Toduta, Sigismund


Toduta, Sigismund

Concerto per archi no. 3 in stile antico



(b. Simeria-Hunedoara, 1908 – d. Cluj, 1991)

Sigismund Toduţă (1908-1991) was an important representative of the music school of Cluj. In his many qualities – composer, musicologist (member of the Academy) and eminent teacher – he embodies a synthesis of different European influences, received in his learning years (between 1926-1936) from such names as: Marțian Negrea, Ecaterina Fotino, Alfredo Casella, themselves trained in Romania, Berlin, Paris and Vienna. His studies were completed with a PhD at Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra from Rome (1936-1938) as well as by the composition classes with Ildebrando Pizzetti. He also specialized in Gregorian chant and Medieval polyphony, accomplishing thus his compositional style as an authentic combination between local folkloric melodies and polyphonic writing.
The main musical forms used by Toduţă – canon, rondo and variations – can be found in many of his creations: in his choral miniatures (Triptych), in his larger instrumental works (Passacaglia for piano), in his great symphonic works (The 3rd Symphony „Ovid” , the 5th) and in his vocal-symphonic masterpieces (Mioriţa, Meşterul Manole, Pe urmele lui Horea).
Together with George Enescu and Paul Constantinescu, Sigismund Toduţă is considered one of the most representative Romanian composers, remarkable through his originality of style and impressive works, awarded with numerous distinctions: the “George Enescu” prize, the “Robert Cremer” prize, the Romanian State Prize, prizes of the Composers’ Union, the Romanian’s Academy “George Enescu” prize.
We also owe him the founding of the Doctoral School in Romania (1968, the first one in music), as well as of the Transilvania State Philharmonic Choir in Cluj (1971) and the education of several generations of composers. The works written for vocal and instrumental soloists, for prestigious choral and orchestral ensembles of the “Gheorghe Dima” Music Academy from Cluj, have stimulated musicians and have enriched the Romanian contemporary repertoire.


 Concerto no. 3 for string orchestra “in stile antico” (1974), Old paintings for string orchestra (1974) and Sinfonietta “in antico stile” (1977): this is the diachronic succession of the works labeled by Sigismund Toduţă as “antique” or “old”, in the chronology of his symphonic and concert works.
The three ‘antiquepieces’of Toduță, were composed at a mature age, preceded by most of the works belonging to the same genres, among which: Concerto no. 1 for piano (1943), the five Symphonies and the two concertos for string orchestra (from 1951 and 1972-73).
Concerto no. 3 for string orchestra “in stile antico” is structured in three parts:

  • Part I: Ostinato. (theme with var. 1-26 and Coda) – a solemn part, with the character of a ballad.
  • Part II:  Aria (A + B) – with a warm, interiorized lyrical character.
  • Part III: Danza – expansive, with a motoric character.

Due to the popular character of the theme of the Ostinato which is included in an elaborate variational form, we see the two main influences of Toduță’s style: folk music and the rhetoric style of polyphonic music. The melodic quality of the Aria is an embodiment of the idea of a song, while the name suggests a slow part in a Bach suite. With an almost unnoticeable beginning (Esitando), Danza goes on to develop in an almost unstoppable whirl, resembling a tarantella. The ostinato rhythmic and melodic pattern reminds us of an ancestral toccata where forces are unleashed by rich divisi chords. The theme is enriched by very effective heterophonic writing. That same year, Toduţă detached the final part (Danza) from his Concerto, and suggestively named it Old engravings.
Offering us some wonderfully composed music, the Concerto no. 3 for string orchestra “in stile antico”, Old engravings for string orchestra and the Sinfonietta “in antico stile” by Sigismund Toduţă are among his “classical” works due to the ingenuity of the modal language, the rich poly-metric themes, and the combination of a local, jovial and elegy-like feel, imprinted on the most elaborate patterns of variational forms, imitative polyphony, forms with refrain and rendered by extremely refined orchestration.
For performance material please contact the Sigismund Toduta Foundation at

PhD Prof. Ecaterina Banciu, Gh.Dima Music Academy, Cluj

Read Romanian preface > HERE

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