The study presents several interpretative suggestions made from the perspective of the accompanying pianist that played Alban Bergʼs Sieben frühe Lieder. Why this topic? Because in the Romanian music literature, there is nothing written about the song cycle Sieben frühe Lieder by Alban Berg, which is a representative work in the history of the art song. The theme, addressed in the literature written abroad, is treated mostly from a musicological standpoint. That is why we considered it useful to make some observations of an interpretative nature. They will become relevant if read in parallel with the PhD thesis entitled Alban Bergʼs “Sieben frühe Lieder”: An Analysis of Musical Structures and Selected Performances, written by Lisa A. Lynch (the only documentary source that proposes in-depth syntactic analyses of the work, associated with valuable interpretative suggestions made from a vocal perspective). We also considered useful, during the study, the comparison between the two variants of the work: the chamber/voice-piano version and the orchestral version. The analysis of the symphonic text was carried out intending the observation of significant details useful for realizing an expressive duo performance. Of course, our interpretative suggestions are a variant between many others. However, irrespective of dynamic, agogic, timbral, and articulation elements highlighted by the various performances, the reference point of any interpretative view remains the musical text, whose syntactic wealth opens up a generous semantic area.
Antonin Reicha (1770-1826) was a reputed Czech composer, theorist and teacher, who studied in Germany, and was naturalized French, who composed numerous musical works in different genres and wrote several treatises on different aspects of the sound art. An important place in Reichaʼs artistic heritage is occupied by the didactic cycles, which represent examples of works that happily combine instructional and artistic purposes, being developed as a support for the composerʼs didactic activity and at the same time as a supplement to his theoretical writings. The author emphasizes repeatedly that the theory must be justified by practice and that the student must know the principles of the contemporary composition and not just the old rules by which the predecessors were guided. This article examines Reichaʼs didactic cycles, among which we find collections of fugues, variations, duets and trios, as well as some collections of studies. Considering the large number of works named by Reicha Studies he can rightly be considered one of the parents of this genre in French music. But in Reichaʼs case, the aim of the studies is not only to cultivate virtuosity itself, but rather complex exercises that involve both the “technological” processes of interpretation and the “spiritual” ones. In our opinion, the figure of this musician, his theoretical writings and compositional works eloquently illustrate the dialectical relationship between tradition and innovation on the one hand and the complex relationship between musical theory and practice on the other.
Written between 1990 and 2009, my seven works for string quartet: Poems for string Quartet and 6 numbered Quartets approach different modal languages, from prepentatonic or pentatonic structures to heptachordic or dodecaphonic configurations, sometimes overlapping musical languages, generating those polymorphous languages, with moments of overlapping or juxtaposing of syntaxes, with a motivic cycling determinant of a conceptual unit of works linked to synthetic, elaborate thinking. Pluripartite, seen as suites of miniatures (String Quartet No. 3, Poems for string quartet), tripartite (Quartets No. 2, 4, 5, 6) or monopartite (Quartet No. 1), the 7 String Quartets are written in the sphere of formal patterns caused by construction based on dramaturgy inspired by literary works (see Quartet No. 5 inspired by Winter at Lisbon by Antonio Munoz Molina, see Poems for string quartet and Quartet no. 3 inspired by my own poems from the volumes Hiding places of Masks and Egyptian Mystery), from the contemplation of the chordal sonorities of some tonal-functional relations or of some jazz sonorities (Quartet No. 4), of a Byzantine song or children’s songs (Quartet No. 3), of philosophical meditations (see Quartet No. 1), of sonorities belonging to the Romanian song and dance (Quartet No. 6) or of some concision and refinement as reflections of Webern’s music, overlaying on small temporal spaces different musical languages belonging to different tuning systems (Poems for string quartet). The first audition of String quartets was at the International Festivals of the Musical Autumn of Cluj and Cluj Modern Festival (1990, 1993, 1999, 2001, 2003, performers: Concordia Quartet: Albert Markos, Grigore Botar, Olimpiu Moldovan, Adalbert Torok), as well as at the International Meridian Festival, Bucharest (2018, Quartet No. 6 played by the Ad Hoc Quartet: Vlad Răceu, Diana Man, Ovidiu Costea, Vlad Rațiu, musical management: Matei Pop).
The journal Biserica Ortodoxă Română [The Romanian Orthodox Church] was founded on November 17, 1873, at the initiative of Romania’s Primate Metropolitan Nifon Rusailă (1789-1875). The aim of the publication – whose first issue was launched on October 1, 1874 – was to inform the clergy and believers about the activity of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church. In the 146 years since the publication of its first issue, the journal’s contributors have included outstanding personalities of the Romanian Orthodoxy, such as Priest-Professors Dumitru Stăniloae, Ioan G. Coman, Ene Branişte, Liviu Stan, Mircea Păcurariu, Ion Bria a.o. Church music was present in the journal’s pages both through articles, studies and reviews, and through scores of choral or psaltic works written by Church servants among whom Bishop Melchisedec Ștefănescu of Roman at the end of the 19th century, or Deacon Grigore Panțiru, Professor Nicolae Lungu, Priest-Professor Gheorghe Șoima, Archd. Sebastian Barbu-Bucur, Ph.D., Priest-Professors Constantin Drăgușin, Nicu Moldoveanu, Alexie Buzera a.o. in the 20th century. This paper summarizes these contributions and shows how the change of political regime in mid-20th-century Romania influenced the topics of the articles and the religious musical works published in the journal of the Romanian Patriarchate.
Musical-theatrical pieces of the nineteenth century, propagated by Italian, French and German troops, were an inspiration for Romanian composers. They will create similar fashionable musical theatre genres, in Romanian, for entertainment purposes. Works placed on the border between vaudeville and the lyrical genre can be identified in the creation of the newly emerging genre of operetta: such pieces are the compositions of Alexandru Flechtenmacher, Eduard Wachmann, Eduard Caudella. In the cultural atmosphere of the time, patriotic musician Ciprian Porumbescu (1853-1883) would find the perfect way to put a longstanding artistic wish into practice: to compose an operetta, following the success of his humorous musical-theatre pieces Cisla and Candidatul Linte [Candidate Linte]. A multifarious personality, a lover of folklore and of his nation, Ciprian Porumbescu – one of the founders of the national school of music – contributed to the authenticity and identity of the Romanian musical language through his extensive works; one important contribution is the composition of the first Romanian cultivated operetta Crai Nou [New Moon] (1882). As a tribute to his art, on the centenary of his birth, the creator of the operetta Crai nou becomes the protagonist of the operetta Lăsați-mă să cânt [Let me sing] (1954) by Gherase Dendrino, set during the time of the staging of Porumbescuʼs musical-dramatic work. Crai Nou and Lăsați-mă să cânt are highlights of the Romanian lyrical theatre, from the artistic past and present, and hold their position as musical pieces frequently performed and received with interest and enthusiasm.
In this paper I attempt a brief analysis of the concept of ‘authenticity’ from musicological and philosophical perspectives. This term bears important metaphysical presuppositions. A good example is the complex meaning and the central role this term has in one of the most influential philosophy books in the 20th century: Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time. This term appears in a crucial point of the treatise: when man (Dasein) must turn his existence toward his intimate self in order to truthfully understand his own being. Notably, in this philosophical context, ‘authenticity’ refers to essential, hidden traits of one individual being in accordance with their way of thinking, feeling and overall behavior. When you are not authentic you submit yourself to impersonal existence. These connotations have common cultural roots with those within musicology, in the latter referring to contemporary debates concerning theoretical difficulties about the historical informed performance movement as held especially by the musicologist Richard Taruskin. In this case, ‘being in accordance’ would mean that certain characteristics considered essential to a musical work are satisfied by the interpretation of the work. The ontological problem concerns the manner in which we conceive the reference of the expression ‘musical work’ and the nature of musical experiences in general. The well-known aesthetician T.W. Adorno, following remarks by Walter Benjamin, criticized Heidegger’s treatment of the concept of ‘authenticity’ for the reason behind it is simply cultural presuppositions from that time, not metaphysical truths. I will argue that, philosophically, neither can fully sustain strong theses and instead propose ‘authenticity’ to mean ‘accordance’ between internal characteristics of a musical work and the interpreter’s personal, but at the same time informed, vision of the same work.
Constantin Silvestri was a man, an artist who reached the peaks of glory as well as the depths of despair. He was a composer whose modern visions were too complex for his peers to undestand and accept, but which nevertheless stood the test of time. He was an improvisational pianist with amazing technique and inventive skills, and was obsessed with the score in the best sense of the word. He was a musician well liked and supported by George Enescu and Mihail Jora. He was a conductor whose interpretations of any opus, particularly Romantic, captivate from the very first notes; the movements of the baton, the expression of his face, even one single look successfully brought to life the oeuvres of various composers, endowing them with expressiveness, suppleness and a modern character that few other composers have ever managed to achieve. Regarded as a very promising conductor, a favourite with the audiences, wanted by the orchestras in Bucharest in the hope of creating new repertoires, Constantin Silvestri was nevertheless quite the problematic musician for the Romanian press. Newly researched documents reveal fragments from this musician’s life as well as the features of a particular time period in the modern history of Romanian music.
The present study sets out to analyze and to present the main aspects of composer C. Țăranu’s symphonic works in the 21st century. The fourteen symphonic works composed from 2005 to 2018 represent an important contribution to the contemporary symphonic landscape. Due to the extremely extensive material, I divided the work in two parts: in the first one, I presented the symphonic works with historical-cultural references and in the second part the concertante works for the saxophone and the symphonies themselves. To the diversity of chosen there themes corresponds an enormous variety of means of expression in which we detect the permanence of a complex post-serial “post-Enescian” language of synthesis of the most innovative compositional procedures of the 20th century, with essences of ancient Romanian or universal music. The conclusions include a synthesis of the strategies of musical dramaturgy, comprising common elements of language that configure composer C. Țăranu’s original, unique and unitary style in the seven symphonic works on display.
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s perspective on humankind and society continues to intrigue any reader, whether specialized or from other areas of activity, due to the universality of the topics and the complexity of the characters involved. The novel entitled The Player depicts the life and specific concerns of 19th-century world society, a subject which attracted Sergey Prokofiev to compose a work with the same title, at the beginning of the 20th century. His opera is a unique work through the avant-garde musical language, the atypical construction of the discourse, the elements of style and conception of the libretto in relation to the original source. These elements generate a multiple correlation between the Dostoevskian prose, literary theory, the philosophy of language through studies and volumes of hermeneutic analysis, such as those signed by critic and semiotician Mikhail Bakhtin, on which we will focus our attention during this research. The terminology used by Bakhtin (dialogism, polyphony, ventrilogism, carnival) indicates a profound insight into the connection between Dostoevsky’s prose and the theatrical, dramatic, lyrical, musical aspects of the epic substratum in his novels. At the same time, Dostoevsky was an involuntary forerunner of the artistic movement initiated in Western Europe by German composers – Expressionism –, which also had echoes in the works of Russian composers from the first half of the last century, as we shall see in Sergey Prokofiev’s approach of The Gambler.
The musical language of George Enescu (1881-1955) is sprinkled with symbolic valences that carry the imprint of the Romanian musical culture. For more than half of a century (57 years), Enescu wrote musical works inspired by the folkloric tradition. Between the Romanian Poem, written when he was 16 (in 1897) and the Chamber Symphony, when he was 73 (in 1954), Enescu also composed: Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 (A major), op. 11 (in 1901), Romanian Rhapsody No. 2 (D major), op. 11 (in 1902), Sonata for piano and violin No. 3, A minor (in 1926), Caprice Roumain, for violin and orchestra (in 1928), Orchestral Suite No. 3 (From the country), op. 27, D major (in 1938) and the programmatic suite Impresii din copilărie [Impressions of Childhood for violin and piano], op. 28 in D major (composed in 1940). The paper presents the temporal-spatial structure of the musical masterpiece which reveals a cyclical thinking based on a presentation of the exterior images, followed by the interior images and a return to the exterior. And by an extrapolation of meanings, I created an analogy with the stages of life: childhood, maturity and old age. This article also deals with elements of the musical language used by George Enescu in a manner that reveals a re-created Romanian folklore in a way which bears the imprint of personality and originality of the composer.