George Enescu: Serenade Lointaine
George Enescu composed his beautiful Serenade Lointaine for piano trio when he was only 21 years old. Although composed in 1903, the piece was never published, with it only in recent years being found and explored by a dedicated Enescu trio. There is very little written about this trio, but we do know that the title of the piece shows Enescu’s stylings, with ‘Lointaine’ meaning ‘distant’ in French.
Standing at only 4 minutes in duration, this short work explores the Romantic side of the piano trio set up. Opening with a warm theme by the strings, the piano accompanied with a sparse chordal theme. The minor tonality here adds an edge to the initial harmony of the piece. The violin and cello begin a call and response figure as the piano accompanies in the background. After some time apart the instruments unite for short unison phrases before veering off once more. The warmness of Enescu’s textures highlight his influences from the Romantic era, with the simple harmony also showing his younger style.
As the piano begins to play a more intricate part in the trio, the tempo of the music picks up somewhat. After a short general pause, the new section begins, which sees the violin and cello reach into their upper ranges. Another call and response figure plays out before the instruments beautifully interweave with one another. As the main theme is heard for the final time, the mood of the trio drops as the trio play out a mournful coda. A final few quiet chords decorated by the piano end this warm trio.
Ⓒ Alex Burns