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Alessandrescu, Alfredlocked

  • Viorel Cosma
  • , revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu

(b Bucharest, 2/Aug 14, 1893; d Bucharest, Feb 18, 1959). Romanian composer, pianist, conductor, teacher, music critic, and director of music programmes. A leading figure of the first half of the 20th century, he laid the foundation of the Romanian school in music, concert life, and musical journalism. He studied with A. Castaldi, D. Dinicu, D.G. Kiriac, and E. Saegiu at the Bucharest Conservatory (1903–11), completing his education with two periods of study in Paris (1913–14, 1923–4), where he studied with d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum and with Paul Vidal at the Conservatoire. A remarkable accompanist, he worked with Enescu, Thibaud, Mainardi, Moodie, and others during the period 1919–45. As a conductor he always achieved a soberly balanced performance; he conducted more than 1500 performances at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest (1921–59), where he specialized in the French repertory (Bizet, Massenet, and Gounod). In his capacities as conductor of the Romanian Philharmonic Society, and as conductor and artistic manager of the Romanian RSO, he did much to encourage Romanian composers. He was also active as a music critic for Romanian and French reviews. Much of his compositional work was done during his youth, including Autumn Dusk (1900), a sketch for string orchestra; Dido (1911) a symphonic poem; and Actaeon (1916), a symphonic poem and his greatest work, awarded the George Enesco First Prize for Composition in 1916. Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the piece is a suggestive symphonic fresco with a dense structure of harmony and instrumentation.

Works

Orchestral

Amurg de toamnă [Late Autumn], sym. poem, 1910

Didona, sym. poem, 1911

Fantezie română [Romanian Fantasy], 1913

Acteon, sym. poem, 1915

Chamber and solo instrumental

Vals lent, pf, 1910

Sonata, vn, pf, 1914

Adagio, 2 va, pf, 1916

Pièce, str qt, 1921

Vocal (1v, pf)

Sagesse (A. Rivoir), 1910

6 mélodies, 1914–17

Aube (R. Rostande), 1915

Nuit d’automne (H. de Régner), 1916

Chanson triste (T. Klingsor), 1917

Bibliography

  • V. Tomescu: Alfred Alessandrescu (Bucharest, 1962)
  • A. Alessandrescu: Scrieri alese [Selected Writings], ed. I. Raţiu (Bucharest, 1977)
  • I. Dumitrescu: ‘Muzicieni români: Alfred Alessandrescu’, Muzica, vol.27/4 (1977), 12–14
  • V. Cosma: Muzicieni din Romania. Lexicon, vol.1, (Bucharest, 1989)