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Interview with composer Dan Buciu– Guest of the week on Perpetuum Mobile
Friday, March 25th 2022 was the day of Romania's Composers and Musicologists Union Awards of 2021. Composer Dan Buciu received the Grand Prize for his Complete creative activity. He has spoken about this on Perpetuum Mobile:
Live through the phone, composer Dan Buciu. Welcome!
I'm glad to be speaking with you this afternoon! Six editions of Romania's Composers and Musicologists Union Awards - I hope I'm not mistaken - until last week when this same institution awarded you the Grand Prize for Complete Creative Activity. How did you feel receiving this award?
To be honest… it felt utterly special. To me, there are to homes between which I constantly go back and forth. One of them is the university where I work and - more than that, I hope it's where fulfil my teaching vocation. And my other home is the Composers' Union, heir of Composers' society (founded more than 100 years ago by George Enescu and other greats of Romanian music) to which I feel equally connected. Therefore, it is difficult for me to say how I feel. Actually, I feel wonderful!
A few words about this award?
My colleagues from the Union's leadership and from the creative departments have made this decision, therefore I certainly accepted it with my whole heart. It's hard for me to talk about myself. What I find normal is that the music speaks for me alongside others. All I can say is that I was greatly honoured by this award which, ultimately, my colleagues considered is commemorate a fitting composing career. Again, it's hard for me to make any more judgements.
Romania's Composers and Musicologists Union Awards are a sort of moment of truth.How do you find contemporary Romanian compositions against the backdrop of international contemporary music?
I want to say that we're used to refer back to Enescu and this very high standard has and always will be beneficial, because to refer to such a standard means you need to have the drive to reach that high. This has always kept Romanian music sober and has in turned produced composers of international worth, many of them recognised on an international level. I'm thinking of these great composers of the last 20thCentury, especially the four greats, as they've been considered - TiberiuOlah, AnatolVieru, Ștefan Niculescu and AurelStroe. These four were of course followed by a significant amount of very valuable composers from Cluj and Iași. And I repeat, referring to an extremely high standard has not only created a generation of greats, but has also reverberated and reached the younger generation. Sebastian Androne comes to mind - a composer which I would consider the tip of a spear handled by the young generation - but not only him. There are many others. In this sense, we have a remarkable international presence and this was recorded through real accomplishments. I'm thinking of recognition through awards - international recognition - and the existence of first-rate festivals where our young composers are present and I'm confident that, in this way, there is a flair for modern music - for the contemporary sector of Romanian music.
Mr Dan Buciu, I'm aware that you're a listener of Radio România Muzical, the only Romanian radio station dedicated to cultural music. Please tell us about the importance of such an endeavour, especially for the current Romanian society.
I think it's not only about 'the current society', it's about any society. Any civilised society will have platforms for culture. And, of course, it's the musical aspect that currently interests us and we're discussing. The purpose of this radio station is, in my opinion, insufficiently appreciated. Take for instance, these very difficult times we're currently navigating and which your team and listeners alike have highlighted. This station has ensured a lot of positive attention towards overcoming horrible situations brought on by these extremely tense situations. We know very well what this war on Ukraine means, we're well aware of the suffering that country's enduring, what the Romanians in the Chernivtsi area are currently going through. Actually, my grandmother's side of the family is from that area, and I have to confess, I feel somehow involved as I still have relatives I keep in touch with, and what is currently happening there is astounding. Radio România Muzical can soothe this conflict and its role shouldn't be neglected. I would venture another small observation…
Everyone has spoken about the beneficial impact that music can have in such situations, like the war happening right around the corner from us. Well, maybe we should consider the two great thinkers of Antiquity - Aristotle and Plato - who, especially the latter, had impressive musical knowledge and have shed light on the danger that music sometimes can generate. I'm talking about how music is not always beneficial. There is harmful music and this aspect should always be well-managed by this station. Let us not forget about fascist and communist music which incited crime under false pretence… which in fact hid horrible feelings at its core. If we think about it, these feelings have once been condemned by Russian cultural figures.
Well, I think that Radio România Muzical is fulfilling its duty as it should, thanks to the fact that this cultural structure managed by the state has the capacity to always tell good and evil apart. I must confess, yet again, that I am a big, big fan of this cultural station and I always listen from the heart.
Finally, if you agree, a message for Radio România Muzical, all of it - team and listeners both - for the coming years?
I wish you tens of years ahead - it would, of course, be an exaggeration to say hundreds! We aren't physiologically evolved enough to live as long as our ID's say (mine is valid until 2066) but, glossing over these tiny details, I wish you a lot of success and hope for the same professionalism the majority of you have shown. To those of you who make up this small but very capable team - I wish you the greatest of accomplishments! It is in the interest of Romanian culture and the overall human cause - that of trying to do our best for the world and, to speak pro domo - for what is currently and unfortunately happening so close to Romania. We wish all of them the best, only peace and music of the highest quality!
I can only end this by thanking you for existing and wishing that you exist for as long as possible!
And we thank you for these words! Thank you for coming on Perpetuum Mobile.
My great pleasure!
Translated by Carla Bețianu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu