> [Archived] Interviews
About the project „Listen to 5 minutes of classical music” - Alexandru Tomescu, Cristina Comandașu, Bogdan Staicu (Mobexpert)
From March 1 to March 31, Radio România Muzical presents a new edition of the project "Listen to 5 minutes of classical music". A dialogue between Gabriel Marica, during the TV show Perpetuum mobile, and his guests: Cristina Comandașu, chief editor at Radio România Muzical, the project initiator, Alexandru Tomescu, campaign ambassador and Bogdan Staicu, executive director Mobexpert, one of the project's partners.
Where and when will we hear the music proposed by Radio România Muzical?
Cristina Comandașu: We will hear it in many places and I am very grateful to our partners that have made this thing possible. Since 2010, twice a year, classical music can be heard even in the most unconventional places for such music. If you allow me, I will read the partners of the project, March 2018 edition, which will start on March 1. I have put them in alphabetical order, so that no one is disadvantaged. These are: Arena Mall from Bacău, Carrefour România, Bran Castle, Cora România, CRH România, Dedeman, Hello Shopping Park from Bacău, Iulius Mall from Iași, Timișoara, Cluj, Suceava, Humanitas Bookstores, Mega Image, Mobexpert, Mood Media, Pallace Mall Iași, Park Lake Shopping Center, PWC România, Raiffeisen Bank, Seneca Anticafe, Vivo Pitești and Baia Mare. We have here some famous brands, some hipermarket chains, malls, furniture shops, like the one belonging to our tonight's guest, Mobexpert, we also have company offices, bookstores, Bran Castle, which is the most visited musem of Romania at this very moment. We looked for places where many people are coming, so that classical music reaches even more Romanians.
The campaign was launched in October 2010 and it is restarted in March and October every year. It is one of the main educational and cultural projects of the public corporation Radio Romania. What is the novelty that you suggest for 2018?
First of all, it's a continuity. We are permanently searching for new partners and I am going to thank the newest ambassador of the project, Alexandru Tomescu. He already came up with some ideas of new partners, so it'simportant for us to grow in this area, to reach as many public places as we can, where the project can be developed. With his help, on March 24, we'll be having the first event. We have chosen the space of ParkLake Shopping Center from Bucharest, because I saw that there are also other cultural activities taking place out there and besides, I have to mention that those from Mood Media, who provide the sound ambience for many of our partners, have realized there a very special sound ambience. So, on March 24, when Radio Romania Muzical turns 21 years of existence, Alexandru Tomescu will be singing and talking on the stage from the Central Atrium of ParkLake Shopping Center. What's more, this year, because we will celebrate 100 years from the Great Union, we have looked for some specialties in the sound library, which we could offer to the public: Hora staccato with the Philharmonica "George Enescu", conducted by Sergiu Celibidache, but also recordings of Radu Lupu, realized before he went abroad, in 1967 and 1969, and many others which will be discovered by the listeners including here, at Radio Romania Muzical, in our shows Musica Viva and Perpetuum.
Alexandru Tomescu, why did you accept to involve in this project?
It seemed absolutely normal for me to join this remarkable process initiated by Cristina Comandasu and by Radio Romania Muzical station. It's a project that I've met many times during the last eight years and it seemed a very nice idea and now I'm really glad that I have the opportunity to directly support it, to personally involve and to do what I know best - playing the violin.
So, your first event from the project "Listen to 5 minutes of classical music" takes place on March 24, in Park Lake Shopping Center in Bucharest. What do you think you'll be singing in this kind of place?
I didn't think about choosing a different program than the one that I would present in a concert hall, because this is the essence of the program "Listen to 5 minutes of classical music". Classical music comes towards you from its comfort zone, the concert hall. This is what we will be doing in that mall from Bucharest and what will give the shape and consistence to the event will be the music itself. Music has this power of transforming places, making the world better and I'm sure we'll experience some interesting things there.
Sir Bogdan Staicu, do you think that this kind of recital, of which I was speaking earlier, would match the ambience of Mobexpert stores?
Yes. I always said that valuable things are the ones which last throughout time. So does classical music. So does have to be furniture - a good furniture must last a long time, otherwise it wouldn't make sense. But, what's more, we want the places where we put our furniture to be inspiring for the client. They're not those places where you go, make your choices and buy fast...they must be places you like, where you can find thousands of inspirational ideas. And in order to maintain a pleasant ambience, music is something determining. If you think of a classic piece of furniture and you also listen to a specific song, it's good, you can think about how it will look in your house. So happens in the case of modern or contemporary furniture. There are songs that we broadcast through our own system - you mentioned earlier Mood Media. That's true, we've been collaborating with Mood media for 8-9 years now and in all our stores songs are carefully chosen; there is some special course of the musical pieces. Around Christmas we play a Christmas-themed music, in the summer another type of music, in spring another one. But music is generally something inspirational.
So, I understand that, from now on, there will be more classical music in your stores.
It already is. Since 2016 - I think with the help of Mood Media also - we've teamed up with Radio Romania Muzical and we feel good. Clients had pleasant reactions.
Sir Bogdan Staicu, how do you see the involvement of the business area in supporting cultural programs?
The business area should involve more. Who really builds a business for the future is also thinking about education. Culture and education go hand in hand. And if you think of the future, of children's future, of our future, you must always take a look at education and culture. Temporary things can be indeed pleasing, attractive, but they are temporary - they may or may not be. The business area is often focused on immediate results, which have nothing to do with lasting things.
Not a long time ago, BBC Magazine published the result of a poll, whose conclusion is that, besides its conventional framework, in order to have a future, classical music needs to get off the stage. Of course, directly referring to attracting the young public towards great virtues of art. How do you comment upon this statement?
Cristina Comandasu: I don't think there's much to comment. After all, that's what we do here, at Radio Romania Muzical, on a daily basis. We're trying to broadcast the most beautiful music and to explain it to everyone. Otherwise, this project has started due to this very idea, to reach people who should listen to us. Especially here, in Romania, where we have to admit, there is no great tradition in listening to classical music. After all, Romania has only 100 years of existence as a whole, while classical music has at least 10 times more than that, but that's why I have founded another side of the project "Listen to 5 minutes of classical music", the one for schools. And I think it is very important that whoever wants to listen to classical music in the schools from Romania, can do it thanks to this project. It's been 3 years since this project has been implemented in Romanian schools. Last year, 165.000 of children have participated in it, according to the data we received, but there might be more of them, so we're not talking about a small number. Of course, we want to grow more, but if these 165.000 of children will become in 10, 15, 20 years adults who listen to classical music and who encourage their children to listen to it too, then it's a really important thing. So, I think that what really matters is education and we need to work on this. Also, I think it matters how we promote and pack up this product. I think that, when it comes to this, Alexandru is a maestro and can tell you more about it.
You just reminded me! From an artist's point of view - on the stage or off the stage, how does it sound better?
Alexandru Tomescu: I'd make a very important addition. I don't think that classical music needs to get off. We are not on the stage, there, somewhere, with our heads in the clouds, and, whatever, we just get off like this, we get off...and worse...No, classical music simply comes towards people. There's no one above or under someone else. There is a difference, a very important one in my opinion, same type of arrogance..."You came back to Romania", I mean "you came back". No! You came. Period. You didn't come back. You made a choice. So yes, it's essential how you communicate classical music to teenagers, especially their first contact with it. The first songs they're listening are so important. And music itself, but especially the way it's explained, put into context, the bound created by teachers...these are the key elements. Because if you have a professor who's not interested, who's bored, maybe he had a bad day and he's not involved...
Or he doesn't have the means in that school. Because it happens quite a lot...
You don't have means...Nowadays it's very hard to say that you don't have means, because in every school, in every classroom I'm convinced there are at least 30 smartphones connected to the Internet. And in the moment that you have these two things - a smartphone and the internet - you have access to all the music that has ever been written. So, the means are right there. I can't deny it, maybe there are schools which face some difficulties, but today we have so many possibilities, so many alternatives to overcome them, that you just need to do a minimum of effort. Before 1989, in the communist era, obviously, there didn't exist or couldn't be found; there weren't any scores, recordings were hardly found, there were other types of resources missing, harshness was completely different. Nowadays we seriously need to put our minds to work.
What are we doing with those who are not at school anymore? How do we approach them? It just came to my mind an album of the German violin player Anne Sophie Mutter - In the club. She made a series of recitals in clubs and, as a result of these recitals, she released an album in 2015; an album which was thought by the directors of Deutsche Grammophon to have broken boundaries and opened a gate where other artists could come along. What do you think about this?
Alexandru Tomescu: A remarkable initiative, very praiseworthy. Anne Sophie Mutter is a violin player who dedicates most of her time to promoting contemporary music - and when I say contemporary, I don't think of 20th century composers, from which some may have left the country - it's specialized in making absolute auditions, it directly supports today's young wave of composers and, here it is, this disc that you mentioned comes to complete this image of an innovative artist.
Would you see yourself singing in a club, in a recital with that atmosphere?
I think I sang a few times in different clubs...obviously, in the moments where there were breaks from that very loud music...I also sang in Vama Veche, at Șoni, and here in Bucharest, in some places like this, less conventional.
And how did the public from there welcome you? How was the communication with the public?
Very good. Particularly, when you sing music - of any kind - I think it's less important the environment in which the concert takes place and more important your implication as an artist, how you manage to emotionally involve the listeners. Because practically this is a concert, not only someone who sings and someone who listens. Whether it takes place in a club or in the Carnegie Hall, these are just details, but the essence of the artistic performance is this - someone who sings and someone who listens.
Translated by Andreea Gabriela Orasanu,
MTTLC, an 1