I am not sure what drew me to buy a Romanian opera record when I bought this. Maybe it was the cover. Maybe I was on an Opera kick, probably still riding the high of finishing off the 2017 Opera season at the HGO. Either way, I bought this for $2.40 with discount.
I think part of the thought process of buying this involved taking it to my pal Scott, who used to sing in the chorus for the HGO and getting his thoughts on the album. However, since taking over Dan Electo’s Guitar Bar and working the booking, plus the fact that I no longer really drink anymore, our schedules are mostly apart and I hardly get a chance to see him anymore. That being said. if you are in Houston and are looking for music, might I suggest Dan Electros. I thought about it a bit and thus, would compare the place to my blog, except the music is good ( I make no such guarantees for the records on this blog) and much more timely . They book a real diverse lineup of music and musicians. Also, they have open mic nights which I participate in time to time.
Link to Dan Electro’s Home Page
Anyway, back to this. From what I am guessing, this is an opera based on the Romanian Peasant Rebellion of 1907. The Rebellion, lambasted by inequalities between landowners and the serf-class, was brought on when a local overseer(or lessor) of a wealthy property which owned 75% of arable land cut back work for the peasants The thought of no work which meant now food sparked a rebellion that started in Moldavia and spread thru the country, destroying property and killing or wounding lessors. The event led to the overthrow of the ruling conservative parties and a more liberal government.
The history of Peasant rebellions, though, is largely a one sided affair with notable victories generally falling early in history and largely in East Asia. In this case, the new liberal government called up the army to suppress the peasants and suppress they did. Although official government figures are 400 casualties, most historians agree the number was more like 11,000 with 10,000 more arrested. The army for its part, suffered a loss of 10. The government enacted new laws to help the peasants but none of them really effected the landowners so I believe they were mostly useless. According to the Romanian Wikipage on this, this revolt tarnished Romania’s world reputation as a quiet peaceful nation at the time, although I can’t imagine many people on this side of the globe losing sleep over it. The rebellion was a subject though of Romanian’s during the inter-war years with books and pieces of art, most notably the book Rascoala (1932) by Livio Rebreanu and the painting, The Uprising, on the cover of this album by Octav Bancila, which I believe was banned for a period. It was a series of 12. Bancila also spent notable time looking for evidence that dispute the government tally of peasant deaths. Finally, there is a statue in Budapest to commemorate the event.
I am not 100% sure what this is or when it was written. I believe it was written by Gheorge Dumitrescu (1901-1985) , a writer who worked on various mediums. I am not sure what year this was written, perhaps 1959? I believe he adapted the opera from Rebreanu’s work. This work is performed by what I believe is the Radio/ Television Orchestra with the Studio Choir under the conduction of Carol Litvin. Featured performers include Valentin Loghin, Silvia Voinea, and Cornel Rusu. Again, I bevel this came out in 1977. (FACT CHECK- 1-Dumitrescu was in fact a composer with much work to his credit 2- This indeed came out in 1959).
I could not find much else out about the work but I found the music extremely interesting both in composition and execution. I believe these are excerpts from the larger work. I believe that Scott would judge this to be a good record. A lot of chorus on it so its got that going for it. For samples, I decided to go with “Tabloul 2-Revelion” which to me sounds like a rural song of peasants gathering. I also went with the last number “Tabloul 6 -Pirjolul” which Google translates into Pirates. I am not sure how this song relates to the works but there are a lot of shrieking lines and the drum rolls sound like guns and cannons.
Nice little pick up for the price and really good music. Satisfactory.