As an overachieving violinist/conductor/teacher, George Enescu (1881-1955) was internationally celebrated: He graced the world's greatest stages with his instrument, he was offered the New York Philha

As an overachieving violinist/conductor/teacher, George Enescu (1881-1955) was internationally celebrated: He graced the world's greatest stages with his instrument, he was offered the New York Philharmonic after Toscanini, and Yehudi Menuhin was his protégé. But beyond a few pieces flecked with the folk strains of his native Romania, Enescu's achievements as a composer have gone under-recognized. If any recording has the potential to change this, it is this revelatory disc by Gidon Kremer; the ever-intrepid Latvian violinist leads his young Kremerata Baltica in two illustrative, rarely heard scores: the early Octet (1900) and latter-day Piano Quintet (1940). The post-Brahmsian Romanticism of the half-hour-plus Octet thrills from its bold opening measures on, with a thread of emotive melody throughout; moreover, the performance is of such robust drive that you never question this work's status as a masterpiece. While not quite as riveting, the Quintet isn't far behind, and the performance is, again, tremendous. The ideal sound and beautiful packaging only add to the allure of this very special recording.—BB

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