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Paul Constantinescu - Concerto for piano and orchestra - CD Review, the 23rd of May 2024

Paul Constantinescu - Concerto for piano and orchestra - Selections from the choreographic suite "Wedding in the Carpathians" (Pianist Oliver Triendl, Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock, Conductor Marcus Bosch) - CD Review, the 23rd of May 2024

On the 3rd of May, 2024, Hänssler Classic, one of Germany's most prestigious record labels, released a new album featuring Romanian music. This album showcases works by Paul Constantinescu, a prolific composer whose 115thbirth anniversary will be celebrated in June. The musician had a remarkable career as a professor at the Bucharest Academy of Religious Music and the Bucharest National University of Music. He composed stage and film music, lieder, choral, chamber, symphonic, vocal-symphonic, and concertante works, utilizing the resources of Byzantine melodies, native folklore, and a modern language akin to Stravinsky's rhythmic complexity and the modalism of Enescu and Bartok.

Two of his compositions - the Concerto for piano and orchestra and the choreographic poem in one act "Wedding in the Carpathians" - are included on the album recorded in December 2023 at the Volkstheater in Rostock by the Norddeutsche Philharmonie Orchestra under the baton of its musical director, Marcus Bosch. The soloist is Oliver Triendl, a 54-year-old German pianist renowned for exploring less-trodden repertoires. He has collaborated with most German orchestras, as well as ensembles in Vienna, Shanghai, Salzburg, and Prague. Triendl has over 150 recordings of chamber and concertante works, primarily from the Romantic and modern eras, with an impressive musical catalogue. He also promotes Romanian music. This season, he performed at the Ploiești"Paul Constantinescu" Philharmonicand played the very piece that opens his latest album, Paul Constantinescu's Concerto for piano and orchestra, composed in 1952 and premiered on the 16th of May 1953, at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, with Valentin Gheorghiu as soloist and Constantin Silvestri as conductor. Triendl captures the essence of Romanian folklore in his interpretation, the lyrical quality of the second movement in a rubato doina style, and the exuberance and thematic richness of the final Presto.

The second piece on this exceptional album is the choreographic poem in one act "Wedding in the Carpathians," composed by Paul Constantinescu in 1938. Shortly after its premiere on the 5th of May 1939 at the Bucharest Opera House, the composer created a symphonic suite using this ballet, presenting it at the George Enescu Philharmonic with George Georgescu as conductor. The piece was later performed frequently during the Philharmonic Orchestra's tours in Germany and Italy. "It is a work that captivates with its brilliant, colourful orchestration, occasionally suggesting the sounds of a taraf and its instruments…Vigorous dances and rhythms alternate with lyrical sections, interwoven with folkloric melodies," notes musicologist Irina Paladi in the album's presentation text, recorded by the Rostock Philharmonic under the baton of conductor Marcus Bosch.

Larisa Clempuș