The cycle of pieces “Zori” (which includes Zorile, Cântecele Bradului, Soul…Sing!… O, Soul!, Zori, calea lungă neîntorcătoare, Zorile de afarã) is inspired by two of the oldest funeral songs from Romania (both having pre-Christian origins).
First one is The Song of the dawn, a song, which initiates the defunct for the hereafter world. The singers used to call the deceased and give him advices about how to behave and what to do in the after-life.
The second one, the Song of the Pine tree was sang at the young & unmarried man or woman’s funeral service, it was a custom to decorate a pine tree, symbolizing a hypothetical partner in marriage. Young lads used to look in the woods after the dead person’s pine tree. It was a common belief that each person has its unique pine tree, hidden somewhere in the forest, which it shall be identified and brought over young person’s grave, otherwise the deceased will not rest in peace. When the pine tree has made it’s way inside the deceased courtyard, women start singing the Song of the Pine Tree and decorating it with sweets, fruits, ribbons, handkerchiefs, etc. Then it was carried at the cemetery and stuck on the grave, near the cross, symbolizing the just passed away young person’s replacement in the real world.
Being inspired by these songs and by their musical aspects, I bring up, in my cycle, the two facets of death – death as a tragedy, but also as a continuation in another type of life – a metamorphosis, seen through the eyes of the Romanian peasants.
The piece was commissioned by and dedicated to Jonas Willimann.