Saturday, May 07, 2011

Wrong setup – George Enescu

Famous Romanian violinist, composer, pianist, conductor and teacher George Enescu (1881-1955) was once asked by a distinguished fellow compatriot to take care of musical career of his son, who had ambitions to become a violinist.

Unfortunately, that boy was not musically gifted but since Enescu owed a big favor to his friend, he agreed to do it.

He tried really hard to teach the boy how to play, but his efforts were without much success. Through his contacts he even managed to arrange him a debut concert in the Gavo Concert Hall in Paris.

Since he didn’t have the courage to ask of some pianist to accompany the unskilled violinist on the stage, Enesku took on himself that ungrateful task.

Before the concert, he asked the audience if there is anyone willing to assist him by turning pages for him while he is following the violinist. Alfred Cortot, at that time the most famous pianist in France, volunteered immediately.

As might have been assumed, the concert was a disaster.

Two days later, daily newspaper Le Figaro published a review of the concert. The article was brief, but eloquent:

Last night, at the Gavo Concert Hall, a curious event took place. It was a violin and piano recital at which the man who played the piano should have been playing the violin and the man turning the pages should have been playing the piano, while the man playing the violin should have been turning the pages!

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