The laughter and tears provoked at the Albanian Romance Concert
When you come across the term romance, or lied ∕ lieder it refers to a vocal music genre widespread in the romantic period often with prominent features, while when we mention “vocal works” or “vocal miniatures” the spectrum expands and becomes more contemporary. But the annual activity under the title “Albanian Romance” continues on transmitting the same old concepts thus bringing nothing new on our scenes. This year, in the great hall of the University of Arts, 16 compositions were presented, which truth be told were generally influenced by the same old concept that was radiated by the title of the activity, mentioning the most typical L. Maloku, A. Bajraktari, A. Fejzo, K. Lara etc. What must be understood is that there can be no new artistic expression without a new musical language. Thus, every classical concept would be detected creating a dissonance with today’s creative works often making us laugh with their authors. If we were, for example, to listen to the same (however) beautiful folk melody, how could we possibly be able to come up with any new ideas, time, and especially professionalism.
Secondly, from a more general point of view, it was noted that the timing of the works was boring, lacked in enthusiasm and represented no vitality of the time we lived whatsoever. Was it because the selected authors lacked in creativity? On the other hand, in some of the creations, there was a discrepancy between the idea of poetry and what music represented and transmitted. It seemed as if it was music which was originally created and then the written words of that melody. And this brings tears to the eyes. The most typical work that represents such a problem would be the work titled “Heshtje ska” (Albanian for “there is no silence”) or even the one with the title “Mall”, or “I dyzuari”.
Also generalizing the values of compositional expressive tools what was noted was a deep lack of pianistic fact. In a contemporary work for voice and piano, a piano score would have to be raised to the vocal level rather than being reduced to a simple chord accompaniment. Nevertheless, in some works such as Alban Dhamo, Vaso Tole, Endri Sina etc., there were efforts for harmonious research.
In this optics we noticed that in general there was no finding of a special and inspired musical artistic situation. The works seem to have been written to benefit those little money and to merely add to the list of our creators’ creations. We can exclude here, perhaps as the most accomplished work of all, Alban Dhamos’ “Tingulli i heshtjes” (Albanian for “Sound of Silence”), which brought a very interesting initial state of affairs, but which would have to enter into more complex relations in the developmental midship. A serious work with a concise and unified structure with the text was that of Zef Çoba who has consolidated his figure in such vocal works. A work that consisted on formal research was that of D. Çene, which brought new creative concepts, though materially remaining in a rigid tonal axis and without proper emotional outbursts.
The concert opened with a work by Ermir Dergjini, who sadly passed away 10 years ago and almost closed with the creation of Kozma Lara, the person who founded the festival many years ago. This was the only organizational finding of the concert. Last year’s concert was somewhat more of a whole and had more accomplished works than this year’s, such criticism should remain I the minds of our vocalists. Songs such as “Mall” or “Shikimi im”, can make you joyfully laugh and desperately cry all at once, and especially after hearing the final pathetic phrase: “It is as if Mozart was alive.”
Finally, I would like to point out that artistic activities should not serve as silly invitations to our closest friends. They should serve as official requests for the participation of all authoritarian creators in the country. Especially to composers who contribute to the quality of enhancement. Among which we noticed not the names of creators such as Nestor Kraja, Fatos Qerimaj, Sokol Shupo, Thoma Gaqi, Pëllumb Vorpsi, Edmond Buharaja etc. The ministry provides funds from taxpayers not to increase the number of friends for our organizers, but to increase the number of valuable works of our culture.
The singers were quite different. They made a much more serious representation of themselves and had careful choices of their voices and abilities. We can mention Soprano Erinda Agolli’s beautiful voice and expression, Marie Priff’s clear voice and seriousness in performance, soprano Nina Muho’s technique and vocal qualities, etc. Soprano Edonjeta Hajdari made an interesting figure as well for her intonation and accuracy in her execution. However it was noticed that dictation remains the weakest weapon of our vocalists.
Among the names of the professional and the well-known pianists such as Etrita Ibrahimi and Ardita Bufaj we shall mention as well the name of those who contributed artistically and professionally such as Milen Nikolla, Laura Kushta, etc.
In conclusion I can add that the image of the musical artistic values of this activity had something in common with the bizarre composition of the poster of activity where the Albanian Romance was put on the background of a figure resembling somewhat an eagle that was torn into pieces with red and black colors. Ironically in such case I know not whether to laugh or cry.