Romanian and Greek Musicians (2)

Romanian and Greek Musicians (2)

A 2014 issue of Musicology Today thematically foregrounded Romanian and Greek musicians: George Enescu, George Lambelet and Dan Dediu. Small were the odds that such a thematic focus should ever return, but here we are, it is happening in this current issue, and it is also a case of symmetrical correspondences (may they occur purely by chance!). This time, the pages meant for new analyses of scores by Enescu and Dediu are coming together with a perspective on Greek musical nationalism during World War II. Katy Romanou, a respected, admired presence in the Balkan area, analyses the relations between Germans and Greeks even before the war (more precisely, since 1936), when the nazi were proclaiming their ancient Greek cultural origins and Greek musicians aspired to international recognition through their participation to the German musical life. Case studies focus on Manolis Kalomiris, Dimitri Mitropoulos and Nikos Skalkottas, with the mention that Mitropoulos built an international career as a pianist, composer and mostly director, to finally settle in the USA.

The two analytical investigations foreground original, substantial perspectives of good omen in Romanian music, each of them in its own particular way. Antigona Rădulescu’s, though, comes from the direction of semiotics and narratology and finds fertile ground to apply such methods in ConcertOpera Wagner Under by Dan Dediu (2015). The other one reflects the experience of opera conductor Tiberiu Soare, who thoroughly and consistently dissects Œdipe by Enescu (1931) down to the smallest details, only to be able to recompose it in the interpretive act. In both cases, opera dramaturgy guides us down fascinating paths. One of them winds through the “Wagnerian City” built by Dan Dediu layer by layer, in a hybrid genre that inserts the operatic spectacular within the instrumental concert. Tables and schemes explain precisely the instrumental concert and opera elements in this work, as well as the complicated ensemble of musical citations, meant to throw symbolical bridges over time. In turn, Tiberiu Soare’s analytical tables decipher, on the one hand, the refined complexity of Enescu’s work (in a manner characteristic to the Romanian school of conducting, founded by the conductor and pedagogue Constantin Bugeanu and called the “Bugeanu analysis”). On the other hand, they serve as a starting point for performance possibilities to find “climactic plateaus”, to balance tempos in the micro- and macrostructure, to calibrate sounds etc. I dare say that this ample analysis becomes a second obligatory guidemark in the process of getting to know Enescu’s Œdipe in depth, following Pascal Bentoiu’s analysis in his famous book Masterworks of George Enescu.

To these three studies (which any journal editor would be happy to receive and publish) we add two more texts, subtly connected by the pages signed by Katy Romanou. These had originally been a conference paper integrated in an October 2018 event, an international symposium coordinated by Nicolae Gheorghiță under the heading The Musics of Power: Music and Musicians in Totalitarian Regimes in 20th-Century Europe. Vlad Văidean’s commentary, titled Musics of the Power, Powers of the Music, greatly exceed the limitations of a chronicle and frame aesthetically the debates that took place in the context of this symposium. On the same occasion, the conference of the famous American musicologist Richard Taruskin, Prokofieff’s Problems . . . and Ours, offered the “pretext” for the National University of Music in Bucharest to offer him the title of doctor honoris causa. Consequently, the text used as laudatio rounds up the contents of this journal issue.


Valentina Sandu-Dediu
English version by Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru

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