This investigation is oriented both historically and analytically. It intends a diachronic cut through the Romanian piano music of the 20th-21st centuries, but does not claim completeness. Aspects of contrasts between the pieces, the originality of the composers and the stylistic diversity are emphasized. In addition to all individual artistic independence, however, historical and stylistic focal points are crystallized out: George Enescu’s stylistic uniqueness despite reflecting the compositional achievements of his time, the turning away from programmatic romantic-impressionistic music at the beginning of the 20th century (e.g. “School Castaldi”, Mihail Jora) in favour of free-tonal music of the interwar period, not at last in opposition to Zhdanov’s cultural dictate (e.g. Jora); thanks to research of Béla Bartók and Constantin Brăiloiu the strong stimulation by traditional and byzantine music, regarded exclusively as “Romanian” music, between 1920 and 1955 (Paul Constantinescu); a confrontation with French neoclassicism in the middle of the 20th century (Mihail Jora, Dinu Lipatti, Constantin Silvestri, Marcel Mihalovici), the unique consciousness of classical form combined with elements of Romanian traditional music (Sigismund Toduță, Liviu Comes), the “New Music” of the “Golden Generation” in dialogue and opposition to the western post-dodecaphony of the 1960s and 1970s (Dan Constantinescu, Aurel Stroe, Theodor Grigoriu); new potentials from the end of the 1980s and the fall of the “Iron Curtain” (Violeta Dinescu, Dan Dediu, Mihai Măniceanu).
Rumänische Klaviermusik aus Perspektive der ästhetischen Orientierung. Umriss einer möglichen Systematisierung
On the occasion of a symposium held in Dresden in 2022, dedicated to Romanian piano music, an attempt was made to present this subject in its entirety by means of a two-dimensional scheme. This provides information about a series of six historical periods and four aesthetic orientations. The abstract nature of this type of presentation is supplemented by seven concrete examples of briefly analyzed piano music. Among the conclusions of the study are the facts (1) that most composers, even those who did not pay particular attention to this instrument, saw their piano pieces as the first ground for experimenting with new ideas, (2) that the development of piano music faithfully follows the development of Romanian music, and (3) that this development was particularly rapid, quantitatively and qualitatively, in a period of about 200 years.
Columna modală [Modale Kolumne] für Klavier von Theodor Grigoriu. Betrachtung der musikalisch-kulturellen Aspekte auf der Grundlage von Theodor Grigorius Verständnis des Ethos
Columna modală [Modal Column] for Piano by Theodor Grigoriu occupies an important place in the Romanian creation for piano through its complexity. It is not only a challenge for the pianists, but for the musicologists and composers too, through the many ideas it contained. In this article, musical and extra-musical aspects are treated referring to the composer’s special understanding of ethos, i.e. the interest in the character and spirituality, which hide behind a concrete musical or poetic structure. In this way the compositional technique became secondary and it was put in relation with the substance, with the content. At the beginning, different elements which flow into Grigoriu’s music were separately discussed: on the one hand, the cultural influences on his work by the visual arts and the lyrics, on the other hand, the musical influences, as the Romanian folks music having George Enescu as model, as well the Ancient and New Western music. Then these elements were discussed in combination, with short analyses, pointing out the original elements.
Schlüsselbegriffe der rumänischen Nachkriegsmusikwissenschaft: Spiritualität und Ethos. Eine Fallstudie: Theodor Grigoriu, Modale Säule
In direct connection with the research on the concepts of the national and the universal that have persistently crossed post-war Romanian musicology, I intend to start investigating two other favourite notions in writings on music: spirituality and ethos. All these have to do with the ideological lines drawn during the communist regime (I will refer to the period after 1971), and with the need of musicians to submit to harsh censorship. The examples selected come from the writings of composers who, while in their scores they could more easily avoid the watchful eye of the censors, in their articles or books they had to justify their choices, either towards the Western avant-garde or nationalistic. The composer Theodor Grigoriu (1926-2014) is chosen as a case study because he repeatedly refers to the concept of ethos in his essays and interviews from the 1970s and 1980s. A brief analysis of the piano cycle Columna modală [Modal Column] (1985-1987), subtitled Investigations into the Ethos of Romanian Music will follow precisely the transposition of the (metaphorical) concept into the composition itself.
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