Stefan  Niculescu

Stefan Niculescu (1927, Romania) studied at the National University of Music Bucharest, where he later became a well-known professor of composition and form analysis. He also attended courses in electronic music with Mauricio Kagel in Munich (1966) and the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt (1966–69). Through his serial and modal works from the 1950s and 60s he contributed to the first avant-guard movement in post- war Romania. He showed particular interest in the heterophony depicted in Enescu’s late works and in traditional musical cultures, and reformulated his compositional techniques, that also includ elements from modern mathematics (as in the orchestral works „Hétéromorphie”, „Formants”, etc.). In the 1970s and 80s, Stefan Niculescu developed the heterophony in new forms (eteromorfia, sincronia), using a more diatonic language, far from the serial chromaticism in the début pieces, while in his latest works he came to harmonize opposite tendencies: diatonism with chromatism, natural harmonics with non-octave scales, homophony with monody. Niculescu aimed to compose a new type of sacred music, that transfigures features of Byzantine, Gregorian and other similar traditions worldwide (as in his last three symphonies: „Opus Dacicum”, „Cantos”, „Deisis”; also in „Invocatio”, „Axion”, „Psalmus” etc.). In the field of musicology he has published over 150 studies and research articles dedicated to the creation of George Enescu, to issues such as the avant-guard, heterophony, musical syntax, as well as to his own works. In 1991 he was the founder-director of the festival „International Week of New Music” that since then has taken place every year in Bucharest. Among his honours are the Prix de l’Académie des Beaux-Arts (1972), the Koussevitzky International Critics Award (1985), and the Herder-Preis in Vienna (1994). He was named a corresponding member of the Romanian Academy in 1993 and was a full member from 1996 until his death, in 2008.

Triplum Ii. for clarinet, violoncello and piano (1973) belongs to a class of works composed for chamber ensembles from 2 (DUPLUM) to 11 musicians (UNDECIMUM). Like in several pieces he composed in the 1970s heterophony became here the principle of composition. The piece articulates itself through the continuous oscillation between zones of aglomeration (sometimes of vehement expression) and zones of rarification and transparency. Strong contrasts between the One and the Multiple are to be heard at all parameters that organize the few types of structures, which reappear in refreshed combinations. The form of TRIPLUM II. is generated by this very clear macro-pulsation between the moments of uniting the instruments in homophonies and the moments of individual lines, even if these develop into complex multiple-melodies. (Carmen Carneci)