The obscure Romanian composer and musicologist Horia Surianu was born on July 3rd, 1952 in Timişoara. He studied initially at the Bucharest Conservatory (National University of Music Bucharest). In 1983 Surianu moved to France where he is professor of composition, harmonics and analysis at the Conservatory of Bagnolet as well as "professeur associé" at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
|Horia Surianu during an interview for Radio Romania|
His musical style varies quite a bit although influences of neo-modernism and spectral music are often to be found. The Saxophone Concerto features the sopranino, which is higher than a soprano saxophone and the opening showcases it's qualities wonderfully; sudden frenetic squeals fill the air and remind one of Rumanian gypsy music or the cackling clarinet of a village klezmorim. The concerto comprises three movements played without interruption (fast-slow-fast) and is symmetrically framed by a structure acting as both introduction and coda. The concerto stemmed from the idea of evoking the sound of a traditional instrument called the "taragot", peculiar to a region situated in Eastern Europe, Banat, that extends from western Romania to eastern Yugoslavia. The instrument, part saxophone, part clarinet, is capable of articulating musical structures of very great virtuosity or delicate lyricism, states of play that the concerto seeks to translate by a stylized vision of sound material emerging from a world of modality while also evoking the traditional structures of this region with its rich cultural potential, yet without limiting itself to this.
"Esquisse pour un Clair-Obscur" is scored for soprano saxophone and an ensemble consisting of flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano and projects a dialectic in sound of consonance and dissonance as defined by a process of harmonic transformation. Owing to varied forms of expansion or compression of the material and to the use of micro-intervals, the harmonic structure (transformable) enables the formation of areas of light and shade that interact in an almost continuous penumbra, hence the reference to "Clair-Obscur" (chiaroscuro); the art of nuances on a dark background creates that effect of diffused light so magnificently achieved by the Flemish masters.
-The file is rather small as the entire duration of the disc is but 26 minutes (!)