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Cantus Domini - a capella concert of the Academic Choir of the Oltenia Philharmonic Orchestra

Friday, 9 February 2024 , ora 10.05

An "a capella" concert offered to the public the Academic Choir of the Oltenia Philharmonic in Craiova on the 1st of February, entitled "Cantus Domini". The ensemble conducted by German conductor Konrad von Abel performed religious works by: Johann Sebastian Bach, Josef Gabriel Rheinberger, Josquin du Prés, Pascal Bentoiu, Urmas Sisask and Giuseppe Verdi. The event is part of the 2023-2024 season of the Oltenia Craiova Philharmonic Orchestra, which is entitled Inspire Season, suggesting that the art of sound inspires us in all aspects of life.

With a young management team led by Ivona Stănculeasa, the Oltenia Philharmonic manages to keep the departments of the institution intact andto adapt to the times through programmes designed for all audiences, using 21st century technology to create unique musical experiences.

"Cantus Domini" was the first concert performedby the Academic Choir of the Oltenia Philharmonic in 2024, with music that invites introspection and, at the same time, brings a sign of hope after a turbulent period in which the continuity of the ensemblewas questioned.

Fortunately, this situation has been overcome, explained Ivona Stănculeasa - manager of the Oltenia Philharmonic: "It is knownthat the end of 2023 meant the implementation of austerity measures. Craiova did indeed have a moment when we had to look for a solution to keep the image and composition of the Oltenia Philharmonic intact and I can now say that we have managed to find this solution. And, at this moment, the Oltenia Philharmonic retains its two basic components - the Symphony Orchestra and the AcademicChoir."

"Cantus Domini" presented on the 1st of February was a concertthoroughness prepared with thoroughness by conductor Konrad von Abel together with the Oltenia Philharmonic's Academic Choir. A three-week work in which the artistsassimilated a repertoire new to them and had to gain in all professional aspects from a conductor, it is known, who was for 10 years, from 1986 to 1996, the assistant of the famous Sergiu Celibidache atthe Munchen Philharmonic.

"It's a program that musically spans six centuries, a mixed program, very diverse, all the pieces are amazing;you could say they are masterpieces. The work has been intense, and the participation and dedication of the musicians - extraordinary. I discovered many new thingswith each work,and the artists were very open to assimilate, understand, penetrate this music. It was an honor to work with these singers." - conductor Konrad von Abel

I have to tell you, "Cantus Domini" was an enthusiastically receivedconcert by the audience, in which I found Angel Rababoc, actor of the National Theatre of Craiova: "I'm glad I was able to be at this concert. How beautiful is the human voice, the most beautiful and perhaps the perfect instrument made by God! With this instrument, we sometimes make angels and those around us cry, laugh and rejoice. And sometimes, with the same voice, we give out foolish orders and perhaps fail to live up to even half of the creationgiven to us by the good Lord, namely the human voice. So, congratulations to Ivona Stănculeasa, to the Philharmonic, to the Academic Choir! And now I'm thinking about what an exceptional conductor is, how he can hold back so many pieces without a score! For me, it meant something very special, and I, as an actor, can only rejoice because, drop by drop, we can put things together beautifully."

And FatherAdrian Mazilița: "Iam very happy to be in this temple of music tonight, and I think I said temple, although I didn't think much about it, because not only is the repertoire ecclesiastical - indeed, Roman Catholic - but the music manages to touch hearts. A musicologist once said that music is the most concrete, tangible proof that Heaven exists. Because you can't see it, but you can hear it through music. And indeed, the harmonies we heard today, what maestro Konrad was able to convey to these wonderful choir members, came back to us in full and really touched our hearts. After all, that is the meaning of music;to make us better throughsound."

The Oltenia Philharmonic's Academic Choir and conductor Konrad von Abel were on stage; 45 voices that harmonized, listenedto each other and created homogeneous sounds, achieving an evening full of emotion and, last but not least, of hope shared by Bogdan Botezatu - member of the ensembleand choirmaster: "Inone word I can describe the collaboration with the maestro asintense. The maestro never lets the bar down. He was extremely demanding, meticulous, he didn't miss a single detail. The repertoire he chose was, for our choir, absolutely everything new. Not a single piece sung this evening was a rehearsal, which made it all the more difficult for the choirto bring out these sounds and phrases which, as I said, the maestro was very demanding. This ensemblehas a mission in the education of young people, because now, thanks to the management of the institution, a lot of work is being done on this segment of education and a lot of work is being done on age groups."

Reportage by Jeanine Costache
Translated by ,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu