Peter Ruzicka has hardly any equals when it comes to championing contemporary music in German-speaking countries – in his capacities as a composer whose works are performed around the globe by all the leading orchestras and interpreters, as a conductor of prestigious orchestras, and as the former artistic director of the Salzburg Festival. On this release with the German Radio Philharmonic, the NDR Chorus, and the tenor Marius Vlad he conducts the German premieres of George Enescu’s Symphony No. 5 for tenor, female choir, and orchestra from 1941 and the symphonic adagio Isis.
These two works by the Rumanian composer Enescu defy classification and exist only in particella form. During the 1990s Pascal Bentoiu completed them and instrumented them in such a way that he might well qualify for consideration as their coauthor. In Isis, a symphonic poem for female choir and orchestra, the euphonious female voices are integrated into the orchestra in the manner of instruments. Enescu’s fifth symphony calls for a full complement of musicians lending it a powerful sound quality and is of folkloristic coloration. Absolutely enthralling! But, »even though he employs a fully instrumented orchestra, he very much produces a transparency almost verging on chamber music. The subtlest tonal mixings produce a special tension between the complexity of the musical moment and the indeterminate expectation of what is yet to come. Enescu’s ‘tonally
moving forms’ combine to produce what might be termed an endless melody, and later, in the fourth movement, this melody accommodates the human voice. The setting of the poem by Eminescu appears to sound from the faraway but nevertheless is stamped by a tonal interweave with a most highly richly colored orchestral part drawing on musical shapes from earlier movements« (Peter Ruzicka).