This study is a tribute to a unique masterpiece. The singularity of the work is a consequence of various reasons and developments in the field of the chamber music genre dedicated to piano-voice duo in the musical literature by Romanian composers. Among them: it’s the only coagulated “poetic scenario” on Heinrich Heine’s verses; it’s the only craftsmanship born as a whole by such a young author, as Silvestri was just fifteen years old when the cycle was released; it’s an aesthetic statement of an artist that, despite his youth, proved to be already the owner of means and beliefs strongly shaped as to guide him through life and profession (equally as conductor, composer and pianist).
This panorama (as the present study wishes to be) over the twelve pieces (eleven songs and one piano intermezzo) structured in two books by Silvestri himself and by important, yet unessential, differences has a double meaning: both the need to share the joy brought by the privilege of any musician approaching a not at all famous masterpiece and, at the same time, an invitation to discover reasons to value a trademark from times and artists – as Silvestri was, beyond any doubt – that can testify on the behalf of Romanian culture.
Sergiu Celibidache, described as a drifter in his twenties, left for Germany in 1938 to study music, philosophy and mathematics. In the post-war upheavals he was appointed the Berlin Philharmonic’s conductor, the beginning of a remarkable international career. The communist authorities in Romania became interested in his contacts “in the highest capitalist circles”. They had him followed, courted and even considered recruiting him as an agent.
His brother and sisters, about whom he cared a lot, were kept hostages in his native country. A belated reunion with his eldest sister in 1965, in Prague caused him pain and remorse. When he finally returned to conduct in Romania in the 1970s, he was hailed by members of the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra but resented by its conductors. All this is documented in letters and in the archive of the former Securitate (Secret Police) researched by the author.
Aspects of Heterophonic Syntax in the Works of Ştefan Niculescu: Case Study: Hétérophonies pour Montreux
For Ştefan Niculescu, heterophony became – in a large part of his work – not merely a preferred form of organization, but an architectonic principle which proved capable of generating ample musical forms (as polyphony generated the fugue and homophony the sonata, heterophony too generates the form of the “synchrony”), by converting the phenomenon of vibration within sound (the node/anti-node alternating pattern) into the macro-temporal breath of an entire composition. Starting from Niculescu’s own musicological writings – whose clarity and substance have rendered them seminal – the present study highlights not just the quantitative dimension (the multitude of compositions that integrate heterophony or are in fact based on it), but also the qualitative one, insisting on the philosophical scope and semantic dimension that Niculescu places upon heterophony, which represents for him not merely a means of organizing sound, but the kineto-musical illustration of the relationship between Creator and Created, Single and Multiple – a relationship whose terms are not yet equivalent. For Niculescu introduces here a teleological understanding of the world, where pendulum swings between the states of uni- and multivocality are ordered axiologically, the final purpose of the composer’s endeavor being to achieve a state of attunement, reached (most often) through convergence in unison. The author has chosen as a case study the only one of Niculescu’s compositions whose title explicitly employs the term heterophony.
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