after Sara Vienna's song My Home Brașov
for voice, solo piano, symphony orchestra, choirs and organ
Song & lyrics: SARAH VIENNA
Brașovia Overture, original Interludes & orchestration: VLAD MAISTOROVICI
The starting point of for this piece was discovering Sarah Vienna’s 2017 song My Home Brașov, and the proposal for a collaboration from the Urban Art Depot. I was immediately charmed by the song’s directness and authenticity in its Americana folk-pop spirit, both in the vocal delivery and the descriptive lyrics, all wrapped in a fairy-tale-like minimalist piano accompaniment. The proposal from the Brașov Town Hall was to involve various musical institutions of the city, so I decided to compose a symphonic piece for orchestra, organ and choirs called Simfonia Brașovului, that would incorporate Sarah’s song in its pure form, just as a snow globe is embraced by a child. Like the scene in the snow globe, Sarah's song isn't changed at all in my composition, but my original symphonic music unfolds around it like the imagination of a child, inspired by iconic symbols of the city’s identity, some of them reflected in the song’s lyrics.
Sarah sings of the mountains and nature intricate to the city-scape. For me, Brașov’s mountains are in symbiosis with the city’s century old history, so the first section of my Symphony is Brașovia Overture, with brass, percussion and strings evoking a Sunrise on the rocky summit of Tâmpa Mountain, still bearing the ruins of the 13th Century Brașovia citadel. The musical material for the ”alpine brass” featured in the overture is loosely based on a well-known theme from Ciprian Porumbescu’s Crai Nou, the first operetta by a Romanian composer, premiered in Brașov in 1882 in what is now the building of the Șaguna High School, and familiar to the general public through the gingle of the Brașov train station announcements. The bells and organ of the Black Church, the pigeons in the main square, the medieval cobble stone across the city are all referred to in the song’s lyrics, and they become the musical ideas for my original symphonic interludes featuring the organ, the different instruments of the orchestra and vocalising choirs. The Romanian archaic spirit of the First Romanian School în Șchei and First Romanian Printing Press is evoked by the melancholic flourishes of the piccolo flutes, while the mountain sports identity of the city was also an inspiration for my Symphony, adding a dynamic minimalist element to the music.
Simfonia Brașovului is a love song for the city that has inspired so many musicians from all walks of life, and that continues to inspire people everywhere.
Like all symphonic projects around the world, the premiere of Simfonia Brașovului was postponed due to the CoVid-19 pandemic. During lockdown, which I have spent in Brașov, I studied the historic chamber arrangements of Beethoven's Symphonies. This inspired me to make a "lockdown" chamber version of Simfonia Brașovului, called Lockdown Symphony, relying on the support of some of the closest vibrate!festival local partners: the Transylvania University, musicians of the Brașov Philharmonic and the Urban Art Depot.
Sarah Vienna, voice
Diana Ionescu, solo piano
Ovidiu Nauncef, percussion
Andreea Vatui, percussion
Steffen Schlandt, organ
Roxana Bârsan, violin
Alexandra Enache, cello
Vlad Maistorovici, conductor
Video: AP Studio
Venue: Aula of the Transilvania University