About Aaron Fazakas

Fresh Blood on the Contemporary Music Stage in Cluj-Napoca
An article by Virgil Mihaiu
The Tribuna newspaper, 15 January

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I have said it many times: "Gh. Dima" Music Academy in Cluj is one of the highest education institutions through which Romania can consider itself to have been integrated in the cultural Europe long ago. An event which proves that the statement above can be valid even in the future is the recent issue of the "Stalactite – the Silent Witness" CD. This marks the discographic debut for composer Aaron Fazakas and conductor Cristian Sandu. Both were educated in the fertile environment of the contemporary music school in Cluj: the former had Cornel Ţăranu and Cristian Misievici as masters, while the latter had Florentin Mihăescu, Gh. Victor Dumănescu and Eduárd Terényi.


The work that Aaron Fazakas puts forward is a concentrated suite in three parts, a sonorous metaphor of the eighth dwarf’s adventure in Grimm brothers’ fairytale, lost under the mountain where Snow White is hiding. Ignoring any kind of possible psychoanalytical associations, the musical world that the composer is inviting us into is imbued with candor and juvenile freshness. One can feel the empathy with which he bends over the perishable island of original happiness which he represents, in the flow of life, childhood. To achieve this effect of loving serenity, Aaron Fazakas uses – with discretion and severe stylistic parsimony – a wide technical arsenal, adapted exclusively to the vocabulary of the string orchestra. The leitmotif presence of the pizzicato – with connotations which relate to the drops that the stalactites generate along the geologic eras – is subtly inserted in polyphonies of ample respiration, whose counterpoint volumes are dosed with a master’s hand. With good reason, musicologist Oleg Garaz highlights in the presentation text: "The language of the whole work is a synthetic one where we find both the intonations characteristic to jazz, and to the Protestant choir, without mentioning that uncontracted melodic line and, in a certain way, non-referential, all together imposing a playful and miniature character altogether".


Judging by this opus, the main trump of this young composer, Aaron Fazakas, resides in his true belief that music is, above everything else, a privileged means of communication between superior beings. As such, in order to accomplish his mission, the music and its author (even in this disabused century!) shall essentially stake on the melodic element, whose “exhaustion” had alerted the compositional world after Nietzsche had proclaimed the death of the Divine.


The inspired work composed by Fazakas benefits from an equally inspired performance by the Students’ String Orchestra at the Music Academy in Cluj. The young conductor Cristian Sandu manages to confer a maximum of transparency and grace to a complex and ambitious score. The first audition offered within the 2004 Musical Autumn in Cluj festival had a fully-deserved success.


One final suggestion: jazz historian and speleologist Iosif Viehmann would gladly support, I am sure, the performance of this work in any of the beautiful caves where concerts have already been organized by the Romanian Speleological Society.

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