The exploration of Symphony No. 2, a representative opus of Adrian Iorgulescu’s creation, reveals some defining features of his entire oeuvre: cohesion and logic of the inner organization, economy of vocabulary and combinatorial inventiveness, coexistence of opposites, symmetric-asymmetric play, appeal to intertextuality and metastylistic elements. In brief, a vision that symbiotically integrates modernity and postmodernity (seen as a non-conformist and innovative recovery of tradition). With resolute, clear gestures, full of vividness, the composer configures a spiral time and creates very diverse expressive zones, from the mysterious to the dramatic, from inquietude to serenity, from tumult to introverted lyricism, thereby carving out a space for reflection on opposition and complementarity, permanence and metamorphosis, unity and diversity.
Zaraza, the gorgeous gypsy girl that a famous singer from the inter-war period fell madly in love with, does not exist in reality: it’s just an urban legend, a synecdoche for the Bucharest of the old days, with its cosmopolitan charm of the romances and the tangos. In reality, “zaraza” is just a word extracted from the original text of the Argentinian melody, with the much more prosaic meaning of “ox”. Still, Zaraza’s legend lingers in the collective vernacular consciousness. Like Schrödinger’s cat, “Zaraza” exists and doesn’t exist, at the same time. In a similar fashion, the ironic “residual musics” from Adrian Iorgulescu’s works – and I take as example his flute and clarinet concertos – are at the same time apparently anecdotic stylistic fractures and generative themes for the rest of the music material, through fragmentation and sophisticated development techniques. They are both real and not, as the composer uses both quotations and fake-quotations. They shock – and yet, they don’t. Their strength resides in their ambiguity. This window-form towards other musical paradigms and meanings is similar to that used by Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino, with a completely different sonic result.
Besides a series of symphonies and concertos, Doina Rotaru has written countless pieces for chamber ensembles, flutes or other solo instruments. Yet she seems to rank among those few composers who – as Stravinsky said in reference to Vivaldi, obviously seeing him from the perspective of his own extreme stylistic mobility – “write a single composition”. Indeed, their works do not seem to deviate far from a certain line that has been drawn with unusual clarity and certainty since they began their creative work a few decades ago. But this “single composition” is, of course, only a kind of metaphor that metaphorically “misunderstands” a particular stylistic and conceptual unity, but in no way excludes a wide range of compositional procedures and related expressive hypostases. Between them, a particular direction seems to be constantly at the centre of the composer’s attention, a direction that could be called a music of doina, of bocet, of longing, of shadows, of smoke; it is a particular musical world that finds an aesthetic of the ineffable, of discretion, of subtle nuances, of nostalgia, a world with deep resonances in Romanian culture and the Far East.
For the Romanian post-war composition, Enescu’s music has long been a reference point: rediscovered with much emotion and admiration in the light of the late first Romanian auditions of his last works, the profile of the national composer proved to be not only a propaganda symbol manipulated by the communist state, but also a real creative ferment, particularly fertile at least for that “golden” generation (which is why it is also called the “post-Enescu” generation) of composers who came to the fore at the end of the 1950s. Thoroughly theorised on an analytical level and variously continued on a creative level, the most specific features of the Enescian style – the melodism of tonal-modal synthesis, the parlando rubato type of rhythm, the technique of continuous micro-variation and, above all, the heterophonic syntax – have come to guide the understanding of the “Romanian specific” in music.
The Enescian model has not ceased to inspire even beyond the members of that generation, a fact that is amply proved by the oeuvre of Doina Rotaru, who rose to fame in the 1980: its unmistakable character could be explained partly as a possible instance of how Enescian lyricism would have sounded, had it been detached from the matrix of Classical-Romantic tradition, and transplanted instead in the pastel-coloured tissue of extended instrumental techniques specific to the avant-gardist musical idiom. Of course, this is only one of the components of her personal style. It is, however, much valued and assumed by the composer, sometimes even in the form of symbolic references to Enescian quotations, as is the case at the very end of one of Doina Rotaru’s most recent work – the concerto for violin and orchestra Himere [Chimeras].
Adrian Pop – Theory, Terminology and Stylistic Analysis, Camouflaged among “Prolegomena” and “Didactic Notes”
Composer Adrian Pop, a refined intellectual and man of culture, offers us a new perspective on musical stylistics, in an attempt to give it an autonomous status. The argumentation of this approach starts from the peculiarities of understanding the problems related to style, solved intuitively by the composer and performer, but different from the musicologist, who “cannot avoid the difficult attempt to translate the ineffable into coherent ideas spoken with appropriate words”. Hence, the author’s concern to clarify the relationship between “distinctive character” and “logic of musical discourse”, starting from legitimate rhetorical questions, clarified in a delightful exposition that fuses the elegance and picturesque character of language with the impeccable logic of comprehension and argumentation.
This study proposes an analytical approach of Adrian Pop’s Les voix de la nuit/Vocile nopții from the perspective of its pastoral character. One of the most important topics in literature, the pastoral is an old and enduring cultural genre promoting the primitive simplicity, feelings and freedom, the innocence and the sublime, the serenity and the melancholy, the eternal love and the supreme beauty of nature. All these features receive a specific vocabulary of musical gestures, such as long pedals, consonant harmonies, wave-like movements, slow harmonic rhythm, simple melodic contours, etc. The analysis of Pop’s work searches for the pastoral signifiers in both the music and the poems set to it, belonging to French Romantic writer Alfred de Musset and Romanian symbolist author Alexandru Macedonski.
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