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The composer Gabriel Basarabescu - During the UNITER Awards, he was prized for all his entire work in the benefit of stage music

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 , ora 12.00

«Art is not Mathematics, not an exact science - here you go in the area of soul. »

On April 18th, 2011, our colleague Gabriel Basarabescu, radio producer at Radio Romania Actualities, was prized with the award for his entire theatre musical activity, an occasion for us to talk about.

You have recently received an important UNITER award for your entire career. How do you remember your beginning in this field?

This award was the start to remember, it made me think what determined me to go back in time. Everything started in 1983-1984 - incidentally, I had a band and I was trying to find a place where to rehearse and I went to the National Theatre. I rang at the gate and someone answered. I didn't know him only from TV; it was the actor Marin Hudac, a special man who told me: 'I don't promise you anything, but come tomorrow morning. ' I went there the second day and he told me he had spoken with maestro Beligan and that we could come the next day and have our rehearsal room. Staying there and rehearsing we met Radu Gheorghe and Claudiu Bleonț - it twas an absolutely sensational atmosphere. At a certain moment the first play appeared. The director Anca Ovanez told me : 'Come on, write the music for The Twelfth Night'. I was in my first year at the University and I composed the music for The Twelfth Night by Shakespeare and it was a beautiful dream.

How is it to compose the music for a theatre show? Do the plays influence you, or do you prefer certain techniques?
I don't have any preconception, but I think it's very important to have a vast load of listened music and I refer a lot to what the Italians have done, Morricone, for example. At us, with a lot of happiness and sadness I think at Toni Șuteu, a man who influenced many generations. A simple discussion with Toni Șuteu or with people like him made you like the music for a film or a theatre play. Generally, it would be right that those who write theatre music should have a minimal equipment, a minimal technique, to watch the movie home and to think of the musical phrase, the way of expressing depending on the image. Music is not only an illustration, but it becomes a character, a live creature in image and subject in the script.

How much did the contact with different directors help you and enrich you during your career?

Not very much - it was vital, for the art which is not Mathematics, not a fixed science - here you go a lot on soul, the human relationships. I only have two examples: Alexandru Tocilescu and Mihai Măniuțiu, two people who know music (I don't sit on the splice to say that they are as good as real musicians), Tocilescu because music is his realm, Măniuțiu because he listens to a lot of music, but he comes from a family of musicians. There are people who can't be fooled if you want to hurry and give a less refined or less inspired illustration at the first hand. You feel perfectly what it needs at the moment you work with them, at the moment where you are next to them you feel like you entered an area of smoke from where you escape or you are eaten, you can't make compromises. So the relation with a good director is vital. On the other hand, there is the thick end of a stick, directors who simply burry a show, that is you feel to do something at norm, that you must go like a fix job from 8.00 A.M to 4.00 P.M. God helped me 80% and I worked with people who enriched me.

What show have you collaborated for which is in included the present theatre season?

It's a paradox - working lately with Alexandru Tocilescu a lot, a complicated and very stubborn person, I had to let a little from me and now I have little written music in the present season. Shows for which I worked, where there are parts of music, illustrations, collages, musical structures would be Oblomovov, Casa Zoikai and Eduard III at The National Theatre. There will be a premiere at the 'Ion Creangă' theatre in a few days, I cannot reveal the whole thing but there is about 100% written music. It's a very interesting area, because you can't cheat at the theatre for children, either you break your neck or get applauded, they don't have false amiabilities.

There is also music of mine in a very interesting serial, București-strict secret, on Realitatea TV every Saturday. Last but not least, I had many projects for the radiophonic theatre on Radio Romania, Zaraza, Pușa Roth's play; some say it was very good, we will soon have Anton Pann. This would be for the moment. There would be three more projects, but it's better not mention them until they are certain.

So you would not like me to ask you the typical question about projects…

There are many projects and I admit that I would like to and feel very well to do that, always have work to do. I also like the rehearsals a lot and the moment when the show has its premiere, you have the feeling it's a child and goes into the world, it doesn't belong to you anymore. For me the beauty and the mystery are during the rehearsals.

Ioana Marghita
Translated by Elena Enache and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, Bucharest University