The author concentrates on the last ten years of Silvestri’s life after exploring why he defected in 1958 and made Paris his domicile for the next three years. The motivation is also examined as to why, after conducting some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, he accepted the offer to become the principal conductor of an orchestra in a seaside resort in England. Players in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and soloists of world repute describe the maestro’s orchestra-training methods and his interpretations of parts of works in the standard repertoire. Both were considered unorthodox at that time but resulted in transforming the BSO into an orchestra of international repute. The world lost a great musician when he died in London aged only fifty-five.
The study aims at highlighting some features of the three Songs of Emptiness (Cântece de pustiu) op. 27 no.1. Aspects such as the emotional charge of expressionist origin – by which is resumed the thread with the first works of the composer – or the originality of the subtitle (Studies of nuances) are discussed. The composer deals with subtle, refined gradations, especially in the context of small intensities. One has to notice a dense network of connections that are established at micro and macro structural levels, by which Silvestri not only confers unity to the cycle, but also illuminates the meanings of the musical message in a particular way.
The conductor Constantin Silvestri left Romania in 1958. Aged 45, he had already gained international acclaim and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra offered him a long-term contract. In his own country he faced prosecution for defecting. Two things concurred to postpone indefinitely this prospect: the hope to lure him back and the possibility of grabbing his wealth. The author reconstructs the story through the documents of the communist secret police (Securitate).
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