Revista Studii Teologice


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Teme majore din istoria muzicii bisericeşti aflate în dezbaterea marilor personalităţi ale sec. XIX-XX (controverse, opinii separate, polemici) (partea a II-a)

Autor(i): Stelian Ionaşcu
In the second part of our study, „Major themes in the history of church music, as debated by great personalities of 19-20th centuries (controversies, dissenting opinions, polemics)”, we addressed the following issues:
- a moment in old music history (3rd-4th century), when the very psalmody as chanted prayer was questioned: „to be” or „not to be”?
- polemic exchanges on Romanian music, as a contrario exchanges, intended to malign, discredit the interlocutor.
- controversies concerning choir singing, with the subpoints:
I. Landmarks in the evolution of mixed choir, with all issues aroused in the early period of choir singing in our Church (the second half of 19th century); the mixed choir and the replacement of children with women for soprano and alto voice types.
II. The performance of D. G. Kiriac choir, and the criticism met by its original audition, with the first attempt at polyphonic pew singing (1900).
III. G. Musicescu’s choir „judged” by G. Dima – an article critical of the way in which G. Musicescu organized the choir, during a Transylvania tour (1890).
IV. The audition of G. Stefanescu’s performance of the Liturgy – polemics between C-tin M. Cordoneanu, the editor of România musicala [Musical Romania], and G. Musicescu; controversial arguments on Romanian versus Russian style, in Romanian church choir singing.
V. The open letters of composer Al. Podoleanu to Ed. Wachmann, presenting the views of composer, professor and conductor Al. Podoleanu on what choir singing in our Church ought to be.
VI. Pr. Nicolae M. Popescu vs. Pr. I. D. Petrescu, a controversy on the same issue of choir singing – Pr. Nicolae M. Popescu considering the harmonization of pew music as the climactic moment of choir singing, while pr. I. D. Petrescu denying it and supporting the harmonization of the old Byzantine monody (13th-14th centuries), as the only one spared from any influence and alteration.
- Controversial arguments on the publishing and analysis of Romanian carols, generated by the dissenting opinions of C-tin Brailoiu vs. pr. I. D. Petrescu and G. Breazul vs. C-tin Brailoiu.
- Other critical publications on Romanian church music:
Ion Costescu, Memorial on some of the causes hindering the progress of music in Romania, Bucharest, 1889; Maximilian Costin, A plagiarist’s portrait. Mr. Em. Ciomac, a music critic (?), Bucharest, 1924, pp. 12; G. Ionescu, G. Stefanescu, T. Popescu, M. Tanasescu, I. Costescu, Memorial on some of the causes hindering the progress of choir music in Romania, as well as the means of removing these causes, presented to the Ministry of Public Education, Bucharest, 1903, pp. 35; Bishop Melchisedec, „Memorial for church chanting in Romania”, in: BOR, no. 1/1882, pp. 11-47; D. Cuclin, V. Gheorghiu, St. Popescu, Memorial on the current state of secondary music education, presented to the Minister of Public Education, Bucharest, 1935, pp. 72; România musicala [Musical Romania] published several critical articles signed by Ion Costescu, as well as unsigned articles, against the persons who had monopolized the positions of music teachers, in Bucharest high schools, while also holding other positions in specialized institutions (the Music Conservatoire, or conductors of Bucharest ceremonial choirs), by „plurality of offices” (N. Banulescu, G. Bratianu, Cairetti, C. Barcanescu, G. Stefanescu, M. Iliescu). România musicala also published several critical articles against Ed. Wachmann’s method of teaching harmony in the Conservatoire, the textbooks written by him, as well as his capacity as „supervisor” of Bucharest church choirs (late 19th century).
Deemed „the poor father of dialetics”, the polemic discourse has not been a modus vivendi within our church music realm. We note the controversies that arose, as „highlights”, prominent features defining personalities who had not yet acquired unanimous „acknowledgement” of their contemporaries. Certain issues concerning our church music and carols, have come to illuminate questions related to style, performance and analysis or, on the contrary, to open even many years later, new vistas on the interpretation and assessment of aspects that seemed definitively settled.

Pagini: 7-35