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'The story of the first symphony' told at the Radio Hall
"The story of the first symphony" told at the Radio Hall. On Wednesday, June 9th, from 19:00, the Radio Chamber Orchestra will present an integral program George Stephănescu, the one recognized as the creator of the first symphony in the history of Romanian music and the founder of the Romanian Opera. The national overture, the Octet in G major for strings and blowers and the Symphony in A major will be the works performed under the direction of Tiberiu Soare, in the event broadcast live on Radio Romania Musical. More information about this project, in the interview conducted in Perpetuum mobile by Lucian Haralambie:
Three guests in the Radio România Muzical studio: Liliana Staicu - the director of the Radio Romania OrchestrasandChoirs, the conductor Tiberiu Soare and the cellist Radu Sinaci. Hello to everyone!
Liliana Staicu: Glad tobehere!
Tiberiu Soare: Glad toseeyou!
Radu Sinaci: Glad toseeyou!
Our discussion start swith next week's concert, held on Wednesday, June 9th, by the Radio Chamber Orchestra. We are talking about an integral program George Stephănescu, in which w ewill listen to the first Romanian symphony - a symphony written in Paris in 1869, the Symphony in A major. Mrs. Staicu, what other works from George Stephănescu's creation will we listen to on Wednesday and what was the idea of this integral George Stephănescu program?
Liliana Staicu: Indeed, a full program George Stephănescu. In addition to what you mentioned, the symphony of this great Romanian composer, the first symphony in the history of Romanian music, we will also listen to an Octuor and the National Overture - three works that will give the over all image of this Romanian musician. Romanian, but also, to a large extent, the birth of the National Opera in Bucharest. We are talking about the fact that, this year, the Bucharest National Opera celebrates a century of existence, and a special effort in this process of giving birth to an emblematic institution of Romanian culture was made by George Stephănescu. Your other guests will talk about this a little later.
I would just like to say that this concert on June 9th is practically the first concert with the public in the current season of the Radio Chamber Orchestra. It was a very difficult year for everyone, especially for musicians, for the artists of Radio România ensembles. You could see many concerts online, but now is the time when we will meet with the public and I hopet hat it will be in largen umbers in the Radio Hall. Of course, the hall will have a limited capacity, but we look forward to seeing you. It is a special program that is part of a remarkable project, carried out in partnership with the D'a Camera Association, an association that is in its first major project and for which I must especially congratulate Radu Sinaci for the effort made in the assembly these remarkable musicians - the vast majority, from the Radio Chamber Orchestra - to the D'a Camera Association.
You can now purchase the tickets.
Liliana Staicu: Yes, indeed. Tickets can be found online, on iabilet.ro, but also at the box office of the Radio Hall starting today, between 15.00 and 18.00, and on the days when concerts take place, until 18.50. I would like to announce to the public and ask them to respect all the access rules, which are displayed at the entrance to the Radio Hall, and also to come to the hall in time. The ticket office will close at 18.50 because at the same time we will limit the access to the hall, just so that the public can sit down and ensure as much as possible all the rules of distance, access and exit from the hall at the end of the concert. But I am convinced that as it happened in October, when we managed to do two concerts with the public and everything went very well, and this time the public will react as it should. And I also want to say that for access to the concerts at the Radio Hall, it is not necessary to present a vaccination certificate or to present a test, as long as we respect a percentage of occupancy of the hall within the limits of the legislation.
I want to go back toWednesday's event. As you said, it is part of the "Story of the First Symphony" project. But, for an even clearer image of this project, I think we need to talk about the association that proposes this concert next week at the Radio Hall. So, Radu Sinaci - this time as president, what is the role of the D'a Camera Cultural Association?
Radu Sinaci: I have the special honor to be here today, as president of the D'a Camera Association, but especially of the organizers of this concert in partnership with Radio România Muzical and Radio Orchestras and Choirs, also with the University Bucharest National Music Festival, the other very reliable partner we have. It all started with and with the support of the National Fund for Cultural Administration. Following the competition, we won this project, which we named "The Story of the First Symphony". Of course, we cordially invite the audience to come to the concert and listen to the meaning of the story of the first symphony, because each story has a meaning. That's why I chose this name, because behind every symphony, every musical note, every composer there is a story. And we want to perform and tell the first symphony, because it will be told at the beginning of the concert by our colleague, Andreea Kiseleff. And, with the wonderful direction of maestro Tiberiu Soare, we can hope to show the public the true joy of the first symphony, which was born at a time when Romania - or what Romania was then - did not know thes ymphony in anyway.
And here we are talking about the first Romanian symphony relatively late compared to other countries. But, that's why we, the members of the D'a Camera Cultural Association, came to... enjoy what we already have. Unfortunately, what we have at the moment is a symphony that has never been printed, and our project, "The Story of the First Symphony," does just that. We come to perform this first symphony and not only, and the Octuor, and the National Overture written by George Stephănescu, but especially the symphony. We print it, we sing it, we distribute the scores - both online and physically - to the main philharmonics and conservatories in the country because I believe that at present, if it does not exist online, no score exists. It is the sad truth and this is exactly what I was talking about with Mrs. Staicu, whom I want to thank in this way for the trust and support she gave us, because without her this story would not have happened. And also the National University of Music, and also the mastro Tiberiu Soare - an old and very important partner of the Radio Chamber Orchestra.
I must mention that I did most of the works in the first absolute audition with mastro Tiberiu Soare ... without which I am convinced that it would not have happened. And here we come with joy and honor to have an experience together, a rendition of the first symphony - that is exactly the opposite of contemporary music - and I am very happy about that.
Radu Sinaci, Tiberiu Soare, I want to talk about the printing of this paper. It must have been a long research job. I want you to tell me about this research work. How did it all go?
Tiberiu Soare: First of all, I thank Radu for his words. For me, it was a novelty. I didn't know that the largest number of works, avant-garde compositions ... but I'm glad! I've never kept statistics and maybe it's better that way for me.
Regarding the score of the first symphony ... The conductors are the people who deal with the scores. A conductor, I think, is the sum of the scores he has studied. Not necessarily the ones he directed, but the ones he studied. And this Symphony in A major by George Stephănescu is already in my personal history. Here she had an important contribution and we must mention her, Corina Ciuplea, as editor. At this hour, when we are talking live, Corina is still thinking and waiting for me to send her some corrections regarding a new already corrected copy of the score we received just before entering your studio. The work of writing and caring for an edition, especially a first edition, a symphony is not a game. Of course, the sources were, let's say, not in a very good condition. We worked on some photocopies of some scores found in some archives. Apparently, from the state of the orchestral material, I realize that this symphony has been performed before. There were badges of musicians on the scores, but it was certainly a lot of work. The score was not in a state where it could only be transcribed into a computer program and printed, by no means! We had to pay a lot of attention - you know what it's like, the devil is in the details. There, in detail, was the biggest job and especially for Corina. I was just the one looking at a copy she was bringing and I was saying "Yeah, but you see there's that one, there's that one ...". And she went back and started working again. Unfortunately, the hardest work fell on her.
There are some recordings, if I'm not mistaken, of the Arad Philharmonic. Have you used this material throughout this journey?
Tiberiu Soare: Radu made it available to me at one point, through some links sent ... I didn't get to listen because I spent my last period in a fantastic time crisis, but, in any case, voluntarily or les svoluntarily, I am faithful to my principle that I try not to listen to recordings until I get an idea of the score. Why? It's very simple! In order to be able to realize what the respective performer did there, otherwise I can take it for granted ... A conductor reads the score and I stuck to it too!
Liliana Staicu: In addition to what Tiberiu said, I would also like to mention the fact that we also work in a very close partnership with Corina Ciuplea. We started a process of digitization, transcription, printing and digital archiving of all music materials, all existing Romanian music scores in the library of the Radio, which, as Tiberiu said, are mostly in a very bad state and it is very difficult to perform from the sescores. As such, we will try to develop this virtual library, which we will later make available to all cultural institutions in the country, precisely in this joint effort to bring to the fore, or to bring for the first time in the foreground the Romanian musical creation.
Radu Sinaci, also within this project initiated by the D'a Camera Cultural Association, also launched an open call to participate in the first online orchestral ensemble in Romania.
Radu Sinaci: That's right. We come with news, I think, good for us as musicians, but also for young people. This orchestral ensemble is practically the first online orchestral ensemble intended exclusively for young people - pupils and students. And here we're going to use technology a little bit because ... why don't we enjoy it, right? I really like this. And then we will do so: we will video tape the mastro Tiberiu Soare and we will take advantage of this recording. We will present this recording to the future candidates, we will select a passage from the symphony written by George Stephănescu, and the pupils and students will sing that passage and will register a ccording to how the maestro Tiberiu Soare conducts. This will be doubled - if and how we consider it necessary, I still do not know exactly because it is an on going thing. It is possible that there will be a guide to ther ecording of the Radio Chamber Orchestra from the concert on June 9th. Also, what else would I like to say ... something I am no tproud of, but I have a great joy ... it is also a song, I have a joy like a fountain. That's how I have a joy, like a fountain, related to the D'a Camera Cultural Association. Who are we? We are members, exclusively members of the Radio Chamber Orchestra, we have no outsider. And, to my knowledge, it is the first cultural association made up of a Romanian symphony orchestra - we are chamber music, we are not symphony, but thatdoesn't matter - and I think this can give birth to very beautiful things. Here is the first product we make. In fact, it is not the first, it is the first official. Unofficially, we did one more thing, I think, wonderful - at least for me it was fantastic - because together with Mrs. Staicu we managed with the Radio Chamber Orchestra to do what many did not do before us. Namely what? In 2018, if I'm no tmistaken, I organized an exclusive Sabin Drăgoi concert (I have to confess this because I also have the joy of being from Arad) and, in addition to singing those works, I also printed them, I also distributeda nd I recorded them. Some of them, unfortunately, many of them were printed for the first time in Romania. That says a lot about our ability to patrimonialize scores. For them, really, I showed all the libraries in Romania; from the Conservatories of Cluj, Iași, Timișoara, Bucharest, the Library of the Union of Composers ... everything. And we managed to do that. There are some conclusions I can't help but say because it would be a sin. For example, the library of the Conservatory of Cluj is, by far, the most efficient library in the country at present. You can find everything you have in the library online. From the phone! I think it's fantastic! ... in opposition to the library of the Union of Composers, where, unfortunately, I almost came to cry for what I found there. It is the exact opposite of Cluj, to say the least. I respect and love some of the members of the Union, but what happens in Romanian music, in patrimonialization ... we don't have this gift! We don't have it!
What I want to remember from this last idea is the fact that the D'a Camera Cultural Association will continue this process of restoring the Romanian heritage, of bringing back to light scores by Romanian composers. Until then, however, I want to end with a message for the concert on Wednesday, June 9th. So I will aske ach of you to send a message to the public, an invitation!
Tiberiu Soare: For my part, the invitation would consist in provoking, in a way, the people who will take place in the "Mihal Jora" Concert Studio on Wednesday, June 9th, at 19.00, to learn about a symphony ... it's weird here, I'm going to talk a little bit about style, so I don't have to wrap my tail around ... the style of the symphony is heterogeneous, eclectic, we could say. It is clear that we are talking about a composer at the confluence of some schools, of grea tdirections of composition. The symphony is written in four parts, quite classical in terms of their development - with the slow part in the second position, with a scherzo and a rather tumultuous ending in which important themes are resumed throughout the symphony. In other words, we are talking about a certain principle of the cyclicity of motifs in this symphony, a well-defined principle of composition at that time - in 1869 there were already composers who used this - and gives unity to the whole work, even if it consists of four separate movements. Very interesting is that if the first part is in a relatively Schubertian style to Mendelssohn, I could say, a kind of combination between the two from a stylistic point of view, the second part reveals the connection with the world of opera and ballet that George Stephănescu had. The second part could appear as a real step of deux in a possible written ballet, in a kind of virtual ballet. The second part is dancing music, but in the highest sense of the word, and that made me very curious about the work. I looked at the next two parts with different eyes afterwards, because it was obvious, for example, the connection between Theophile Gautier and Adolphe Adam when Adolphe Adam wrote Giselle. It was evident in the page, in Stephănescu's writing and this symphony, I repeat, from 1869, was obvious the influence of Leo Delibes. We also found strong influences in terms of harmonics or treatment of instruments in orchestration. It was clear that the maestro was trying his hand, at 26 - a relatively young age for a symphony, especially the firstsymphony ever composed by a Romanian. And then, in the third part, he somehow returns to the German, Central European space. And in the fourth part, he becomes very Italian. I mean, we have a symphony that has elements and German, middle-europe, we have French influences, we have Italian influences ... I would really risk saying, almost Rossini at one point, in the fourth part. So, all these styles represented, in fact, the efforts to materialize a personal style but not only, and a national style of composition. This is where I wanted to go. The period was one of many beginnings. In 1864, in order not to be mistaken, the decree was signed by which the Academy of Music in Bucharest was established. Stephănescu graduated from this academy in 1867. In 1881, Romania was declared a kingdom. Four yearslater, Stephănescu wrote the National Overture. All things connected. There were so many things for the first time. Sometimes I wonder what an extraordinary chance that generation had! To be able to do various things in Romania for the first time! Establishment of a music academy, first symphony, etc. And, therefore, I invite the public to take part in this feeling of aureolar joy, of openness ... and this is felt in all of Stephănescu's music. He was full of aspirations, full of ideals and, so to speak, he was giving away compositional ideas! He needed even a little organization.
Radu Sinaci: I would like to invite the audience, first of all, to listen to the story of the first symphony and to listen to the symphony. Last but not least, to get to know the members of the Radio Chamber Orchestra and the members of the D'a Camera Cultural Association, with whom I am happy - you can't imagine how happy they are - to make music and do such projects together. It is a blessing for me, because I have always thought, we, as musicians, offer music, the food of the soul as we know it. After I finished singing, it's over! And I always wondered if I couldn't do more? I found! This is! We can reproduce exactly these things ... the symphonies that are almost lost. You see, never unprinted! We come and do exactly its purpose, to be given to everyone, to be a click away. That's exactly what we're going to do. Because when we have the final version ... By the way, during the rehearsals, Corina Ciuplea, who is the best in the country on writing scores, she will work in real time with the musicians to update the mistakes that are or I'm not in that score. After that, the score will be really a click away because we wil lmake it available on our site, and on other sites, including thes ites of several libraries in the country, because, here, we also have this movement that is not much talked about yet, but I hope it will be talked about, this digitization of libraries - a very interesting thing, I think - and especially of music libraries.
Liliana Staicu: ... extremely necessary!
And involve the young generation, as we said before, through the online project. Mrs. Staicu?
Liliana Staicu: I can only say that everything you have heard so far is an invitation to be in the Radio Hall nextWednesday, June 9th, at 19.00, with an open heart to listen to Romanian music! It is very important to say this. The audience, somehow, is always a little more reluctant. I promise you that, being in the hall, you will listen to absolutely extraordinary music! You will have the opportunity to discover for the firs ttime a work as described by Tiberiu Soare and, of course, the other two opposites by the Romanian composer. And, we are waiting for you at the concert!
Liliana Staicu, Tiberiu Soare, Radu Sinaci, thank you for being in the Radio România Muzical studio!
Translated by Alma Teodora Miron,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu