As a student of Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók, but also a close collaborator of László Lajtha at the Hungarian Ethnographic Museum in Budapest, and later of Béla Bartók at Folk Department of the Hungarian Academy of Science, Sándor Veress followed the path of his masters regarding the relation with folklore music. In 1930, he undertook an expedition in Moldavia, Romania, to collect music from the Csángó population, a small Hungarian speaking community, of catholic faith, living in the east of the Carpathian Mountains. In the seven villages he has visited, he collected, with the help of the phonograph, 138 folk songs on 57 wax cylinders, taking in the same time around 60 pictures and documenting the whole expedition in a journal. Following this journey, during the 30’s, Sándor Veress not only transcribed and analyzed the entire material, but also selected some of the melodies and used them as theme for his own choir arrangements and chamber music compositions.
For centuries, the study of personality has been a need for understanding human nature, but it also has become a scientific endeavour, starting with the first half of the twentieth century. Research in this matter has materialised through papers by important psychologists, who considered the unitary study of human beings, the understanding of their motivation, as well as the understanding of the psychological differences that make us unique. Thus, personality is a dynamic concept which reveals the behaviour of a person that allows the possibility of adapting to the environment. While her works are frequently performed in recitals and concerts, Carmen Petra-Basacopol is one of the most appreciated Romanian musicians also due to personality traits, which are undoubtedly reflected in her creation. The universe of sacred music has been a favourite field in her works and includes all musical genres, from chamber music to concerts. In this study I have planned to analyse musicologically three choral works with sacred orientation from the perspective of a psychological profile of the composer: Sacred songs for a capella mixed choir, op. 90; Sacred hymns for male choir, op. 112; Psalm triptych for a capella choir with female voices, op. 116. The proposed working tool for outlining the psychological profile, as well as the correlation of the studied works with the universe of sacred music is represented by the interview.
Mehterhane represents the most important musical formation found in the royal courts of Moldova and the Wallachia, because it is the one that makes the connection – from an artistic and political point of view – between these countries and the Ottoman Empire. The context in which this musical formation comes into the possession of the Romanian rulers is related to the geopolitical context of the Romanian Countries related to the Ottoman Empire. Due to the increasing influence of the Ottomans on the Romanian Countries, they become an integral part of the empire from the Ottoman perspective. As a result, the Romanian rulers received the sultan’s reign, in exchange for a sum of money, and they invested them according to Ottoman practice, by conferring a badge, as a representation of the sultan’s political power, among which elements were the mehterhane. This formation was the one that accompanied the ruler not only in all the official public events, but also in the private ones, assuring him the necessary grandeur, being as well regarded as a bey in the political hierarchy of the Gate from this point of view. From an artistic point of view, in Moldova and the Wallachia, the mehterhane had to be heard daily at dusk (chindie) and to make the parade, called “nöbet”. The music of mehterhane was both instrumental and vocal-instrumental, while the main repertoire consisted of military marches and prayers (gülbank), sung during war, while he performed octaves, bestels and semais following the structure of “fasıl” concerts, specific to Ottoman music in general during peacetime. Due to the psychological effect exerted on the enemies on the battlefield and the moralizing effect on the Ottoman soldiers, the mehterhane was also adopted by some European armies, without reaching the expected effect, due to the mismatch with the foreign environment where it was active. The more, it starts to become well known by Western influence and its musical influences are taken over by famous composers such as Mozart.
The present research focuses on the toccata in a contemporary stylistic context, as a revival of the Baroque toccata in the creation of a Romanian composer from Cluj-Napoca, Șerban Marcu. He is a representative of the mature school of composition, studying under the tutorship of the celebrated Romanian composer Cornel Țăranu. His style unveils a series of constant traits, such as the programmatic feature and the preference towards musical forms and genres pertaining to the Western musical tradition, among them the madrigal, the song, the bagatella, the variations, the suite, the étude, the tone poem, the ballet or even the opera. He wrote five toccatas over the span of a decade. The toccata – understood both as a musical genre and a composing technique – is to be found in his output either as a movement in a mini-suite (Free Preview, 2008), or as an autonomous work, written for solo instruments as the piano (Toccatina, 2017), the organ (Balkan Toccata, 2018), as well as for various chamber ensembles, each featuring, among other instruments, the piano (tocCaTa brevissima, 2014, Toccata impaziente, 2018). The analysis unfolds by taking as focal point a series of keywords that have circumscribed the term toccata within the musicological literature. These core concepts are further placed in relationship with various techniques – neo-baroque as well as modern ones – which are to be identified in Șerban Marcu’s output of toccatas. The analytical procedures focus on highlighting the tradition/innovation binomial and are layered by taking into discussion the parameters of the musical discourse, namely the form, the musical language, the idiomatic instrumental writing, the compositional techniques, as well as aesthetic aspects such as the playfulness, the comic, the irony, the bizarre, the caricature and the paraphrase.
The 20th century is the period of time when the specificities of Romanian culture were identified and theoretically defined by notable authors such as Lucian Blaga (philosopher and poet) or Carmen Petra-Basacopol (musicologist and composer). The concept of “spatial horizon” or “Mioritic space” presented by Blaga in his well-known work The Trilogy of Culture affirms characteristics of Romanian spirituality and culture polished over time, and an author such as Carmen Petra-Basacopol shows us the manner in which these ethnic patterns are reflected in music. This research paper intends to establish to what extent the national ethos is present in the musician-performerʼs identity and which are the technical-expressive abilities that correspond to the elements defined by the above-mentioned authors. The investigation methods are based on the research of the musical chronicles, but also the comparative analysis of the recordings belonging to nationally and internationally recognized Romanian performers. The validation of these premises will start from the case of musicians such as George Enescu or Dinu Lipatti (composers and performers alike), but will also follow the qualities appreciated in contemporary artists; in the case of the latter I will try to find out how perceptible nationality is as an identity element to those who were born in Romania and are living here, those who were born in the country, but continued their activity abroad, as well as of those who were both born and are living outside Romania (coming from a family of Romanian descent). At the same time, the study will try to provide a perspective on the advantages and disadvantages ethnic background might have in composing the interpretative strategy and in the field of artistic recognition.
The present study concerns the musical repertoire in the Romanian-Greek manuscript inventory number 23 from the ‘Dumitru Stăniloae’ Ecumenical Library of of the Metropolitan Church of Moldavia and Bukovina in Iasi, its authors, and the musical sources these authors used. The musical content of the manuscript is comparatively rich; there are mainly chants from the Holy Liturgy, Vespers and Matins. From the service of the Holy Liturgy, it stands out the group of “extensive” style cherouvika composed by Konstantinos Potopsaltis, translated in Romanian version, less commonly found in the Moldavian manuscripts. Among the chants of the Vespers, the psalm Blessed be the man is noteworthy. The present version belongs to Chiril the Monk from the Bisericani Monastery (Neamt County), who was active in the first half of the nineteenth century. Also prominent in the manuscript is a type of chant belonging to the Matins, the polyeleos. A good word, one such polyeleos, devoted to the feast of the Theotokon, is found in three versions. One of them, authored by Chiril the Monk, is in the third mode, while the other two are in the fourth mode, legetos. The first fourth mode polyeleos can be traced back to a source by Greek composer Chourmouzios the Archivist, but the Romanian author of the musical adaptation is not specified. The second one, in the “abridged”, “syntoma” style, was composed by Dimitrie Suceveanu. The fourth polyeleos in the Ms. no. 23, By the River of Babylon is one specific of the Great Lent. This polyeleos is distinct from the pieces that was musically translated by the Romanian composer Nektarios Frimu in the first volume of his Antology (published in 1846). Ms. no. 23 is significant because of its repertoire, but also because it is part of a group of five manuscripts, belonging to different documentary funds, yet each was compiled by the same talented copyist and composer, the monk Chiril from the Bisericani Monastery of Neamt county, as Byzantinologist Alexie Buzera also notes in one of his studies (1998). It must also be mentioned that the musical variants authored by Chiril the Monk were published only fragmentarily.
Liliana Gherman (born in 1939) is a very well-known name in music criticism in Romania, the author being professor at ‘George Enescu’ National University of the Arts of Iași. Her writings have proven that her critical thinking is in line with the style of a whole generation of Romanian musicologists, such as Elena Zottoviceanu, Clemansa Liliana Firca, Gheorghe Firca or Grigore Constantinescu to name only a few. In her double capacity of professor of Musical Forms and musicologist-analyst, Liliana Gherman has published highly professional scientific papers, detecting modern compositional techniques and promoting contemporary Romanian creations through advanced analytical methods. The book that we review -Zăbave analitice. Studii de muzicologie (Analytical Depths. Studies of Musicology) (Artes Publishing House, Iași, 2019) - comprises the first part of her work as a musicologist.
Folklorist, byzanthologist, university professor at the Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Art in Cluj, Traian Vulpescu was a key figure in the Transylvanian academic musical space. Among his scientific concerns there is the effort made in the introduction of the psaltic music in a region dominated by a strong oral authothonous musical tradition, synthesized in the collection The eight voices by priest Dimitrie Cunțanu from Sibiu. Saint John Chrysostom Mass: The Hymns and Irmoi of the Yearly Celebrations, which Traian Vulpescu wrote in 1939, was the means by which he wanted to make psaltic music more accessible in Transylvania and in the entire country. Using the collections made by Macarie Ieromonahul, Anton Pann, Dimitrie Suceveanu, Ion Popescu-Pasărea, Vulpescu built a personal transcription of the psaltic music in linear notation, choosing the most representative musical variant. The effort he made was fairly in vain because, being as multicultural as it was, the religious music in the area is special. Nevertheless, Traian Vulpescu’s collection is of utmost importance in the Transylvanian musical space, because it answers the Bishop’s Melchisedec Ștefănescu request, and that is to create a religious musical repertoire in linear notation, to be accessible to all Orthodox Romanians.
The Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1976) uses aesthetic and stylistic features often found in Valentin Timaru’s compositions: the Romanian musical-folkloric expression, the modal-diatonic and the modal-chromatic language, the free chromaticism, the improvisational nature, the musical articulations with generative purpose, the cyclic thinking and structuring, the preoccupation with the musical form, the proportion and the alternance of the forms used within the genre, as well as the juxtaposition of different formal principles in one part. The four constitutive movements (Lamento, Melopoeia, Variations, and Epilogue) are connected through the thematic interdependence (parts I and IV), the abandonment of the classical formal structure (the sonata form) and the attacca connections.
The “Dumitru Staniloae” Ecumenical Library of the Metropolitan Church of Moldavia and Bukovina (reffered to below as LMCMB) from Iasi has an invaluable collection of theological books and documents, consisting of more than 100,000 items. The library also has an important number of rare books – 35 of which are psaltic music manuscripts. Manuscript no. 7 from LMCMB is a psaltic Antologhion with Chrysantine notation, written in Romanian using the Cyrillic alphabet. The copyist and the place where it was copied are unknown, but it is possible that it was written at Mount Athos, between 1877 and 1882 (Apud Bucescu, 2009, p. 108). Manuscript no. 7 mainly contains chants for various services, translated and adapted by Nektarios Protopsaltes (1804-1899). Nektarios was one of the best known psalm singers and Romanian composers, founder of a psaltic music school, who was active at the Holy Mountain in the second half of the nineteenth century. Manuscript no. 7 also contains a rarer variant of the Doxastikon Lord, the fallen woman, attributed to another Moldavian composer – Nektarios Frimu (†1856). Like Nektarios Protopsaltis, he was also born in Husi (Moldavia, Romania) – but lived and worked in Iasi. For his achievements, he is honoured with the title of “hierarch of Tripoleos”. He authored the Anthology – Collection of psaltic chants for the Liturgy, (1840) and Collection of Psaltic Chants for Vespers and Matins (1846), one of the first works of its kind in Chrysantine notation in the Romanian language; these volumes were greatly valued during the second half of the nineteenth century. The present paper, which is part of the ampler project of cataloguing the entire collection of psaltic music manuscripts from LMCMB, focuses on the codicological presentation of the manuscript and its musical and liturgical content. The work will also present the authors, the Greek sources the chants were based on, also emphasizing the importance of this codex in the context of the LMCMB collection.