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Chopin Bicentenary at the Bucharest National University of Music

Thursday, 4 March 2010 , ora 11.33
On February 27th and 28th 2010, the Bucharest National University of Music with the support of the Centre for Excellence celebrated the 200th anniversary of Frédéric Chopin. The following reviews illustrated several moments of the festival.

February, 27th 2010 - Bucharest National University of Music

The first performance held by soprano Alina Bottez, pianist Alina Balaban, cellist Gabriel Croitoru and University speaker PhD Carmen Manea at the piano was the introduction for an innovative concert for three pianos in which Romanian composers performed in first audition their works on famous themes by Frédéric Chopin. After Dan Dediu's Shopping Chopin, divided into parts called Paul O'Ness or WallTZpaper, I thought the following pieces had to beg for applause. As a journalist, I should have not made any suppositions at all: Adrian Mociulschi's lyrical Homage to Chopin, Andrei Tãnãsescu's Yesterday World, a paraphrasing for Chopin's Waltz Op. 18 with rather brutal contemporary tunes, and Livia Teodorescu's Nocturniana, a fantasy inspired by Nocturne Op. 27 No. 2, dramatic and dreamy, were all cheered to the echo. The four composers, professors at the University of Music, as well as their guests among which numbered musicologist Valentina Sandu Dediu and pianist Verona Maier were all extraordinary, regarding both composition and performance. A young piano teacher from the audience told me she had been fascinated by the different ways all the works had sounded as they were actually inspired by the same composer and some even by the same work. Chopin is extremely appreciated and that is why musicians always come up with something new. I was very pleased to have had a seat in the hall where a concert was dedicated to him on February 27th 2010.

February, 28th 2010 - The Cantacuzino Palace

During the Chopin 200 International Festival a musicology symposium dedicated to the life, personality and composing style of the Polish musician was held. The event hosted by Valentina Sandu-Dediu and Mihai Cosma gathered musicologists and graduands of the main Romanian university centres, namely Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Braºov and Iaºi. They discussed the teaching skills of Frédéric Chopin as well as his 'landscapist' Piano Miniatures and his influence on the Romanian music transmitted through some of his former students such as pianist Carl Filtsch and composer Carol Miculi. The works for three pianos, some of them performed by the actual authors the evening before under the name of Contemporary Paraphrases on Chopin was a very welcome humour-shaded 'intermezzo'. During the break we could visit the exhibition including Dinu Lipatti's or Rafal Blechacz's recordings of Chopin, studies from the 1960s and the 1970s written by Theodor Bãlan, Doru Popovici and Alexandru Leahu as well as recent literary works by Lavinia Coman and Carmen Manea. The event also included video projections of portraits and bronze busts. Adam Mickiewicz's Litany from Pan Tadeusz was recited by actor Ionuþ Kivu as images provided by the Polish Institute were shown on the screen. The Chopin 200 Symposium ended in a rather innovative way with the unfolding of fragments from the Romantic Letters staged by actress Cristina Lascu, a performance based on the memoirs and correspondence between Frédéric Chopin and George Sand.

February, 28th 2010 - The Romanian Athenaeum

The final moment of the Chopin Festival was a truly distinguished concert held by two renowned pianists Viniciu Moroianu, a constant presence on the Romanian musical scene and Matei Varga. The latter is an artist we have long been waiting for, as he has studied in New York and has performed there at the Zankel Hall, the Weill Recital Hall and the Merkin Concert Hall, as well as at the Salle Gaveau Concert Hall in Paris or at the Berlin Konzerthaus, yet never in Bucharest.

We listened to Viniciu Moroianu interpreting Chopin in a rather firm, narrative and festive, perhaps even playful way and to young Matei Varga whose performance was powerful, calm, intelligently structured, variously shaded and tuned. Both musicians were cheered to the echo by the audience who filled the entire Romanian Athenaeum. Therefore the encore included a Nocturne respectively, two Preludes.

ConductorAlexandru Ganea successfully managed to gather up the various interpretative skills of the "Concerto" Students Orchestra into a well-shaped and coherent performance. Of course we have to mention the Centre for Excellence of the Bucharest National University of Music for organizing the event in a professional way.

Maria Monica Bojin, Alexandra Cebuc, Monica Isãcescu
Translated by Georgiana Mîndru
MA student, MTTLC, Bucharest University