Livia Teodorescu-Ciocanea: Orchestral Music

This is Toccata’s third release of music by Romanian composer Livia Teodorescu-Ciocănea. It’s a collection of orchestral music, all world-premiere recordings. Their previous releases include an album of piano works and her landmark ballet, “Le rouge et le noir.

The three albums collectively present Livia Teodorescu-Ciocănea’s most important works, and create a solid portrait of the composer.

This release focuses on three works. The Archimedes Symphony was inspired by the death of the philosopher during the siege of Syracuse. According to legend, when a Roman soldier killed him Archimededes covered the drawing he was studying. “Do not disturb my circles” were supposedly his last words.

Teodorescu-Ciocănea’s symphony, to my ears, has a circular quality to it. Her use of timbre ties the movements together. They create points the music seems to move away from an return to again and again. What’s important isn’t so much what the instruments are playing, but which instruments are playing together.

Teodorescu-Ciocănea calls this concept “hypertimbralism.” It’s concerned with how interconnected sound layers interact as they change. “Rite of Enchanting Air” is the best example of this. It’s a concerto for flute(s) and orchestra. The soloist plays several different members of the flute family, from piccolo to bass flute. So while the orchestra is shifting timbres, so is the soloist.

It’s really a concerto about air and one that’s a perfect match for the breathy flute. For me, the music worked on all levels.

The recording from Mysterium tremendum – cantata for mezzo-soprano and orchestra — is of the premiere performance. The work was commissioned by the Romanian Radio National Orchestra. It features original soloist Antonela Barnat and conductor Cristian Orosany — artists Teodorescu-Ciocănea consulted during the creation of the work.

Need I say more? Highly recommended.

Livia Teodorescu-Ciocănea: Orchestral Music
Pierre-Yves Artaud, flutes; Antonela Barnat, mezzo-soprano
Romanian Radio National Orchestra; Valentin Doni, Cristian Orosany, conductors
Radio Romania Chamber Orchestra; Alan Tongue, conductor
Toccata Classics TOCC 0668

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