OCTAVIAN NEMESCU (b.1940): NonSimfonia V, PreSimfonia VI.
Catalogue Number: 12U058
Description: These imposing orchestral canvases are more like massive natural structures than the constructed edifices of Romantic symphonism, though there are points of contact between the two, in the way in which rock formations and towering clouds can suggest cathedrals and fortresses. This is suggested by the composer's titles (other works are prefixed pluri-, post-, trans- and meta-) pointing to an engagement with, and deliberate distancing from, the symphonic tradition. Nemescu was a pioneering user of spectralism, the Rumanian manifestation of which (based on harsh, stentorian drones and their overtones) may have pre-dated the more familiar French school (clearly derived from an Impressionist æsthetic). Admirers of the powerful symphonic works of Anatol Vieru (04T059, 07S060 and 07S060), with whom Nemescu studied orchestration, will likely find these works very much to their taste. PreSimfonia VI actually sounds as though it has some looming, ominous prefatory intent; in its initial stages the orchestra circles in tight orbits around centres of limited pitch material, gradually expanding into heaving, churning masses of sound. The music's reliance on spectrally derived pitch material lends it an unexpected sense of harmonic coherence - nothing like tonality, and with the higher partials generating clusters - and a greater feeling of consonance than is usual in atonal music. At least some of Nemescu's scores have a graphic layout (the notes are unhelpful on this point), so it may be that the floes of pitch material are arranged in a manner somewhat related to Leif Segerstam's "free-pulsative" method. The sudden appearance of isolated Romantic chords and descents into subterranean shadows hints at a hidden narrative thread. NonSimfonia V is made up of more decisive gestures from the outset, and here one of Nemescu's most avant garde tendencies comes to the fore; his audacious use of silence. As though physically broken by some cosmic catastrophe, the music is abruptly interrupted for up to 30 seconds at a time, emerging from the void with shattering violence, in one of the composer's most memorable coups de théatre. Romanian Radio National Orchestra; Horia Andreescu.