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George Georgescu's Art - A New CD Released by the Radio Hall Publishing House
On Thursday, 4th October, the opening of the 2012-2013 season of the Bucharest 'George Enescu' Philharmonic represented a chance to meet first-class artists of the Romanian music scene - such as pianist Valentin Gheorghiu, conductor Horia Andreescu, and members of the Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra - as well as a chance to listen to Beethoven's music, impressive due to the monumentality, dramatism and joy it conveys. The musical pieces that were chosen from the German composer's work on the occasion of the first symphonic concert presented at the Romanian Athenaeum during this season were theFantasy in C Minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, Op. 80, and the Symphony No. 9, - the other purpose of the concert being to evoke one of the most significant artistic personalities of the Romanian culture, conductor George Georgescu, whose 125th birthday was celebrated on 12th September.
Therefore, it is no accident that, during the break of the above-mentioned concert, the Radio Hall Publishing House should have released, in collaboration with the Radio Romania Foundation, the CD titled George Georgescu's Art, rightfully included into the Maestro collection. The CD - which is about 78 minute long - is exclusively dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven's music, the George Georgescu-conducted version, and proposes the discovery of valuable recordings, belonging to the archive of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company: we are dealing with the Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 - a 1964 National Radio Orchestra recording -, and the Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, with soprano Emilia Petrescu, mezzo-soprano Martha Kessler, tenor Ion Piso, and bass Marius Rintzler, soloists accompanied by the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra during the 1961 edition of the 'George Enescu' International Festival. Moreover, this album - created by the Radio Romania Heritage Development Group - also includes a fragment from a rehearsal conducted by George Georgescu, in which the maestro's voice can be heard.
During the release event, Andrei Dimitriu, Manager/Director of the 'George Enescu' Philharmonic, talked about the CD release in the context of the musical evening which opened the new season of the Bucharest Philharmonic, 'Any season opening is an event. We are striving to also turn the opening of this new season into an event as spectacular as possible by paying homage to one of the founders of this institution and its long-time director, maestro George Georgescu. We wish to take advantage of this opportunity, as well as the audience's enthusiasm, who expect special events in the present-day musical world. George Georgescu is synonymous with the Bucharest Philharmonic, and thus the release of a homage-disk dedicated to his activity, containing music conducted by the maestro, seems to me a natural thing to do in this institution. The public radio has succeeded in recovering the Symphony No. 9 from a recording with historical value; at the same time, there also exists a rehearsal fragment - we are dealing with a CD with historical value, not just a strictly artistic one.'
The release event was also attended by Jean Charles Hoffele, a writer for the Diapason review, one of the most influential publications dedicated to music in the European geographical area, who revealed to us the reason why he was visiting Romania, 'I have come to your country to pay homage to the personality of George Georgescu, one of the most important Romanian conductors and, at the same time, the founder of the Bucharest Philharmonic. This concert-homage has presented the audience Valentin Gheorghiu, who made his debut as a soloist alongside the Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by George Georgescu, therefore representing in a way our direct link to the personality of this great conductor. Such tribute events never take place in France - we do have worthy composers, conductors and soloists, but nobody organises such events. History still exists in Romania. My grandmother was friends with George Enescu - she is the one who initiated me in the mysteries of music from an early age, by means of some of his recordings. She is also the one from whom I learned about George Georgescu, when she gave me an album with the two Romanian Rhapsodies, by George Enescu, conducted by George Georgescu. I was around ten years old at the time, but his phrasing and sense of rhythm struck me as extraordinary, and this conductor has remained for me one of the greatest Romanian musicians I have had the chance to listen to - of course, there also are Sergiu Celibidache, Ionel Perlea and Constantin Silvestri, but for me Georgescu has remained one of the most important maestros who have wielded the baton, in his performances one being able to catch glimpses of the typical German discipline and the cohesion orchestras rarely display.'
Translated by Cristina Firoiu
MTTLC graduate, Bucharest University