Anniversaries of Romanian Composers

Anniversaries of Romanian Composers

Part of the International Week of New Music which takes place yearly in Bucharest since its establishment in 1991, the musicology symposium 2021 – Intersecții în componistica românească [2021 – Intersections in Romanian Composition] coordinated by Olguța Lupu initiated an exchange of ideas on the subject, based on the anniversaries of several great composers from Romania. This issue brings together six of the dedicated papers, focusing on the prodigious activity of three such composers, born in 1951: Adrian Iorgulescu, Doina Rotaru, and Adrian Pop.

Investigating Adrian Iorgulescu’s music, Olguța Lupu chose the Symphony No. 2 (1980) to illustrate, via a sophisticated analysis, the composer’s characteristic symbiosis between modernity and postmodernity. While the first dimension originates in the modal language and the complex syntactic structures, the postmodern concept is to be intuited in the deliberate distance that Adrian Iorgulescu keeps from any form of serialism, in the recontextualisation of the sonata form, and in the incidence of intertextuality. Olguța Lupu guides the listener to the essences of this symphony which on the one hand configurates a spiral time and on the other hand represents “a space to reflect on opposition and complementarity, permanence and metamorphosis, unity and diversity”.

The postmodern in Iorgulescu’s music is also the focus of Diana Rotaru’s examination of his concertos for flute and clarinet. The urban legend of the “beautiful Zaraza” becomes metaphor and pretext for exploring the so-called “residual musics” that the composer inserted in his scores – quotations or false quotations inspired by the ambiance of Bucharest suburbs. With his “window technique” as Salvatore Sciarrino understands it, Rotaru highlights the paradox of the hybrid world that Iorgulescu created while also finding correspondences with magical realism.

Corneliu Dan Georgescu’s emphasis is on aesthetics that defines the music of Doina Rotaru and which places her in the area of the “ineffable, the discreet, the fine nuances, the nostalgia”. In his examinations of Salcia [The Willow] (2012) for flute and four percussionists, Georgescu arrives at some general reflections on the “violent peaks” that Doina Rotaru builds, the importance of timbrality, the frequent evocation of the world of Romanian doinas and bocete (laments), the economic and un-postmodern attitude of (folk) quotations, the style centred on the rubato feeling, and the mainly lyrical tone at times scattered with grave, tragic accents.

The relation between George Enescu’s and Doina Rotaru’s musical thought, detected by Georgescu, is detailed in Vlad Văidean’s study. A series of compatibilities between the two composers is revealed, illustrative of a “post-Enescian lineage”, the temporal distance notwithstanding. Among the similarities that Văidean points to we find the transfiguration of ancient Romanian folk music layers, the oneiric folklore, some technical and aesthetic aspects suggestive of the same “spiritual lineage” – a propensity for colour, the meticulous musical notation, and the affective horizon.

Gabriel Banciu approaches the third composer celebrated in 2021, Cluj-born Adrian Pop, from two perspectives. He is interested in him as a pedagogue and musicologist, author of an important book titled Prolegomene și notițe didactice pentru o disciplină a stilului muzical [Prolegomena and Didactic Notes for a Discipline of Musical Style] (2019). In addition to presenting Pop’s theoretical view on style in the context of master bibliographical sources, the Professor’s thoughts on approaching the discipline of Music Stylistics in the academia are also listed – namely, a transition from teaching it as a “history of musical styles” to a focus on the notion of style and his divorcing “the diachrony of history or [the] systematisation of aesthetics”.

Adrian Pop the composer is at the core of Oana Andreica’s inquiry into the work Vocile nopții/Les voix de la nuit (version for choir, solo baritone and orchestra, 2016). Setting two thematically related poems by Romanian Alexandru Macedonski and French Alfred de Musset, Pop’s sonic universe voices a variety of facets and nuances of the pastoral, of which Andreica gives a refined description.

As a conclusion, I can only wish that the three composers to whom this issue of Musicology Today is devoted continue to offer their remarkable works to audiences worldwide.


Florinela Popa
English version by Maria Monica Bojin

Download as PDF