Composers Corner - Anton Pann

Published

April 17, 2020

This is the first episode of a new podcast series that we will run throughout the year. Here's a modern take on the sounds and music of historical Romania, through an intimate journey into the music universe of Anton Pann, a distinguished personality that shaped the Romanian culture of the past two centuries.

Anton Pann was a man of many talents. A composer, writer, musicologist, poet, folklorist, translator and schoolteacher, he was born at the end of the 18th century in today’s Bulgaria. Born Antonie Pantoleon-Petroveanu, he was among the first major collectors of Romanian folklore in 19th-century literature. His creations have been celebrated for their familiar tone, during a period when literary language was beginning to rely on formalism and a large number of neologisms. The writer himself made frequent excuses to the more educated of his readers for any flaws they were to find in his texts.

Anton Pann showed interest in other musical traditions too; in his churchly practice, he endorsed the tradition of Byzantine chants and removed intonations of Levantine inspiration, while being among the first of his generation to use modern notation and Italian markings for tempo. He was a passionate collector of classical-Ottoman music, as well as religious Byzantine music. He used the diverse sources of his work to complement his own view of the world. Reflecting on the perspective of simple folk, Anton Pann’s poems often show sarcastic remarks on social contrasts, Westernisation, superstitions, as well as tensions between estate lessors and workers, in a unique style borrowed from traditional storytelling.

In modern times, most of Pann’s music repertoire is collected, documented and performed by the Anton Pann Ensemble, a music group founded in 2004 and comprising of Constantin Răileanu (conductor, composer, vocalist, percussionist, and kanun player), whom I've had the pleasure to talk to, Sabin Penea (violin), Alexandru Stoica (lute), Andrei Nițescu (cello), Issam Garfi (flute / bansouri / ney) and Oana Benko (video-projection).

Their performances shine new light on these classical sounds and bring the Byzantine repertoire into contemporary consciousness. They include music once played at the courts of Romanian princes and boyars, but also songs that sprung from slums and villages. The Ensemble’s youthful interpretations regenerate Anton Pann’s legacy and offer an accessible approach to traditional music.

In this episode, my guest Constantin Răileanu talks about his research and study of Anton Pann's work, how he founded the Anton Pann Ensemble and his endeavour to decontextualise the music of Dimitrie Cantemir. The show presents a wide selection of music* from different interpreters, musicians, groups and ensembles who approached the music of Anton Pann throughout history.

*special thanks to Victor Plastic for the contributions

Tune in! We're also on Soundcloud.

Tracklist

  • Alexandru Mica

    Mare jale împărate

  • Alexandru Mica

    Ce soartă pen oi

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    Decât ruda și vecinul

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    Lelita saftita

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    Oratie (Colinde)

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    Sus la ‘naltu cerului (Colinde)

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    Scoală puiculiță scoală

  • Anton Pann Ensemble, Turkan, Segal, Hovhannisyan

    Autumn Rain

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    Domnul României, Mircea cel Bătrân

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    Dodeka Evzonakia

  • Ansamblul Floraria

    Bordeiașul

  • Anton Pann Ensemble, Turkan, Segal, Hovhannisyan

    Silence

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    Sarki (Manea)

  • Dan Moisescu

    Până când nu te iubeam

  • Ansamblul Floraria

    Uită-te cu milă, puică

  • Alexandru Mica

    Cucule, porumbule

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    104 peşrev, makam beyati, usul çenber no. 351 (Cantemir Melo)

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    107 peşrev, makam rast, usul berefşan no. 227 (Cantemir Melo)

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    peșrev adjem veciani

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    101 pesrev, makam muhayyer, usul muhammes no. 285 (Cantemir Melo)

  • Dan Moisescu

    Bordeiaș, bordei, bordei

  • Anton Pann Ensemble

    ehe ghia

Contributed By

Dragoș Rusu

Co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Attic and allround music adventurer.

@dragos_rusu_
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