Theodor Grigoriu, a reference figure for the XXth century Romanian music, as a senior of the post-enescian generation of composers, with a moderately modern attitude towards composing, had explored the expresive resources of the human voice in the vocal-symphonic and vocal-chamber genres. Although, from a quantitative point of view, his voice and piano works are not too numerous and the vocal-chamber genre had not been a constant focus of the composer, lied remains one of the most representative areas of his entire creation, marked by an accomplished literary taste and harmoniously neighboured by the halo of poetry. The lied had marked Theodor Grigoriu’s professional existence, beginning with the first childhood experiments which proved decisive for his future career, up to the inconstant achievements of his creative maturity. Although approached in a non-consistent manner, the diversity, mastery of composition and the abutment to works from a more ample genre to which he resonates and configures genuine “creation laboratories”, the voice and piano cycles of works represent what can truthfully be called lied creation. Letter to birds on words by St. Francisc of Assisi (2004) and The iconographer – The poem of a church painter (2011) on words of a patriarchal, novel text with no poetic aspirations, are the last lieder of Theodor Grigoriu, published posthumously. As a binding of music and poetry into a one poethico-musical universe, they are an exponent of accumulations and transformations of musical language, spectacular compositions, of paramount originality, which harmoniously complete the spiraled path of the genre in the context of the composer’s entire creation.
In 2018, Romanians celebrate the Centenary – a hundred years since Romania had the largest territory ever inhabited primarily by Romanians, at the same time, a century since Romania as a modern country was born. What do we know about our history in the last one hundred years? What and why do we celebrate? We know too little; many of the Romanians participating in the celebration do not know what it is for. The torrent of pathetic and solemn words about the past is useless. I followed two paths side by side, which happen to be in a natural connection, but sometimes they also go through distinct stages: on one hand, the course of the main historical events from the beginning of World War I until now, and on the other hand, Romanian musical life during the same period. I will cover five historical stages (World War I, Interwar Period and World War II, Soviet Occupation, Ceauşescuʼs era and Post-Communist Period) pursuing four main aims: a) an explicit historical image (as a musician I had a relatively narrow perspective on general historical facts); b) completing superficial knowledge received in school (before 1989) with information to justify certain events; c) the relationship between history–culture–music, in support of the idea that art does not exclude knowledge and civic involvement, on the contrary; d) the Past justifies the Present and together they work upon the Future. In the epilogue I will reveal an example that I consider illustrative for this fourth aim: the project Saving Enescu’s Cottage from Mihăileni. I have made this study mainly for my own benefit, in order to understand the historical facts, but especially to find an answer to the question: knowing history – what’s the use?
Written in the year of Romania’s centennial anniversary as a national state, this paper intends to offer a panorama of the monodic music of Byzantine tradition of the period, composed by the Romanian chanters. Although the entire twentieth century was characterized by the harmonization of the already established church chants, the musical works written in neumatic notation specific to the Orthodox Church continue to exist, albeit discontinuously. Based on the political changes that occurred in the Romanian society, three distinct periods of psaltic music creation can be distinguished: a. 1918-1947; b.1948-1989; c.1990-2018. The first period coincides with the last stage of the process of “Romanianization” of church chants. The second one corresponds to the communist period and is marked by the Communist Party’s decisions regarding the Church, namely the attempt to standardise the church chants. After 1990, psaltic music regains its position and the compositions of the last two decades enrich its repertoire with new collections of chants. Thus, we can see that in the course of a century marked by political turmoil and changes, psaltic composition went on a hiatus in the first decades of the totalitarian regime, to gradually resurge after 1980, enriched with numerous works bearing a distinct Romanian stamp.
Sound banks are collections of sound samples from musical instruments of the symphonic orchestra, traditional instruments from various areas of the world and sounds of virtual devices, such as synthesizers, which are increasingly present in contemporary musical creations. Sound banks are loaded in a device called sampler, which can edit and play them. The article describes analog and especially virtual samplers, complex devices that can store or play sounds from specific libraries of sound banks. It also defines and catalogs the main types of digital virtual instruments (that include traditional symphonic orchestra instruments, ones with modern electronic instruments/percussion instruments, and ethnic collections for various geographic areas. Our research on digital applications used in music writing relies on 20 years of experience. Currently, applications are valuable tools for composers and musicians, and for everyone in the contemporary music industry. In 2006, I created the first collection of sound banks made in Romania “The Essence of Panflute”, library containing sound samples 583, grouped in 33 virtual instruments. This is the most complex virtual version of the Romanian pan flute, played by the renowned Cătălin Tîrcolea. The library is designed and edited by Cătălin Răsvan, for the company S.C. Canira Music Internațional. This collection of sound banks presents in minute detail the laborious process of recording and editing this virtual library. “The Essence of Panflute” has seen international acclaim, is distributed by the German company Best Service, one of the major companies in the world, was reviewed in the most prestigious magazine in this field, Sound on Sound, and has opened the door for current/future creators of music. We hope that it is only the beginning for our work in the research and development of digital virtual sound, which is a special category for the instruments in our country.
Borne from the relevant and efficient expression in the context of contemporary culture, neo-protestant choral spirituality uses a diversified and meaningful language. From the very beginning of the existence of neo-protestant cults on the territory of our country, the establishment of a liturgical repertoire intended for common intonation or by various choral or vocal-instrumental bands has been one of the primordial preoccupations. Along with choral creations translated from the universal literature, there is a significant number of original works created by Romanian composers within the religious services. Due to extremely diverse themes and extrovert character, neo-protestant choral music includes different styles specific to the great tradition of classical, romantic or modern music as well as influences from the extra-European sphere. The text of these creations, which has biblical inspiration or created by the composer, is a means of great diversification in the reproduction of the sound material. Composers and arrangers with high quality music training and a profound understanding of biblical truths, through sound art wanted to contribute to the enrichment of contemporary neo-protestant choral music repertoire, leaving posterity a significant amount of valuable choral pages as inheritance.
This study aims to analyze the variational principle, as it is applied in Dinu Lipatti’s Sonatina for Violin and Piano, from a theoretical-analytical perspective, but also from the standpoint of the interpretative implications. The variational processes, in close connection with the specificity of the neoclassical language of the work, determine an atypical classification of the form of variations in the gender structure, which implies a resizing of the interpretative means by which the musical dramaturgy of the piece can be achieved. The comparison with the classic model of variations as a component of the sonata genre dedicated to the violin-piano duo, as it appears in the works of composers such as Mozart or Beethoven, as a method of analytical research, highlights the language aspects that condition the performer’s vision in the case of Lipatti’s Sonatina, such as character, tempo, metrics, the type of writing, elements of virtuosity or timbre, whose valences are distinct from those determined by a music discourse from the classical era. Understanding the correlation between the succession of movements and the composition of the variational plan constitutes a priority in approaching this work and shaping the desired artistic message; this is why the study attempts to highlight the necessary connection between the structural elements of the composition and those implicitly generated by them, namely the technical and expressive elements required by the interpretative act.
Music is a universal force, a widely spread mean of communication on the entire planet, because it has a strong ability to influence human emotions, even without words (when referring to instrumental or symphonic music). Thus, music is one of the most challenging arts in ‘deciphering’ the hidden message of its creator. The present paper is focused on three analytical techniques which imposed themselves in the musicology field of the 20th century – structuralism, semiotics, narratology. Our purpose is to offer a general outlook on these perspectives and some specific principles of applicability when approaching a musical score, in terms of formal construction, sonorous structures, equivalence classes applied to musical elements, energetic potential of musical isotopes using modal verbs, essential aspects in determining the narrative frame (spatiality, temporality, actoriality). Structuralism, semiotics and narratology emerged as independent sciences successively, during half a century, influencing each other in a stimulating coexistence which enabled a wide scientific opening until present.
In late 19th-century periodicals, music criticism captured only a few details on the composition techniques, the structural organization, the rhythmic-melodic or vocal and stage interpretation of various performances. The press shed light on these pieces only at an informative level, mentioning titles, composers, and interpreters and even omitting some details due to, on the one hand, the authorities’ indifference to the musical phenomenon and, on the other hand, the editors’ sheer ignorance of particular stylistic or musical language features. However, the attempts made by the personalities active in the cultural and artistic life were real and unrelenting, their results being guided by the desire to promote music with specific national traits. This study provides an analytical perspective on the current reception of that social-artistic context. Taking into account that new sources have favored a more detailed and profound investigation of the 19th-century critical phenomenon, our analysis supplements the information presented in the music history studies already published in Romania. Consequently, the first section of this paper approaches the extremely dynamic phenomenon represented by the creation of new journals / newspapers in the 19th century. It is our belief that starting from general journalism we can acquire a better understanding of the development of musical criticism. This research aimed to discover new dimensions of Iași-based music, placing special emphasis on the critical reception of the composer Alexandru Flechtenmacher. We have followed its reflection in the Romanian press, starting from the first accounts in this respect, and ending with the subsequent assessments formulated in 20th-century musicology. Although the texts that tackle musical issues are quite few and social aspects prevail in the commentators’ list of interests, by combining the information provided by general literary/historical/social sources with the details included in specialized articles we can create a new perspective on late 19th-century Iași-based compositions.
The topic approached in this paper aims to identify the structural similarities between the verbal and the musical language and to highlight the process of decoding the musical message through the structural analogy between them. The process of musical perception and musical decoding involves physiological, psychological and aesthetic phenomena. Besides receiving the sound waves, it implies complex cognitive processes being activated, whose aim is to decode the musical material at cerebral level. Starting from the research methods in cognitive psychology, music researchers redefine the process of musical perception in a series of papers in musical cognitive psychology. In the case of the analogy between language and music, deciphering the musical structure and its perception are due, according to researchers, to several common structural configurations. A significant model for the description of the musical structure is Noam Chomsky’s generative-transformational model. This claimed that, at a deep level, all languages have the same syntactic structure, on account of innate anatomical and physiological structures which became specialized as a consequence of the universal nature of certain mechanisms of the human intellect. Chomsky’s studies supported by sophisticated experimental devices, computerised analyses and algorithmic models have identified the syntax of the musical message, as well as the rules and principles that underlie the processing of sound-related information by the listener; this syntax, principles and rules show surprising similarities with the verbal language. The musicologist Heinrich Schenker, 20 years ahead of Chomsky, considers that there is a parallel between the analysis of natural language and that of the musical structure, and has developed his own theory on the structure of music. Schenker’s structural analysis is based on the idea that tonal music is organized hierarchically, in a layering of structural levels. Thus, spoken language and music are governed by common rules: phonology, syntax and semantics. Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff develop a musical grammar where a set of generating rules are defined to explain the hierarchical structure of tonal music. The authors of the generative theory propose the hypothesis of a musical grammar based on two types of rules, which take into account the conscious and unconscious principles that govern the organization of the musical perception. The structural analogy between verbal and musical language consists of several common elements. Among those is the hierarchical organization of both fields, a governance by the same rules – phonology, syntax, semantics – and as a consequence of the universal nature of certain mechanisms of the human intellect, decoding the transmitted message is accomplished thanks to some universal innate structures, biologically inherited. Also, according to Chomsky's linguistics model a musical grammar is configured, one governed by wellformed rules and preference rules. Thus, a musical piece is not perceived as a stream of disordered sounds, but it is deconstructed, developed and assimilated at cerebral level by means of cognitive pre-existing schemes.