Over a century and a half after the establishment of the first state educational institution dedicated to music in Iaşi – the School of Music and Declamation (1860) – the distinctive features of music education and the social and cultural phenomena involved can be perceived and analyzed. This study provides arguments to support the following features: 1. the openness to assimilate a variety of pedagogic and cultural influences, both from Europe and from Romania; 2. the role played by leading personalities, musicians – professors, in rising performance levels and in perpetuating the project; 3. valorizing Romanian music traditions - liturgical songs of Byzantine origin and regional folklore - through education (specializations, courses, creative activities and music performance); 4. the constant involvement of music education in concerts and musical performances in Iaşi.
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.
Romanian composers’ interest in Greek mythology begins with Enescu’s peerless masterpiece – lyrical tragedy Oedipe (1921-1931). The realist-postromantic artistic concept is materialised in the insoluble link between text and music, in the original synthesis of the most expressive compositional means recorded in the tradition of the genre and the openness towards acutely modern elements of musical language. The Romanian opera composed in the knowledge of George Enescu’s score, which premiered in Bucharest in 1958, reflect an additional interest in mythological subject-matter in the poetic form of the ancient tragedies signed by Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles. Significant Romanian musical works written in the avant-garde period of 1960 to 1980 – Doru Popovici’s opera Prometeu, Aurel Stroe’s Oedipus at Colonus, Oresteia I – Agamemnon, Oresteia II – The Choephori, Oresteia III – The Eumenides, Pascal Bentoiu’s The Sacrifice of Iphigenia – to which titles of the contemporary art of the stage are added – Cornel Ţăranu’s Oreste & Oedip – propose new philosophical and artistic interpretations of the original myths. At the same time, the mentioned works represent reference points of the multiple and radical transformation of the opera genre in Romanian culture. Emphasising the epic character, a heightened chamber dimension and the alternative extrapolation of the elements in the syncretic complex, developing new modes of performance, of sonic and video transmission – are features of the new style of opera associated to the powerful and simple subject-matter of ancient tragedy. In this sense, radio opera The Sacrifice of Iphigenia (1968) is a significant step in the metamorphosis of the genre, its novel artistic value being confirmed by an important international distinction offered to composer Pascal Bentoiu – Prix Italia of the Italian Radio and Television Broadcasting Company in Rome. The poetic quality of the text quoted from the masterpiece of ancient theatre, Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis, the hymnic-oratory character of the music, the economy and expressive capacity of the compositional means configured in the relationship between voice, organ, percussion, electro-acoustic means – can be associated in interpreting the universal major theme: the necessity of virgin sacrifice in the process of durable construction.