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September 28, 2020, 09:11:03 am
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Moldovan music

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Author Topic: Moldovan music  (Read 107 times)
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« on: December 28, 2019, 08:11:57 pm »

I have just posted in the downloads section the "Dniester" symphonic poem by Ștefan Neaga (1900-1951).

"Poemul Nistrului" in Romanian.

It was written in 1943, and is about 18 minutes long. Ștefan Neaga himself lived from 1900 to 1951 and was Moldovan. The Dniester is a large river in Moldova and Ukraine (called "Nistru" in Romanian/Moldovan).

According to the blurb under one of the youtubes from which the recording comes, "Ștefan Neaga was a exceptional talented moldavian composer, pianist and conductor. This piece is about the second World War, that is represented in the main theme, and about force of nation, that is represented in second theme written in the rhythm of Hora." - It is certainly a very agonised and tormented piece of music in parts.  For all the composer's apparent adulation of Stalin (acc to wikipedia "Neaga said that he wanted to represent with his work "the creativity and love of Great Stalin, the certainty of the victory of communism..."), it lacks that bombast that so many composers of that period of early Soviet history felt it necessary to include - so possibly his adulation was (as so often) insincere, if necessary.Ștefan_Neaga

Some historical context regarding the time when it was written:

In 1940, the USSR issued an ultimatum to Romania requesting (demanding...) the cession of Bessarabia (which largely corresponds to today's Moldova) and northern Bukovina (in present-day Ukraine), with which Romania complied the following day. The former became the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR). In 1941, Axis-aligned Romania regained the territories as part of the German invasion of the USSR (and soon after killed or deported most of the territory's large Jewish population). The Soviets recaptured the territory throughout 1944 and re-established the MSSR.  Soviet periods of control saw mass arrests, deportations to the Urals and summary executions.

Neaga's purported statement that "he wanted to represent with his work 'the creativity and love of Great Stalin, the certainty of the victory of communism..." should be seen in this context.  He was operating in an atmosphere of terror when it wasn't clear from month to month to which state his country belonged and in which direction loyalties should best be expressed.  The piece contains a recurring "doina" motif (the one played with the solo flute), very traditional in Romania (and Moldova - and often played on a shepherd's flute or kaval) - I wonder if this could have been a coded expression of where his sympathy lay.
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