. By that time, not only that he had already composed three of his four full-length study symphonies and a Violin Concerto, as well as a Ballad for violin and orchestra, a Tragic Overture, and a Fantasia for piano and orchestra, but he had also had the experience of playing in an orchestra and had appeared as a soloist.
The premiere of the Romanian Poem was given in Paris, in January 1898, under Edouard Collonne; Enescu himself conducted the first Bucharest performance in March 1899. The work was dedicated to Queen Elisabeta of Romania. Between 1948 and 1989 this piece was no longer performed on the Romanian stage for political reasons, as it ends quoting the Royal Anthem (Long Live the King), the Romanian national anthem between 1884 and 1948. It was included again in a concert of the Bucharest Philharmonic only in 1990.
Poème roumain was performed for the first time at the George Enescu International Festival during the 2017 edition, at the Romanian Athenaeum, by the French orchestra Les Siècles and the Royal Choir, under the baton of maestro François-Xavier Roth.
A new performance of this piece will be presented at the 25th edition of the George Enescu International Festival, in 2021.
The Jubilee Edition will unfold between August 28 and September 26, with an extremely ambitious program, featuring a stellar lineup of the world’s most renowned artists and orchestras. In 2021 we will also enjoy the 2020 Enescu Competition’s finals and special recitals, organized in May at the Romanian Athenaeum, in Bucharest.