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RRM 25-An interview with Anca Ioana Andriescu, host of Radio România Muzical
This year, Radio România Muzical celebrates 25 years of existence. And you, Mrs. Anca Ioana Andriescu have been in the Music team almost from the very begining of the radio station and a very big part of your activity was linked to international concerts, brodcasted live by your station. How did this story begin?
It was a bit of an older story, to call it so. It started before Radio România Muzical was put into waveform and it was an emotional experience every single time because I was just coming out of a period in which, for the longest time, our access to the international music scene was permitted only through recordings. We had no direct contact with what was happening abroad. After 1990, there was a big satisfaction in finding yourself in a concert hall, in being able to assist to a concert abroad, and through the radio, our public could also get in direct contact with the great bands of the world, to feel the special atmosphere of big events and of some of the most prestigious concert halls. And not only concerts, but opera as well. So, it was one way of being there for the public and sometimes of trying to be their guide and to offer them maybe a bit more than just sound, but to suggest through words, through atmosphere and decor, the way in which a concert, a show, an event that was geographically far away was unfolding. But, first through satellite transmission and then through the internet, to say so, Radio România Muzical enabled such a junction sometimes thousands of km apart, between the place in which such a special musical joy was taking place and the place in which our listeners were.
Do you remember what was the first live broadcast of a concert or of a show that you made?
To be honest, I don't remember. I had the chance to broadcast live from the opera since 1991, so back when Radio România Muzical was maybe still a dream for most of the ones in the radio industry or for the music lovers, but back then the circumstances were different. We only had two microphones in the studio, two or three tape-recorders, behind that glass window we had a switch through which we could take a call or not, so a little button, whereas now, things happen differently, and have been for some years. It's some kind of history, to which we refer sometimes through way of memory, but maybe these memories are strictly personal, for me and for some of my colleagues who have lived through those times.
What does it mean for a radio host to have a live broadcast? What's the process of preparing for such a moment?
First of all, it is about research. The research needs to be as extensive as possible, so that you could be certain that no matter what happens-if let's say, the circuit you have, the respective transmission is streaming with interruptions-, then you'll have the possibility to fill a space. That is the difference between what the television has at its disposal, meaning image as well, and the radio. At the radio, silence, can sometimes cost you a lot, because sometimes, modern technology, if it has more seconds of silence then is should, will interrupt the whole circuit. Whereas, in the case of a live transmission, no matter where it happens, you have to be in alert, you have to be armored in documentary materials and with the possibility of giving the listeners spoken information, eventually coated in musical recordings. You always have to cover for anything that, God forbid, could happen. We are all glad and we wish every time that those concerts will go smoothly, that the audience can enjoy everything that music interpreted at the highest level could offer. Aside from that, you have to try to be full of energy and I think that, above all, you should try to offer the listener the feeling that he is part of an event, that he is there with other 3000-5000 people, or maybe less, but close to big artists, to people who give their entire soul and their professional training, to a moment of grace. Because, after all, any concert aspires to be a moment of grace, a moment of expressive emotional communication, between the ones on the stage and public. And the Radio could mediate this communication to the ones as home as well, from their cars, or anyways, to the ones just listening.
Your voice is the one that we hear on the radio station every single year on the 1st of January, because you are the host of the live transmission of the New Year concert in Vienna. Could you, please, tell us a bit about this experience and about the end of the year concerts in Germany?
It is true that in 2009 I was given for the first time this, I dare say, joy and this honor, as well as the responsibility of presenting the New Year concert of the Vienna Philharmonic. It's a very special moment because all of us were already used to this feeling that many of us grew up with, the feeling of an entirely unique event, attended by almost the entire world. And this time I had the chance to try and help our listeners get into this special atmosphere. It was the first concert conducted by Daniel Barenboim and I remember that he also held a press conference, that was available to the radio stations in the afternoon of the 31st of December. I managed to get a hold of that and it was very late at night when I finally realized that it was New Year's Eve and that I should shut down my computer and do something else. But it was a great joy to offer our audience fragments from that speech of Daniel Barenboim, who was very sick that day, so that they could feel maybe something else, apart from that amazing show that everyone watches on tv, enjoying the images, the flowers, the golden Musikverein hall. So, this was the first event of this type. Then, starting with 2011 and up until today, we have continued with these absolutely special moments. At some point we got an offer from the European Radio Union to take over the New Year concerts of the Berlin Philharmonic or of the Munich Radio Orchestra, concerts that take place on the 31stof December, the last of them in the evening, not very late in the evening, but still close to the nightly events. I don't know how many peoplehave listened to those concerts, but they were indeed special and there is a different feel, a different repertoire and eventually some special quests. And just like that, we had managed to pair, as much as we could, live transmission for the New Years, organized by the Berlin Philharmonic or by the Munich Radio Orchestra, as well as the "common", traditional Vienna New Year concert, the one that the whole world watches. And if anyone were to ask me, what is the greatest memory that I have about this musical manifestation that the entire world is waiting for, I would say it is the fact that I once had the chance to attend the last rehearsal of the Vienna Philharmonic for the 2015 concert conducted by Zubin Mehta. There is something really special in being able to observe the "florists", that's how the call them, arranging one by one the wires of the television or of the microphones, and the musicians taking their place and, of course, their phenomenal singing. You may even realize that the chairs in Musikverein are not the most comfortable there are, but the music, the acoustics, the event in itself is an entirely special one. Coming back to the so-called Silvesterkonzerte, the ones taking place up until the 31st of December, they are not as impressive in terms of repertoire and they are not as consistent, but they offer something special and we hope that the listeners can feel it too.
Looking back at the many concerts you have broadcasted, which ones do you think were the most memorable?
It is hard to say, because there were many concerts, and many repertoires. It is really difficult to remember this kind of moments. I remember the nights of the complete works of Mahler or of Bruckner. One such piece by Daniele Gatti, la Orchestre National de France, and other events of this kind on the international stages have offered us the possibility of hearing very special performances.
So, this year marks a quarter of a century since the opening of the Radio România Muzical radio station. What is your message for this anniversary?
I wish you many more such years, a much larger area covered in radio waves and many more listeners, some of which have grown alongside România Muzical. Some have gotten older, some have passed from childhood to maturity. And if possible, new generations that will live this magic of music and who will find joy in it, Radio România Muzical being, I think, a very important factor in the musical education of the public, who thus has the possibility to discover and to learn how to gain and how to nurture such an artistic discipline.
Translated by Ioana Busuioc,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu