If you live in Romania and went to the Google homepage today, you saw the image to the left because today marks 130 years since George Enescu was born. He is easily Romania’s most famous music composer and is currently featured on every single 5 lei note.
As I mentioned briefly in this post, last week I had the good fortune to be in Sinaia. In fact, our pensiune was just a two-minute stroll on foot to the home of George Enescu, which is now a museum (official website here in English). I knew very little about him before going but it was really quite a treat to see the home he built and lived in for many years, just a short ride away from Peles Castle.
There comes along in the history of the world just a handful of geniuses and Enescu was one of them, composing music from early childhood. Outside of Romania, he is probably best well known in France, where he spent many years composing, conducting and playing music in Paris, where he is known as “Georges Enesco” in their orthography.
Besides just the sheer strength of his talent and skill, Enescu is respected here in Romania because he composed several symphonies (and an opera) based on traditional Romanian folk melodies, thus preserving a key piece of heritage for a very young country just finding its identity in the wider world.
If you click here, you can see a wonderful YouTube video – the music is Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody while the visual parts are all still photographs of many of the beautiful, natural vistas here in Romania.