Friday, 14 October 2016

Iancu Dumitrescu - Pierres Sacrées, Harryphonies, Grand Ourse (1991, rec. '85-'91)

Speaking of 'can't believe I haven't posted this yet'...  If Stravinsky was my gateway drug to Pendercki, and Pendercki to Xenakis; then Xenakis was my gateway drug to Iancu Dumitrescu.  If there's a more unhinged composer still out there, I've still to hear them - hope I won't be waiting too long.  But for now, here's my first post of the grand vizier of Romanian spectralism.

If you think you've heard some of the most violent classical music ever written - Black Angels? Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima? Terretektorh? - then sit tight for Pierres Sacrées.  Inspired by a dream of exploding glass plates whilst dozing off on night-shift military service, this piece for prepared piano and 'metallic plates and objects' barely sounds like classical music in any sense.  The close-miked production and deliberate use of feedback and distortion pushes the 1991 work closer in sound to some of the electronic experiments you'd find on an early 80s United Dairies or Come Organisation compilation.

Elsewhere on this CD, there's two versions of Dumitrescu's Harryphonies (named after a percussion instrument of his invention); one more spare and menacing, featuring the late great avant-garde double bass player Fernando Grillo, and one more fleshed out with recognisable orchestral instruments, and ocean-submerged bells.  If you've got a handful of Xenakis or Scelsi works under your belt, this final track on the CD might be your logical starting point, especially in the writing for brass.  And don't miss Grande Ourse (also known by its Romanian title Ursa Mare), as sinister buzzings and rattlings give way to a mournful drone and clicking string bows; had Dumitrescu been heard on record prior to the early 80s, he might easily have made the Nurse With Wound list.

More to come from Mr (and Mrs) Dumitrescu in due course!


  1. yes...they are under appreciated imo - this is a great album; am lucky enough to be seeing them at cafe oto next month. thanks for your shares

  2. Just discovered your wonderful blog, thank you for posting this essential album!

    1. nice one. will be posting another Dumitrescu in a week or two!