skeuomorphic rhapsody on XVII Century Romanian tunes from the collection of Ioan Căianu
for Violin Concertino & 10 Strings or String Orchestra

Violin Concertino, 4 Violins, 3 Violas, 2 Cellos, Double Bass

Duration: 10 minutes

Premiere: Sept 2015, Enescu Festival, Romanian Athenaeum, New European Strings, conductor: Dmitry Sitkovetsky

Photo: portrait of Ioan Căianu


...o nouă Poemă Română...

...a spectacular rhapsody on 
Romanian themes...


Performances of note:

Daniel Rowland performs for Romanian Culture Day concert conducted by Vlad Maistorovici

January 2022, The Palace of Culture Târgu Mureș
Târgu Mureș State Philharmonic
Vlad Maistorovici, conductor
Daniel Rowland, concertino

Vlad Maistorovici performs with Transilvania Philharmonic

December 2019, Auditorium Maximum Cluj
Transilvania Philharmonic
Radu Paponiu, conductor
Vlad Maistorovici, concertino

Dutch premiere under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU

19 February 2019, Diligentia Theater The Hague
Young European String Camerata
Vlad Maistorovici, violin/direction

Valeriy Sokolov directs Vlad Maistorovici at vibrate!festival

June 2018, Kruhnen Musik Halle
vibrate!festival superStrings Orchestra
Valeriy Sokolov, direction/violin
Vlad Maistorovici, concertino


5 August 2017, Kuressaare kultuurikeskus
Eesti Sinfonietta
Maano Männi, direction
Johannes Põlda, concertino

vibrate!festival international orchestra at the Romanian National Library

December 2016, Romanian National Library Bucharest
vibrate!festival superStrings Orchestra
Vlad Maistorovici, direction/concertino

Dmitry Sitkovetsky conducts world premiere at Enescu Festival

September 2015, The Romanian Athenaeum
New European Strings
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor
Eugen Tzikindelean, concertino



I was fascinated by the story of the Codex Caioni manuscript since I was a kid. The 9 Romanian pieces extracted and published for the first time in the 1940s, seemed to me a time capsule, sent to the future by a Romanian Renaissance composer. The mythology of their journey across centuries is made of reincarnations brought about by masters both Romanian and European. Because, as composer John Adams puts it, "There is nothing particularly new about one composer internalizing the music of another and 'making it his own'. Composers are drawn to another's music to the point where they want to live in it, and that can happen in a variety of fashions, whether it's Brahms making variations on themes by Handel or Haydn, Liszt arranging Wagner or Beethoven for piano, Schoenberg crafting a concerto out of Monn or, more radically, Berio 'deconstructing' Schubert". But the pieces in the Codex are so disarmingly simple, that in order to reincarnate them you need a clear and relevant perspective. The lack of such a perspective prevented me for many years to "touch" them.

Until one day, when I spontaneously started to cue them up in a rhapsodic suite. The whole structure of the piece materialised intuitively, in a musical idiom that was very clear to me, although I did not immediately know what it was. Some time later I have discovered a similar concept already existed, reading an article about skeuomorphy. In computer design, a skeuomorph retains design elements from structures that were necessary in the physical reality, even if in the virtual reality they do not have any functionality. Thus, in Concert Transilvan, the themes are organised in a concerto grosso inspired by multicultural Transylvania of the 17th Century, virtualised for the 21st Century.

The concerto starts with an Andante da chiesa ("Cântecul Voievodesei Lupul"): upon a virtual pedal of cymbalom textures, the transilvanian medieval violinist improvises a prelude. Inspired from the future by Bartok and Ravel, he turns his violin and musicians into a folk band comprising of flute, accordion and fiddles: Moderato hungarico ("Alt dans valah"). In Allegro saxonico ("Dansul lui Mikes Kelemen") he becomes a British fiddler, moving towards a climax in Maestoso inglese ("Dansul lui Lazar Apor"), inspired by Purcell in aksak rhythm. Suddenly the virtual cymbalom strikes back and turns him into a klezmer fiddler: Moderato iudaico (again "Cântecul Voievodesei Lupul"). The pedal settles down into a halo of light, when deep down a double bas murmurs a lullaby Con moto: 'Colinda' ("Dans valah"). Inspired by Vivaldi, the violinists start a fugue in Allegro italiano ("Dans din Nires"). A viola howls and the orchestra reverberates like in an American minimalist musical canvas: Allegro zingaro ("Dans"), with the violinist improvising in "haidouk" style, à la Roby Lakatos. In Allegro tedesco ("Dans al cincelea în sase"), Brandemburg-like polyphony blossoms, superimposed with "Dans din Nires" and then also with "Cântecul Voievodesei Lupul". The last remaining tune is left trying to catch up with the others in Presto finale ("Dans"), and then disappears in the halo of light.

Vlad Maistorovici