George Enescu came from that region on the border of Romania known as Moldavia. Enescu divided his life between an international career based in Paris and an active involvement in Romanian music. He was also equally conflicted between the demands of composing, performing and teaching. His busy life as teacher, virtuoso and organiser allowed him little time for his creative work. As a violinist his repertoire ranged from Bach to his own works, most of them played from memory. It is also said that he could conduct the complete works of Wagner without a score. His violin tone was broad and rich, as a result of the Enescu vibrato, and he was able to achieve great expressive power through phrasing, so his line was reminiscent of a vocal cantabile. Yet he could also cultivate a more architectural style for Bach.
In this work, one of the great sonatas of the twentieth century, he works the styles of Romanian folk music, something akin to the way Bartók used his immersion in Hungarian folk music to colour his compositions. He presented Romanian music as a fund of modern styles: rhapsodic parlando rubato, rich ornamentation, clashing intervals of a second, quarter-tones, unusual playing techniques and a range of expression from the expectantly smouldering to the extravagantly impassioned. This enables the listener to gain spontaneous emotional access to the remarkable variety of the music. The violin makes much use of harmonics and portamento, while the piano is at times made to sound like a cimbalon, especially in the mysterious middle movement. Melodic augmented seconds abound, reminding one both of Romania’s long subjection to the Turks and of her very large gypsy population.