Paul Constantinescu


Romanian composer, violinist, conductor • 1909-1963

Short biography

Paul Constantinescu • Romanian composer, violinist, conductor (b. 1909, Ploiești – d. 1963, Bucharest). His rich work, firmly rooted in Romanian folk melody and old Byzantine chant, a remarkable synthesis of which he incorporated into his compositional style, includes pieces in almost every musical genre.


His work for the musical theatre includes: the comic opera A Stormy Night (1934, revised 1950), based on the play by Ion Luca Caragiale, premiered in Bucharest, 1935, revised version in 1951; and the choreographic poem Wedding in the Carpathians (1938). Paul Constantinescu’s vocal-symphonic work is also particularly important, thanks to his two Byzantine-inspired masterpieces of religious music: The Passion and Resurrection of the Lord, a Byzantine paschal oratorio, and The Nativity of the Lord, a Byzantine Christmas oratorio.


From the very start Paul Constantinescu’s symphonic music achieved a well-defined place in the repertory of Romanian orchestras. In his chamber music too, Paul Constantinescu takes up the relationship with the tradition of harnessing Byzantine modes that was pioneered by D.G. Kiriac, composing works of great originality, combining this direction with the procedures of modern polyphony and a highly personal modal harmony. Elements of archaic song are to be found here, as well as the rhythms and intonations of ecclesiastical chant and the particularities of folk music.

Paul Constantinescu


Sacred Song • Composition: Paul Constantinescu; Performance: Marin Cazacu – cello, Iulian Ochescu – piano

Romanian Youth Palace, 2018