This is starting to get depressing.

Friday 26 September 2008

It’s one thing when you realise that most of the generation of great composers born in the 1920s have now died – Xenakis, Ligeti, Berio, Stockhausen, Kagel, etc – but now The Rambler is reporting that Horaţiu Rădulescu (b. 1942) has died. No other reports yet, and Wikipedia is dithering on whether or not to put it on their ‘live’ page.
ANABlog has recently been posting a bunch of mp3s, with notes, of Rădulescu’s music – simultaneously sensual and austere, using a rich and distinctive palette of microtones, embracing the complete “acoustic spectrum”. If the ANABlog links are down, there are more compositions easily found on the Avant Garde Project site (large FLAC files and sleeve notes here, mp3 versions backed up here).
Also, Paris Transatlantic interviewed Rădulescu last year. It begins promisingly:
He can’t stand Shostakovitch (“de la merde!”), dismisses Schnittke (“tuttifrutti!”), cordially dislikes Boulez (but admits that “he opened up a new sound world for all of us and his management skills come out well in front of the orchestra”), listens to Algerian rai, and Nashville blues while he accelerates in the BMW, and unwinds to Monteverdi and Josquin des Prez when he de-accellerates at home.
His own music is unclassifiable. Though frequently called spectral, it has diverged totally from the French academic spectralism which is so hot in institutional circles in Paris these days. Colleagues of his who have become well-known such as Dusapin (the tritones of whose cello concerto “set my teeth on edge”) annoy him through their business skills, and he refers to the music spectrale crowd in Paris with scorn (“they’re the mafiosi”). He reserves his respect mostly for the dead: Wagner, Bruckner (“not Mahler, his music is empty!”), Josquin des Pres, and Xenakis, whom he venerates, adores.