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Spring Music Flavours at the Romanian Athenaeum

Wednesday, 2 June 2010 , ora 11.14

That was the name of the concert held by the National Youth Orchestra under the guidance of master conductor Cristian Mandeal, on the evening of Saturday, May 29th, 2010.

It was truly a pompous event introduced by an elegant cocktail party. But nothing could have outdone the glamour of the concert itself, not even the excellent fashion show could rival the music. The National Youth Orchestra is making tremendous progress from one appearance to the next. The last time I saw them was at the Young Musicians Eurovision when, conducted by Master Horia Andreescu, they gave a tumultuous performance with a great attitude. This time, I noticed they were more balanced and had an extremely precise approach, reflected mostly in the Little Serenade in G major by W. A. Mozart in which one could better listen to each of the parts clear and refined contribution.

This was followed by Bach's Suite no.2, with a solo performance by Cristina Bojin, a flute player with an impressive timbre who played her part impeccably.

The Four String and Orchestra Concerto by Antonio Vivaldi introduced solo parts from concert-master Roxana Oprea, as well as Rafael Butaru, Iulia Ghindă and Andrei Ciobanu. I could appreciate their individual technique and quality and as they joined the orchestra for the final part of the concert, they proved how well they could synchronize and collaborate with the others.

In the beginning of the show we were also presented with the Minuet from the Number 5 Quintet, Opera no.11 by Luigi Boccherini and the The Silken Ladder Overture by Gioachino Rossini. In the second part of the concert we were delighted by a special trumpet performance of the famous Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute by W. A. Mozart. The solo part was interpreted by Corneliu Meici.

Soprano Valentina Naforniță impressed the audience by voicing Solveig's Song from the Peer Gynt Suite. The show went on with the Concert Piece Opp.113 by Felix Mendelssohn, with solo parts performed by flute players Răzvan Poptean and Aurelian Băcan, only to end with three sections of the Symphony No.4 The Italian by the same composer.

The head flute player stood out with his amazingly beautiful solo parts. The same could be said of the head oboe which also impressed us while collaborating with the flute.

The audience asked for two encores. You can get an idea of how impressed the guests were, based on the opinions below:

"This is already the third National Youth Orchestra concert I have been to and I am delighted by the effort the organizers - the Lanto Arte - put in. I am especially pleased with the Youth Orchestra which I had the chance to hear only a month ago at the Young Musicians Eurovision, which was a great success. I loved it. I have seen Mr. Mandeal last year too, as he conducted the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra."

Alexandru Costache - sales manager

"It is wonderful; the songs were lovingly chosen and you can see that the interpreters truly love what they do. Whoever is organizing this event has a lot of love for people and music. What else can I say...just listen!"

Mircea Rafailescu

"I won the invitation to this concert on a competition held by Radio Romania Musical. I was looking over their website and thought I would enter the competition; now I am glad I did, because I enjoyed the concert very much; it was an accessible repertoire but very precisely executed. I especially liked Cristina Bojin, whom I've listened to on other occasions at Radio Romania Musical. I have also loved violin player Roxana Oprea; I think her solos are extremely sensitive and her presence on stage is truly special. A very enjoyable concert, it delighted the sight as well as the hearing and I hope to have a chance to take part in such an event again."

Maria Cernat, university lector

"Firstly I was very glad to see Mr. Mandeal, I admire him very much; the concert - extraordinary! I know the orchestra, it is the same line up as at the Young Musicians Eurovision and I wish them the best of luck."

Cătălin Antoniu

Elena Vernescu, President of the Lanto Arte Cultural Association, who organized the event:

"The activities the Lanto Arte Cultural Association undertakes with the National Youth Orchestra are our dearest projects: this elite ensemble does the Romanian culture justice and represents a symbol of quality. All the concerts in the Spring Music Flavours series will be held by these young musicians who will reunite on the stage of the Romanian Athenaeum at least twice a year, for the Spring Music Flavours and the December Music Flavours series. As we undertake other projects, I assure you that the National Youth Orchestra will remain within our priorities."

And now, a statement from master Mandeal who joined us at the end of the concert:

How would you describe your collaboration with the National Youth Orchestra?

"It is more than a collaboration; it is a family affair, so to speak. We started this together, the band and I, and we will continue it as long as possible and however possible, and for as long as we can afford to, because this entire project is privately financed and, the times being as they are, things do not necessarily have an ascending course; but still, the orchestra has an ascending course, despite the times. It is sort of a youthful defiance of the prosaic reality, proof of the energy and vitality of this nation, who can make miracles happen in the most difficult of times. Is was proof of competence, energy, sacrifice for music, at European standards, at it it's best. As long as they exist, our hope lives on."

Petra Gherasim
Translated by Teodora Tănase, Andreea Velicu
MA students, MTTLC, Bucharest University