ANATOL VIERU (1926-1998): Symphony No. 6, Op. 112 “Exodus” (Romanian Radio Symphony Orchestra; Horia Andreescu. rec. 1988/89), Memorial, Op. 118 (Romanian Radio Chamber Orchestra; Ludovic Bács. rec. 1990).
Catalogue Number: 09S057
Reference: TROCD 01446
Description: The disc we offered in July (07S060) charted this highly individual composer's evolution during the 1960s from post-Khachaturian (his teacher) folk-influenced modal romanticism to aggressively strident avant-gardism. Well, guess what? Apparently he went right on evolving. We need future volumes in this series to know how he got from the monolithic sonorism of the First Symphony to these works two decades later. The massive, hour-long Sixth is a four-movement structure bearing many of the hallmarks of a conventional symphony, though a very strange one. The 'Exodus' of the title is the spiritual, and in some cases literal, flight from the decay of Ceausescu's Romania. The first movement is an incongruous chaconne in the style of a tango, quite tonal and reminiscent of something Schnittke might have done. The huge slow movement that follows is a kind of symphonic poem in its own right, which lends its individual title to the whole work. Repeated attempts to establish a 20th-century tonal symphonic cortège are assailed by waves of mounting chromaticism, layers of atonal gestures and sonorist snarls and barking, threatening to tear the whole structure apart. The third movement is related to Goya's frescoes in the chapel that became his final burial site. It begins with a lengthy, dissonant reflection of Renaissance antiphony, then turns into a lively Goya-esque crowd scene, riotously polystylistic and grotesque. The finale 'Pale Sun' offers a kind of resolution after the turbulence of the earlier movements, with nature sounds and a melancholy, resigned brass solo throughout, distantly related to the trumpet soliloquy that opens Schmidt’s Symphony No.4. Memorial (1991), dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust, combines polymodality, tonality and microtonality in an emotionally shattered elegy punctuated by furious outbursts of protest.