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The guest of the week at Perpetuum Mobile, the conductor of the Radio Children’s Choir, talking with Gabriel Marica

Monday, 12 December 2022 , ora 11.04

My guest from this evening will bring to us the Christmas atmosphere at the Radio Hall, in a special concert. We are talking about the conductor of the Radio Children's Choir, Răzvan Rădos. Welcome back in our studio.

Well I found. Thank you for having me.

Today, together with the Children's Choir you participated in the Gaudeamus Fair Radio România, the most relevant fair in our country. How was it? How were you welcomed there?

As always, very well, and we have showed a taste of what we are going to play Saturday night on the stage of the Radio Hall, namely we have performed some carols, in the opening.

Răzvan, before talking about the concert on 10th of December, because you also conduct some other types of choral information, I am referring only to the vocal group Canticum and the Royal choir, therefore I am asking you, what is the difference between working with a children choir and, particularly, with an elite choir, how is the Children's Radio Choir?

This is what I was about to add, but as you were saying, an elite choir. From some points of view it is different, given the fact that children have a certain type of sensibility, which if found and exploited, it may reach some entirely special performance. From other points of view, allow me to say that is it easier than with some adults' choirs, in view of the fact that children have an extraordinary discipline. The history of almost eight decades of the Radio Children's Choir transformed in a veritable school. The children have, despite this self-discipline, a great passion, which, in this supervised environment, the Radio Children's Choir, the children can exhibit and get the best out of them musically talking and we believe or at least we like to believe that it can be seen and heard on the stage.

A children's choir, an ever-changing living tool, because its members are no longer kids at some point, is it, as it should be. Given this, how and how and how hard is it to maintain steadily the sonority of the band?

I don't want to complain, but it gets harder and harder. Since last year, I founded the Choir School, a workshop for children between 7 and 12 years old, namely because we try to help music professors in schools, since unfortunately, and I can say it out oud, the musical education is not the best in schools and we can sense it here. When the kids come to the preselection, they now extremely few songs, their voices are remarkably unprepared in any direction and this makes us work harder. But we do it with pleasure and joy, and I may gladly and proudly say that the Radio Children's Choir gets up on the stage every time with the same dignity and at the same level as history requires it to.

We are moving on now to the harvest of your effort, of the kids and of the pianist Magdalena Faur, namely to the concert inf Saturday, 10th of December, a carols concert. What can you tell us about this concert?

It is a good thing that you are asking me this today, because last night, on the stage of the Radio Hall, we had the general rehearsal and I could observe this whole event's foretaste, so to say, with presentations, with all guests. It is the first Christmas concert since the pandemic. I can say that we all suffered during the pandemic, because singing carols of the stage of the Radio Hall every December is a part of us and this occurs since the first year after the revolution and there are, also, some guests, some invited groups I would like to mention. The first one is the workshop the Choir School, which will brighten the hall with its gleeful manner in which the kids between 7 and 11 years old know how to perform. After, there is the vocal group Etheros, my colleagues who are all experts and it is a male elite group, I say, made out of elite musicians, along with we will perform three well-known works. We are talking about Stille Nacht, Gaudete and All Bells in Paradise by John Rutter and a premiere occurring, The Ensemble of boys of the Radio Children's Choir. I would like to mention, you said earlier that at some point, the children leave the choir, well, the pandemic, these two years of pandemic meant a lot for the boys' voices. We all know that the voices of the boys change and they have to leave. And then, we counseled, my colleague Magdalena Faur and I, and more on her initiative, we have decided to support this group of boys. I think it will be something special for both them and the public to perform only them of the stage. We said it is worth to support them in this direction. This way, their passion, their joy to sing and to come to the Radio and do music will not end too soon and this is a very good thing, we think.

It is, indeed, a very good thing. You have a special connection with traditional music. How do you feel about carols, either singing or conducting? I just used a lot of gerunds, but which are melodious.

I have to contain myself during the rehearsal not to provide ethnological explications, ethnography about carols. This is what I am trying to do, because my past experience makes me want to tell the kids more about this word, about kalends, about where it comes, about the reason why we sing carols, how they altered alongside with Christianity and so on so fort and when I feel like doing it, I have to stop and practice, otherwise we'll talk too much.

What will the conductor Răzvan Rădos will do after the Saturday concert at the Radio Hall?

Our concerts from December don't stop here. We laugh and say that in December we sleep in our concert costumes. The Radio Children's Choir really enjoy to sing carols as much as possible in December. We have some invitations in Bucharest, with recitals and Christmas concerts. It is normal somehow, because the kids prepare the program with such painstakingly and a lot of effort, I have to say it. It got harder and harder in the last years for them to reconcile the scholar requirements and the requirements of the Radio Children's Choir. We have to admit and I believe that they should be on as many stages as possible and perform this program. This is what we are going to do. After the big concert, the season concert at the Radio Hall, we will have other concerts in Bucharest and I have to say this too, not all the children that prepared for this season will perform on the stage of the Radio Hall, because the requirements are bigger, but we try to swivel it around, this way every one of them to be able to perform one or two concerts and enjoy, no matter how young they are or how many carols they managed to learn by now.

A little while ago, you came back to the lead of the Royal Choir. What plans you have with this band?

The Royal Choir is a choir of youth, in which all the members have musical studies and I have already mentioned it. The Royal Choir will perform this December at the St Joseph's Cathedral on December 13th. It will perform a very beautiful carols concert, we believe. Of course, as any choir of youth, especially now that we came back and learned new things, I thought that they should sing more colorful concerts in visual terms and regarding the scenario of the moves and I really try to make this trade-off, this merge between the brand, so trustworthy, the Royal Choir and its members, which asks, perhaps, bolder enactments.

From the perspective of the conductor of the choir, a conductor with pretty much experience, how is the choir music seen nowadays? How are you welcomed, not matter you are in front of the Radio Children's Choir or any other choir. We evolved from this stain, let's say, regarding the choral music before the '89 and cleaned this musical genre?

This is what I wanted to say, that we recover. I think we are pulling ourselves together now after an oversaturation of the 90s and an unfortunate association between this extraordinary music and the patriotic genre. I think we are recovering and I say this, because in the past, when we were working with ensembles in the country, I have quite a lot of friends all over the country and I like to go and work with different groups, I was sadly being told that the youth doesn't want to hear about choirs anymore, that they don't attend the choirs anymore and nowadays we admire some very good choirs of youth in the universities, like Iași, Cluj and Timișoara. In Suceava, I have seen a good group, in Constanța, of course, and this is such an incredible thing. This is why it is such a joy to work with the Royal Choir, given the fact that there are young graduates and every group of young people that functions and brings audience in the concert hall seems like lights all over the country and it is such a lovely feeling.

Indeed. Are there still available tickets for the Saturday concert?

Unfortunately, no.

Unfortunately, there are no tickets left, dear listeners, no tickets for the concert of the Radio Children's Choir from Saturday, 10th of December, 19 p.m., but for sure you will listen to a recording here, at Radio Romania Music. Thank you, Răzvan Rădos. Best of luck in everything you do with such great passion and I am looking forward to have you again in our studio to talk about your accomplishments, or about the Children's Choir.

Thank you very much.

Interview by Gabriel Marica
Translated by Andreea-Cristiana Petrescu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu