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Interview with violinist Gabriel Croitoru

Thursday, 7 December 2023 , ora 10.03

The 11th edition of the National Tour "Duel of the Violins", performed by violinists Liviu Prunaru and Gabriel Croitoru, together with pianist Horia Mihail, will take place between the 2nd and 6th of December 2023. More information about the new edition, and about the preview that took place in the Netherlands, was provided by violinist Gabriel Croitoru, in a conversation with Sarah Natsis:

Mr. Gabriel Croitoru, on the 27th of November the 11th edition of the Violin Duel Tour was previewed in The Hague. First of all, I would like to ask you about this concert organized on the occasion of Romania's National Day. How was it organised?

It took place in a very pleasant atmosphere. The Ambassador gave a speech at the beginning of the concert - he introduced the violins a little bit - and everybody, after the concert, was extraordinarily delighted with the event that Romania proposed on the occasion of the National Day. They said that the standards had been raised too high and who knows who will be able to do it again.

Violinist Liviu Prunaru will play on the Stradivarius "Pachoud" violin, which dates back to 1694, and you on the Guarneri del Gesù - "Cathedral" violin, from 1731. How would you describe the sound of these two instruments? How do they differ?

Like any instrument, they cannot be identical. The Stradivari violins seem to be brighter from the start. Guarneri violins, on the other hand, are much more clothed, rounder in sound and give a greater amplitude to the sounds they make. That's why I remain a fan of Guarneri violins. I've had the opportunity throughout my life to play both Guarneri and Stradivari several times, on different instruments on both sides, and each time I found the Guarneri built ones better.

You have been collaborating with violinist Liviu Prunaru since 2011. How would you describe him as an artist and how has your professional relationship evolved over the years?

We have known each other since we were in high school, then in college, even though he is a bit younger than me, but the collaboration really started more than 10 years ago, on the occasion of this tour - "Duel of the violins" and has grown from one year to the next both on stage and from a human point of view.

What new repertoire do you have in store for your audience?

I would say there are several. From a repertoire point of view, each time we have done a different programme. We've never played the same things. This year we are proposing for the second part of the recital Bach's Concerto for Two Violins and, in the first part of the programme, I will play some pieces by Kreisler, two of which are arrangements and two of which he composed himself, and Liviu has a piece by Enescu, namely La Lăutarul, Regretele by Vieuxtemps and Calabrese by Bazzini. As a result, I can say that some of them are the works most appreciated by the public during these duels, and some are novelties.

What is the tour itinerary for the coming period?

On the 2nd of December, we have at the Romanian Athenaeum. On the 3rd of December in Brasov, at Sala Patria. On the 4th of December in Ploiesti, at the Philharmonic. On the 5th of December, in Timișoara, also at the Philharmonic, and on the 6th of December, the last concert, at the Craiova Philharmonic.

Interview by Sarah Natsis
Translated by Bianca-Daniela Penaru,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu