The study rebuilds one of the manifold conceivable Beethoven’s images, namely that reflected by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. In a time when the construction of the Beethovenian myth was in full swing, Mendelssohn’s point of view seems to be a nuanced one, distinct from those expressed by some other romantic composers like Liszt, Schumann, Wagner. (It is known that their influence on the general opinion was considerable).
The main source documents for the study are represented by the Mendelssohn’s mail. Mostly in the letters between November 1816 and June 1830, Beethoven is mentioned more frequent than Bach or Mozart, for instance. Persuasive quotations from letters illustrate Mendelssohn’s discourse about Beethoven, sounding generally „full of deference and enthusiasm, but devoid of religious devoutness”. Sometimes, Mendelssohn formulates even some critical remarks.
His letters highlight also the relationship between Mendelssohn and Beethoven’s music, at least as regarding Mendelssohn’s contribution to the promotion of the Beethovenian works into the concert life and also Beethoven’s influence about Mendelssohn’s own creation.
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy contributed to all major genres, symphony, solo-concert, string quartet, doing this in the notion of progress in arts. He created the concert ouverture and the Lied ohne Worte as new poetic genres. Turning back to Handel and Bach, he revived the oratorio, thus giving new impulses to other composers. Nevertheless, German musicology did not regard him as a first-rate composer. This contempt is connected with a narrow understanding of the idea of genius which spread out during the 19th century. It is also connected with arguments of concealed antisemitism.
Through some of his works from the 1930s, Paul Constantinescu (1909-63) appears today as one of a large part of Romanian composers who, during the interwar period, engaged in an explicit move toward the European artistic modernity of the early twentieth century, a modernity understood in its broadest sense, as a complex of attitudes and artistic practices dominated by the key-concepts of the new and the changing.
For the majority of those who followed this orientation, aiming toward modernist coordinates of musical language did not imply abandoning the expression of national identity. The apparently paradoxical merging of traditional ethnic values with those diverging from tradition and imposed by the Western modernism, was a solution already proved as viable by Stravinsky and Bartók in the first two decades of the century. The desire for modernity, however, implied in equal measure a change of attitude vis-à-vis the question of “national specificity:” the Romanian musical works of the interwar period displayed not only new, updated techniques of composition, but also a nonconformist, lucid and detached way of expressing the “national style.”
Among the features that illustrate the modernity of P. Constantinescu’s interwar works, the significant ones are: (1) the tendency to elude the tonal through polymodal or chromatic-modal structures and mechanisms; (2) an “aggressive,” quasi-arbitrary multivocal treatment of folk-quoted or folk-inspired material; (3) the use in a parodic manner of quotations from or allusions to various popular idioms.
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