Theodor Grigoriu: Columna Modala

Books | Piano

Composer: Theodor Grigoriu
Format: Sheet Music | Score

The Modal Column is a cycle of paired pieces for piano, starting from the classical structure- prelude-fugue - used by Bach in Das wohltemperierte Klavier. The modes that are being used have a relatively simple octavizing structure, hence an almost infinite variety of combinations that can generate a large number of pieces, impossible to exhaust by a composer. Therein lies the idea of a column, in the sense given by Brancusi, i.e. an endless succession of modules.

In the vision of the author, the mechanism of the mode is a secondary (ancillary) aspect, the primary goal is deciphering the ethos incorporated in it.

The prelude-fugue structure hypostatizes the musical discourse at the two possible extremes. free-constructed. While Romanian music rules in free areas, like any old music with an (especially oral) tradition, the constructed pieces start from Dutch (Flemish) or Venetian polyphony, which precedes the idea of fugue, understood as a technology of the movement (dynamics) of sound, after the models of Giovanni Gabrieli or Ockeghem.

The Modal Column is first of all the presentation of a melodic world but, as the subtitle indicates, also an investigation into the ethos of Romanian music. The forms in which the pieces are thought are simple, non-ostentatious, the whole cycle being in fact a musical workshop, whose better parts may be worth including in ampler works. Before the succinct description of the six couples in Books I and II, a few observations, necessary from a musicological point of view:

  • 1. The modes are rich in nostalgia, with even graver nuances in the livelier movements.
  • 2. It is well-known, that all the columns - Egyptian obelisks, ancient ornamental columns - have scenarios engraved on them. Trajan's Column describes the wars against the Dacians and their defeat. George Calinescu says, "Trajan's Column is beautiful, but let us not forget that the Dacians are in chains on it." The Romanian melos is millennia-old and was but little influenced by historical events.
  • 3. In The Modal Column there is a departure from some ideas of contemporary music, as the fourth, fifth and octave (intervals of great acoustic value) are reintroduced, but also from other technical and formal aspects originated in dodecaphonic music.
Published on: 01 July 2010
Language: French
Catalogue No: ETR001822

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