Alexander Balanescu (1954, Romanian)

Balanescu is mainly a performer, noted for being the founder in 1979 and for 15 years leader of the Michael Nyman Band, founder and leader of the Balanescu Quartet (established in 1987 – link to my Balanescu Quartet introductory page), and for his involvement in the music of minimalists Michael Nyman and Gavin Bryars (links to my composers pages) and his explorations in “Classical-Meets-Progressive Rock” crossover style. He appears as composer with the Balanescu Quartet in such two entertaining recitals:

Possessed, Want Me, No Time Before Time in  Possessed (with arrangements of Krafwerk and David Byrne). Balanescu Quartet. Mute Records Limited CD STUMM 111 (UK), 61421-2 (US), Int 846.887 (Germany), ALCB-674 (Japan) and other editions (1992)

Luminitza (with Clare Connors). Balanescu Quartet.  Mute Records Limited CD STUMM 124 (UK), 61630-2 (USA), 74321 186072 (France), INT 846.911 (Germany) (1994) and other editions

On the other hand, the music Balanescu composed for the 1995 film by Philip Haas, “Angels & Insects” ( link will open new tab to Wikipedia), is predominantly and uniformly plangent to saccharine to lachrymose. Each track is short but you have 22 of those:

Angels & Insects. The Luminitza Chamber Orchestra and The Balanescu Quartet. Mute CD STUMM 147, (Germany) Intercord INT 846.928, (Japan) Pony Canyon PCCY-00899 (1995-8), Universal Music Romania 4811725 (2015)

Maria T. Balanescu Quartet, Steve Arguelles. Mute CDSTUMM242 (Europe), Mute 9286-2 (US) (2005), Universal Music Romania 4811723 (2015)

The Maria T. of the title is Maria Tănase, a popular singer very famous in Alexander Balanescu’s native Romania, active from the end of the 1930s to her death of cancer in the early 1960s. Balanescu’s “inspirations” (rather than “arrangements”) are pleasurable and easy-listening, but a little to uniform in their compositional processes and plaintive/nostalgic mood.

Comments are welcome