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George Enescu’s Romanian Poem Premieres on in Celebration of Romania’s National Day

The George Enescu International Festival invites music lovers to the première of Enescu’s Romanian Poem on, to celebrate the Romanian National Day. The Romanian Poem was performed for the first time at the Enescu Festival in 2017, at the Romanian Athenaeum, by the French orchestra Les Siècles and the Royal Choir, under the baton of maestro François-Xavier Roth. The recording of this concert can be viewed free of charge starting Monday, November 30, until the eve of the Winter Holidays, by accessing this link.

Romanian Poem (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, 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.

The première of the Romanian Poem was given in Paris, in January 1898, under Édouard Colonne. Enescu himself conducted the first Bucharest performance, in March 1899. Dedicated to Queen Elisabeta of Romania, the Poem was not performed on the Romanian stage between 1948 and 1989 for political reasons, as the work ends by 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.

Together with the documentary World in Harmony, about the 2019 Enescu Festival, the Romanian Poem concert recording represents the George Enescu International Festival’s contribution to the digital campaign launched by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the Romanian National Day, to promote Romanian culture internationally through its more than 150 diplomatic missions and consular offices.