Ettore Causa (Viola) and Lorena Țecu (Piano) at RCI's Enescu Soirees of New York
Updated: Apr 27
An irresistible program of works by Brahms, Fauré, and Enescu
The Enescu Soirees of New York spring season kicks off with a superlative duo made up of virtuoso violist and professor at Yale School of Music, Ettore Causa, and acclaimed Romanian-American pianist and educator, Lorena Țecu. Join us on April 21st for an irresistible program featuring works by Romania’s ultimate maestro, George Enescu, and by two of the musicians he admired the most – his youth idol Johannes Brahms and his composition teacher and mentor, Gabriel Fauré. This soiree is dedicated to the memory of piano genius Radu Lupu, one of the greatest musicians of our times, who passed away age 76 this week.
Johannes Brahms - Sonata No. 1, in G Major, Op. 78
Gabriel Fauré - Andante, Op. 75
George Enescu - Konzertstück (concert piece)
Awarded both the “P. Schidlof Prize” and the “J. Barbirolli Prize” for “the most beautiful sound” at the prestigious Lionel Tertis International Viola competition in 2000, Italian-born violist ETTORE CAUSA is praised for his exceptional artistry, passionate intelligence and complete musicianship. He has made solo and recital appearances in major venues around the world, such as Carnegie Hall, Zurich Tonhalle, Madrid National Auditorium, Salle Cortot, Tokyo Symphony Hall, Teatro Colon, etc., and has performed at numerous international festivals, such as the Menuhin, Salzburg, Tivoli, Prussia Cove, Savonlinna, Launadire, and Norfolk Festivals. Also a devoted chamber musician, Causa has collaborated extensively with internationally renowned musicians such as the Tokyo, Artis, Brentano, Cremona and Elias String Quartets, Pascal Rogé, Boris Berman, Peter Frankl, Thomas Ades, Natalie Clein, Ana Chumachenco, Ani Kavafian, Alberto and Antonio Lysy, Liviu Prunaru, William Bennett and others. Having studied at the International Menuhin Music Academy with Alberto Lysy and Johannes Eskar, and later at the Manhattan School of Music with Michael Tree, then having taught both viola and chamber music for many years at the International Menuhin Music Academy, Causa joined the faculty of the Yale School of Music in 2009. He has recorded many highly-regarded CDs on the Claves label, including Romantic Transcriptions for Viola and Piano, on which he performs his own transcriptions and which was awarded a prestigious “5 Diapasons” by the French magazine Diapason. His latest CD of Brahms works with Clive Greensmith and Boris Berman for the Le Palais de Dégustateur label was given the distinguished “CHOC de Classica” award by France’s esteemed Classica magazine. Ettore Causa was one of the guests of honor at the 43rd International Viola Congress where he performed with enormous success his own arrangement of the Schumann cello concerto being awarded by the British Viola Society the Honorary Membership in recognition of his enormous contribution to the viola community. During 2020-2021, he was visiting professor at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin.
Romanian-American pianist LORENA ȚECU graduated from The National University of Music Bucharest, where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Piano Performance. Lorena completed her Artist Diploma in Collaborative Piano at Boston University, where she studied with Shiela Kibbe. She is a prize winner of the International Piano Competition Citta di Catanzaro and the International Piano Competition Citta di Marsala in Italy. She was awarded the Special Prize for Best Romanian Collaborative Pianist. Lorena has been an assistant professor at The National University of Music Bucharest. While holding this position, she was the pianist of many acclaimed artists. She was selected by Lord Yehudi Menuhin to be the pianist for the famous International Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland, where she performed concerts and toured with the Camerata Lysy Orchestra. She has been invited to perform at major festivals including: Mozarteum Festival in Salzburg-Austria, Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, Switzerland, Festival Lysy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dinu Lipatti Festival in Brasov, Romania, Music Festival in Estoril, Portugal, Tanglewood Institute in Lenox, M.A., Musicians for Europe in Sibiu, Romania and International Heifetz Music Institute in Wolfeboro, NH. Lorena performed a private concert with Camerata Lysy at the Castel Gandolfo, Italy for the Pope John Paul II. Her CD with violinist Alberto Lysy, “Romantic Pieces for Violin and Piano” was released under Dinemec Geneva, Switzerland. Since September 2009, she has been the official pianist at the International “George Enescu” Violin Competition in Bucharest, Romania. During the summers of 2011-2017 she has been invited to perform in Maxim Vengerov’s master classes during the “Rencontres Musicales” in Coppet, Switzerland. Since 2013, she has been the pianist of the String Academy at the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, Switzerland. In 2018 she joined the faculty as a pianist at the Academia Isola Classica in Italy. At present, Lorena is a staff pianist at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and the Boston University College of Fine Arts.
More about the program:
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) - Sonata No. 1, in G Major, Op. 78 Regensonate
Transcription for viola by Thomas Rieble and Ettore Causa
I. Vivace ma non troppo
III. Allegro molto moderato
"Brahms' three violin sonatas are all extraordinary masterpieces that occupy their own rarefied world of elegant construction, romantic sweep and exquisite beauty. The designation of Sonata for Piano and Violin significantly expresses the equal partnership of both instruments in this chamber music for two. While the violin often sings first and foremost, Brahms frequently switches the parts giving theme and accompaniment a deeper sounding through new sonorities and "inverted" textures. The two parts generally imitate, echo and intertwine for a balanced chamber unity with ample lyricism and virtuosity for both players. Brahms published his first sonata for piano and violin in 1879 at the relatively advanced age of 46, though, typical of his history, it seems that he may have consigned at least three previous sonatas to the fire of unremitting self-criticism. The Sonata in G Major, Op. 78 thus emerges as an astonishing "first" sonata by any standard; it is a magical work full of graceful tenderness, nobility, bursting intensity and sacred repose with a wealth of cyclic interconnections. It is a romantic sonata in the truest sense: there are literary and musical allusions to rain throughout and the prevailing serenity often gives rise to poignant reflection and nostalgia. It is revealing to touch upon each of its movements backwards, starting with the finale. The title Regensonate ("Rain Sonata") refers to the fact that Brahms reused one of his own art songs titled Regenlied ("Rain Song") to create the third movement finale." (Kai Christiansen)
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) - Andante in B-flat major, Op. 75
Transcription for viola by Ettore Causa
"This short 5 minutes work was composed by Fauré in 1897 when he was 51 years old and is dedicated to one of his friends, Dutch violinist Johannes Wolff (1861-1931). The work takes up themes from the Violin Concerto that Faure had partially composed in 1878-79 and is quite perfect. A pleasant theme develops along a syncopated accompaniment that could be a melody itself. The central section has more passion to it. When the main element comes back, the piano part sounds more ardent. Reminiscing aspects from the central section reappear in the conclusion. The piece was first performed at the Société nationale de musique on January 22, 1898."
(excerpt from Fauré: Intégrale de la Musique de Chambre avec Piano by Eric Le Sage, Quatuor Ébène)
George Enescu (1881–1955) - Konzertstück (concert piece) for viola and piano
"Enescu was the greatest Romanian composer and conductor, and also one of the leading violinists of his generation. He commenced his studies at the Konservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna in 1888, and made his debut as a performer in Slănic (Romania) in 1889. In 1895 Enescu moved to Paris to study composition with Massenet and Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire. Enescu divided his time between France and Romania, and between performance and composition. As a performer, he appeared regularly with Alfred Cortot, Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals. Enescu’s Konzertstück was composed in 1906 in response to a commission from Fauré for a work for the annual viola concours at the Paris Conservatoire. This comission was designed to challenge the students’ technique. Thus the work again calls for virtuosic playing which combines frequent furious runs and double-stops with demanding lyrical writing. Unlike the vast majority of pieces composed for competitions, the Konzertstück has established itself in the viola repertoire."