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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 3. Analysing the Works


A work for mixed choir and organ, Missa Brevis was composed along the original structure of the genre, thereby containing the corresponding sections of the ordinary: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. The writing also takes the renaissance mass as a reference point: there are no solo numbers (as in the baroque and classical masses), but only short moments entering into dialogue with the choral plains. The composer laid particular stress on imitative polyphony, with an obvious Gregorian source at the melodic level and in the harmony, where functional-tonal relationships were avoided.

E.g. 2: Missa Brevis

← 89 | 90 → Oschanitzky’s Missa does not present the spectacular elements that the concert practice of this genre had won over time. It recreates an internalised, pious atmosphere, which benefits from the recitative writing of the melodic phrases dedicated to soloist voices, suggesting the presence of a priest. The score also reveals, however, the assimilation of newer means of expression in the tradition of the genre, like using the organ as a solo instrument in the manner of baroque toccatas (in Sanctus), capitalizing on the expressive potential of tempo contrast within the same number, as in the Romantic masses (Schubert’s, for instance).

E.g. 3: Missa Brevis

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