The musicians currently celebrated in the musical world are also in our focus at Musicology Today. The series dedicated to 2009 anniversaries, launched in our first issue, is continued in the second by 2010 anniversaries: Frédéric Chopin and Nicolae Brânduş.

Through selections from Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s correspondence, Helmut Loos’s study sketches an important direction in the history and ideology of German romantic music, namely the one propelled by Beethoven’s mythical figure. If we are all acquainted with the connection between Beethoven and Mendelssohn (as part of the continuity of the classic tradition of German musical genres), Helmut Loos foregrounds some original historiographic aspects. His study sets off from aesthetic and sociological observations, archive research and the study of all kinds of documents (especially Mendelssohn’s letters, in which he shows his unflinching interest in Beethoven).

Beethoven is also one of the starting points in Dorothea Redepenning’s study, which triggers a different set of questions. The Romanian reader discovers how German musicology underestimated the “classicist”, “conservative” Mendelssohn and failed to recognise his originality. Precisely for this reason the author – drawing on the latest bibliographical German and English-language sources – brings back into discussion the composer’s significant contribution to the romantic issue of programmatic as opposed to absolute music, the solutions of oratorium, symphony, chamber music or the “Lieder ohne Worte”. The question “Why does German musicology have a problem with Mendelssohn?” thus receives many subtle answers, all coming from different directions, including the delicate one of antisemitism.

Romanian contributions are no less exciting. Clemansa Firca’s aesthetic approach to the modernity of inter-war music, in which she also places Paul Constantinescu, is already well-known in Romanian musicology; I would go on to say that it has created a school. I invite you to ponder upon the evidence that supports the idea of situating the composer within a “moderate modernism”, which actually characterises Romanian inter-war creation, less interested in “Western avant-garde modernism”.

On the other hand, the inter-war music avant-garde is present in the thoughts of a composer, pianist and professor who has often expressed his opinion in musicology too. On 16 April, Nicolae Brânduş came to the age of 75. Our way to celebrate his birthday involves understanding his main theoretical investigations in the field of improvisational musical practice and of formalisation of musical analysis. Commenting on the concept of “freies Zusammenspiel”, detailed by Vinko Globokar, Nicolae Brânduş reaches aspects of linguistics, semantics, mathematical poetics and musical improvisation.

Chopin appears in the electronic pages of Musicology Today only “at a second remove”, through reviews of Romanian monographs that have recently been dedicated to him. More on the romantic composer celebrated in 2010 – in our next issue.

Valentina Sandu-Dediu

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