This page contains audio extracts from several of Radulescu's compositions. It provides samples of work from different periods of his life to give a flavor of his overall output. A full list of the commercially available recordings of his music is given on the Recordings page.

Extract details

Taaroa op.7 (Bucharest, 1969) for orchestra

For his final exams in Bucharest in 1969 Radulescu composed the orchestral work Taaroa, named after the supreme creator god in the mythology of French Polynesia. In an interview in Le Monde de la Musique in 2001 Radulescu recalled that the concept of this work displeased his teachers, who found the idea “mystical and even imperialist”; only the composer Anatol Vieru supported him. In early listings the work is entitled Music for Taaroa (for 59 soloists) and is subtitled “Homage to Mircea Eliade”. Note: this archival recording, of the last five minutes of the work’s premiere performance, is included here only for its considerable documentary interest in allowing us to hear a snatch of the “pre-spectral” Radulescu. Performers unknown.

Credo op.10 (Paris, 1969/1976) for nine celli

This was Radulescu’s first spectral score. The idea for Credo came to him while he was still in Romania, but the idea was worked out after his arrival in Paris and revised in 1976. He made a further version of the work, Ultimo Credo, in Freiburg in 1995. Radulescu discusses Credo in his interview with Bob Gilmore, “Wild Ocean”, reproduced in part on the interviews page. The performance extract here, from the Saarbrücken Festival in 1979, may have been the world premiere.

"infinite to be cannot be infinite, infinite anti-be could be infinite"
IVth String Quartet op.33 (Paris, 1976 – Versailles, 1987)

Radulescu’s Fourth String Quartet is for 9 string quartets, ideally with eight placed around the audience and one in the center, simulating the strings of an enormous viola da gamba. The piece may alternatively be done with one live quartet and the others prerecorded. This extract is the beginning of the CD recording by the Arditti Quartet (Editions RZ, 2001).

Ecou Atins [Touched Echo] op.39 (Versailles, 1979) for bass & grand flute, horn in F, soprano, cello, sound icon with three players, and 29 psalteries on tape

This beautiful and rarely-performed work is one of the first in which Radulescu laid out many of the special techniques that inform his great works of the decades ahead. In it we hear the sound icon, a concept introduced by Radulescu in the 1970s, a grand piano placed on its side and its strings bowed with fine nylon threads. This is an extract from the première, given by Ensemble L’Itinéraire at the Musée de l’Art Moderne in Paris in June 1979.

Das Andere op.49 (Avoriaz/Versailles, 1983) for viola solo

This work is dedicated to Radulescu’s musicologist friend Patrick Szersnovicz “for his
Brahmsian soul”. An extensive discussion of Das Andere by Radulescu himself can be found on the Liner Notes page of this site, as part of the text for the CD from which this extract is taken: Vincent Royer, viola - Intimate Rituals (Sub Rosa, 2006).

Frenetico il longing di amare op.56 (Paris, 1984) for bass voice, octobass flute, sound icon

This work demonstrates, among other things, Radulescu’s highly original approach to the human voice. He himself performs the vocal part, which displays a distinctive mixture of “normal” singing, overtone sonorities, and a fused timbre of singing and whistling simultaneously. The piece begins with deep bass tones from all three musicians; listening over inbuilt computer speakers may give a poor impression of the rich sonorities of the music. Horatiu Radulescu, voice; Pierre-Yves Artaud, octobass flute; Petra Junken and Eric Tanguy, sound icon (from the CD Horatiu Radulescu, Adda, 1993).

Amen op.88 (Versailles/Freiburg, 1993-94) for organ

Amen is one of a number of works written for, and commissioned by, the German organist Christoph Maria Moosmann. One of Radulescu’s most exquisite and haunting works, the music develops three sorts of material in its twelve minute span: a majestic opening idea which recurs throughout, ritornello-style, with various registral and timbral filtering; high, quasi-improvised passages in the extremely high register of the organ; and a fragment of a plainchant-like melody which is elaborated in the middle of the piece into a five-voice mensural canon. This is an extract from a live performance by Christoph Maria Moosmann.

The Quest - Piano Concerto op.90 (Freiburg, 1995-96)

Radulescu’s Piano Concerto was commissioned by the Hessischer Rundfunk Frankfurt and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science and the Arts for the German pianist Ortwin Stürmer, who also commissioned Radulescu’s second, third and fourth piano sonatas. Liner notes (in German and in English) to the CPO recording of the work can be found on the Liner Notes page. This extract is from the beginning of the third movement, “Ancestor’s Chants”. Ortwin Stürmer, piano; Radio Sinfonie Orchester, Frankfurt conducted by Lothar Zagrosek (from The Quest, CPO, 1998).

Exil intérieur - Sonata for cello and piano op.98 (Versailles/Düsseldorf, 1997)

This work is a further expression of the love of sonata structures that inform many of Radulescu’s works from the early 1990s onwards. The sonata is in four movements, of which we hear here mov.3, “Ancestral Bells”. Cello and piano both play a Romanian Christmas carol from Moldavia, a hymn dedicated to the sun, at different tempi simultaneously, resulting in what Radulescu called a “diffracted heterophony”. Catherine Marie Radulescu, cello, Hannelott Weigelt-Pross, piano; unreleased studio recording.

"return to the source of light" - 6th piano sonata op.110 (Vevey, 2007)

Radulescu’s last piano sonata, and the last opus in his long list of works, was commissioned by the English pianist Ian Pace and premered at the TRANSIT Festival, Leuven, Belgium, in October 2007. This is the first movement, “Use your own light”. The initial rhythmic motif, a rhythm in a bar of 5+4+4+4, reiterates a low D, with propulsive material in the right hand breaking into higher registers like sudden shafts of lightning. Subsequent sections introduce polyphonic treatments, often in the form of mensural canons, of the Romanian folk melodies that recur in much of Radulescu’s later work. The movement builds steadily to an almost manic intensity, with the pianist taxed to the limits of his dexterity. Ian Pace, piano; live performance from the TRANSIT Festival 2007.

Music extracts

Name Play Duration
Amen
7:10 min
Credo
5:31 min
Das Andere
5:57 min
Ecou Atins
5:36 min
Exil
Catherine Marie Tunnell

3:11 min
Fourth String Quartet
4:01 min
Frenetico il Longing
3:46 min
Piano Sonata no.6
10:17 min
Taaroa
5:33 min
The Quest
3:53 min