Friday, April 03, 2015

CCC 128 - Costică Andrei

Romaninan composer Costică Andrei is this week's Consonant Classical Challenge profile. There's not a lot of biographical information available online about this composer, save that he's best known for his Romanian carols and other choral music.

Still, the goal of this challenge is to refute the notion that all contemporary music is ugly and unlistenable. So though we may not know much about Andrei, his music speaks for itself. The works I auditioned all had a strong tonal base, while using the Slavic modal scales and inflections of his native Romania.

Anatoly Diptic is a simple a cappella work with triadic harmonies. About half way through, the work becomes faster, with sychopated patterns that owe much to Romanian folk music.

Andrei's Te Deum Laudamus also has a strong Slavic flavor. The traditional text is set for male chorus -- a male chorus used to the Eastern Orthodox repertoire. The basses are especially low, and the smooth motion from note to note share similarities with Rachmaninov's Vespers and other sacred works by Russian composers.

Sus la Rasairt is a more varied work than the previous two examples. It's for mixed chorus, and Andrei interpets the text freely. The harmony is extremely simple, but the spirited rhythms and expressive rallentandos give the work substance.

There's not a lot of biographical information available about Costică Andrei, and there's not a lot of of his music that's commercially available. Nevertheless, the works I did find were consistently well-constructed and quite beautiful. Andrei uses the human voice effectively, and incorporates the traditional elements of Romanian sacred and folks traiditions into his own style. I'd very much like to hear more.

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