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March 4, 2021

The Great George Enescu, a generous man, a pure character, a model

’’To me, Enescu is the most extraordinary human being, the greatest musician, and the most powerful influence someone has ever had over me,’’ said Sir Yehudi Menuhin, renowned violinist and conductor.

Even as he worked hard all his life to fulfill his dream of becoming a composer and gave concerts throughout Europe, George Enescu never stopped contributing to the wellbeing of his country, festivalenescu.ro informs.
During the two World Wars George Enescu chose to stay in Romania, where he used to take the violin and play to the wounded in hospitals. “I had the chance, not only once, to see the ailing brighten up after just a few notes. This transformation of the soul is the supreme raison d’être of music. If it weren’t for its wonderful peacefulness and purifying echo, the music would be just an absurd sequence of sounds.”
George Enescu was dedicated also to the encouragement of young musicians. Many of the concerts he played in Sinaia or Bucharest supported local or national charitable causes. As the Honorary Director of the Romanian Musical Association, George Enescu made substantial donations to pay for musicians’ scholarships. In 1912 he took a tour through Romania and raised over a thousand sterling pounds – a huge amount of money at that time – in order to launch a national composition award.
What makes George Enescu a man of his word, not only a great musician? It is his dignity, his generosity, and the warmth he showed his friends.
The story of the friendship between painter Stefan Luchian and George Enescu, told by poet Tudor Arghezi, is now legendary. During Luchian’s final days, when the painter was bedridden, paralyzed and almost unable to speak, Arghezi paid him a visit one morning only to find him crying. He found out that in the course of that night, while Luchian was ailing in bed, Enescu came to his room, took out his violin and, without saying one word or even turning on the light, played for his friend for two hours tirelessly. All this in total modesty and discretion. A friend of the Maestro remembers that in his last years, although he was ill, he never asked for anything. “I stand corrected, he asked once for a spoonful of jam…”
But maybe the most powerful appreciation of George Enescu comes from his closest pupil, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, renowned violinist and conductor, and one of the most prestigious musicians of the 20th century. “To me, Enescu is the most extraordinary human being, the greatest musician, and the most powerful influence someone has ever had over me.”
He left Romania after the installation of communism
And still, following the Communist seizure of power in Romania, this talented man had to leave his country in 1946. He relocated to Paris, where – while he had devoted friends close and kept in touch with his Romanian friends as well – the years until his demise in 1955 were nothing else but an exile. In 1951, the Communist authorities of Romania invited him to come back as the patron of the Romanian Music Week. He demanded in exchange that Dimitrie Gusti and Constantin R?dulescu-Motru be readmitted to the Romanian Academy, and also that composer Mihail Jora’s wife be released from prison. Since his terms haven’t been met, George Enescu never returned to Romania. This stance makes sense when we read Yehudi Menuhin’s words about his Maestro, whose fatherly love he treasured – George Enescu was a “free and powerful man.”

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