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The Works of Richard Oschanitzky

Stylistic features

Alex Vasiliu

The Works of Richard Oschanitzky analyses the German-Romanian composer and pianist’s output in the context of Socialist Romania (1965 to 1979). By the means of music historiography, archive research and musicological analyses, the composer’s contributions to the symphonic/chamber jazz genres, pioneering role in ethno-jazz and film music scores are analysed. The book lays particular stress on Richard Oschanitzky’s attempt to find common ground between European academic music and American jazz, as exemplified in his symphonic jazz works. The Romanian edition of this book has raised awareness of the musical potential to be retrieved, resulting in additional audio-visual products, such as documentary films and new CD editions of his work. It has become part of the academic curriculum for the course History of Jazz, taught at the George Enescu University of Arts in Iaşi, Romania.
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Part 1. Academic Music and Jazz in the Period 1951 – 1980


Musical creation after 1950 corresponded somewhat to the first part of the century. I’m not only referring to the succession of avant-garde and postmodern periods (1901–1920/ 1951–1970, 1921–1950/1971–2000), but to the artistic visions, the compositional technique, the type of humanity expressed in art. It is clear that the music of the 20th century reflects a different human being, another psychology, a different relationship with the self and with transcendence than the music of the 19th century.

After 1950, there was an extension of all the expressive areas that had been conquered in the first half of the 20th century: discontinuity and the chaotic character at the level of perception from the music of the Second Viennese School came to the fore in all the tendencies of the avant-garde (integral serialism, stochastic music, aleatoric music). The sound violence of Stravinsky and Bartók changed into bruitism, Debussy’s suspended temporality evolved towards the ecstatic and non-evolutional, the motoric in the ostinato became hypnotic in minimalist music, the absurd associations in some of the neoclassical compositions further developed in the post-modernist collage, while the tendency towards lightness and entertainment, also promoted by the interwar neoclassicists, is today often reinterpreted in cheap fashions. There were also, however, composers who kept a relative distance from the dynamics of creative changes and experiments, writing music in a generally traditional manner, sequentially including the new techniques with dramaturgic and expressive aims.

The end of World War II brought about...

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