Bernard OglesbyRoumania

Bernard Oglesby - Roumania album cover
Label:Bauer Editions – ON5
CD, Album, Stereo


1Night Roumania5:00
2Leagan 7:31
3The Black Gulls4:36
4 He who loves and leaves 5:00
5The 4th Way4:10
6The Gathering Silence9:00
7In Deep Silence 8:50
9 From Abroad 9:00


Sleeve Notes:

Roumania marks the 5th studio album to be released by the British artist Bernard Oglesby in 2015 on the Bauer label. The work, 5 years in the making, explores the haunting Ballad for violin and piano by Ciprian Porumbescu and features a series of short works that deconstruct the Romania ballad while remaining true to the Doina folk tradition of melancholy, longing , erotic feelings and love.

The doina is a lyrical, melismatic solemn chant that is improvised and spontaneous. Until 1900 it was the only musical genre in many regions of the country. Technically, the doina can be sung or played in any social context from birth, marriage and through to death. The peasant doinas are mostly vocal and monophonic and are sung with some vocal peculiarities that vary from place to place. Instrumental doinas are played on simple instruments, usually various types of flutes, or even on rudimentary ones, such as a leaf. The peasant doina is a non-ceremonial type of song and is generally sung in solitude, having an important psychological action: to "ease one's soul" ("de stâmpărare" in Romanian). Grigore Leşe believes that, while scholars describe in great detail the technical aspects of the doina, they fail to understand its psychological aspects. Doinas are lyrical in aspect and their common themes are melancholy, longing (dor), erotic feelings, love for nature, complaints about the bitterness of life or invocations to God to help ease pain, etc.

Béla Bartók discovered the Doina in Northern Transylvania in 1912 and he believed it to be uniquely Romanian. After discovering similar musical expressive forms in Ukraine, Albania, Algeria, Middle East and Northern India, he came to the conclusion that they all form part of a interconnected group of genres whose ancestry can be traced to Arabo-Persian culture. He especially associated the Romanian Doina Tradition to the Makam, a system of melody types used in Turkish classical music. Bartók's research was questioned by many Romanian ethnomusicologists, who accused him of being anti-Romanian. Nevertheless, the similarities between the Romanian Doina and various musical forms from the Middle East have been consequently documented by both non-Romanian and Romanian scholars.

In 1928, when explaining the relationship of "new Hungarian music" and folk song research, Béla Bartók equated Zoltán Kodály's compositions, rather than his own, with the Hungarian spirit in art music. He called them "a well-nigh devotional profession of faith in the Magyar soul." Bartók gave two reasons for his claim: "The external reason for this is the fact that [Kodály's] activity as a composer has been exclusively rooted in the soil of the Hungarian peasant music. The inner cause, however, is Kodály's immovably grounded confidence and belief in his people's constructive power and in their future.

It is perhaps with this latter inner cause that we begin to perceive the principal motivation and intent for ‘Roumania’, that of a deep reflection upon the nature of cultural isolation, longing and the redemption of one’s soul - "de stâmpărare"....................................



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