Gheorghe Costinescu (b. 1934, Bucharest, Romania) has resided in New York City since 1969. He is active as a composer, conductor, pianist, musicologist, and educator. His compositions, consisting of chamber, choral, orchestral, and stage works, have been premiered in New York, Paris, Cologne, Bucharest and at the music festivals of Royan, Shiraz-Persepolis, and Tanglewood. His theoretical writings include essays on comparative aesthetics, studies and articles on contemporary music and a "Treatise on Musical Phonology."
Jubilus was commissioned by National Public Radio for its "Radio Visions" series in 1981. The first, partly improvisational, version was broadcast that same year in a program entitled "The Oldest Instrument." The final version was completed in 1984.
The text, sung by the soprano, is nonsemantic, linguistically close to Romanian, and requires vocal techniques systematized by Costinescu in his "Treatise on Musical Phonology." The trumpeter acts as the male counterpart to the male singer, while the percussionist, also male, carries the rhythmic structure that coordinates the other two performers. The term "organic percussion" refers to the fact that no instruments are used by the percussionist: he produces all his sounds by means of mouth, hands, and feet.
Trecut-Au Anii.../Past Are the Years... was completed concomitantly with the "Treatise on Musical Phonology." The treatise established a hierarchy of vocal sounds according to phonetic and pure musical criteria, with practical applications to musical composition and performance. Specific vocal emissions and articulations, as well as whispered and whistling sounds, have been chosen to suit the prolonged sonorities required by the Romanian poem.
Cântul Apelor /Rivers was completed as Costinescu reached the age of twenty-five; it is his first work in a large symphonic form. Based on a Romanian text and intended as a lyric incantation, it was inspired by the image of a small stream expanding from its source into a full, running river; as other rivers are invoked, they join this initial one to flow in a vast panorama of landscape and peoples.After several buildups that accumulate intensity while slowing pace, almost suggesting the sea, the rivers gradually retreat to continue their everyday course.
This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available as a burn-on-demand CD (CD-R) or download in MP3/320, FLAC or WAV formats. CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included. Full liner notes are accessible via the link above.