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The socio-political environment in the aftermath of World War II has greatly influenced Romanian music. During the Communist era, the government imposed regulations on musical composition dictating that music should be accessible to all members of society. Composers were therefore barred from writing works that were considered too complex or avant-garde for the standards of the nation. Many composers struggled with this official ideology because they wished to follow their own natural styles and desired to synchronize with Western compositional trends of the time, including aleatoric and twelve-tone serial music. Even before the government relaxed the restrictions on composition at the end of the Communist era in 1989, some Romanian composers were already experimenting with contemporary Western styles, while keeping a low profile in the process. Romanian music written for piano during the twentieth century represents a wide variety of styles, mixing elements from Western traditions with local elements of classical concert music and folk music. This document discusses the history of Romanian music, its rich and varied contributions to twentieth-century repertoire, and in particular, the four works for piano written by the avant-garde composer Cornel Țăranu that serve as examples of one important direction taken by Romanian music in the twentieth century.
Adviser: Mark Clinton