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An Unprecedented National Tour in Romania: 'George Enescu's Violin Travelling to Rural Areas'

Monday, 22 October 2012 , ora 8.14
'During the summer of 1914, in the turbulent climate preceding the start of World War I, George Enescu gave a series of charitable concerts. Once Romania entered the war, in August 1916, Enescu continued his activity even more energetically, first in Bucharest, and then in Moldavia. He gave numerous recitals, concerts and performances in hospitals, schools and barracks. Many of the listeners, on coming home after these concerts, would tell themselves, "What a blessing to have such artist! May his violin and baton be praised!" ' (excerpts from the book The life story of George Enescu, by George Zbârcea)

Almost a century has passed since then, and now, two enthusiastic Romanian musicians, Gabriel Croitoru and Horia Mihail, after going through the experience of performing not only on important stages of the world, in big cities, at the Radio Hall or the Athenaeum in Bucharest, but also in smaller Romanian towns, lacking any music scene, have found out they have the power to try and take classical music to new places, where anyone hardly ever thinks of it, but where it can nevertheless do much good, just like Enescu did one hundred years ago. These places are the Romanian villages.

This is how the first 'George Enescu's Violin Travelling to Rural Areas' tour has taken shape, at the initiative of Radio Romania Cultural and Accendo. It is a musical journey which will take to villages in Northern, Eastern, and Southern Romania Gabriel Croitoru, the violinist who enjoys the privilege of playing the Guarneri del Gesù violin, which used to be performed on by George Enescu (the violin being made available by the 'George Enescu' National Museum, which owns it), as well as Horia Mihail alongside one of his travelling pianos.

The tour will begin in the very commune Enescu was born, which nowadays bears his name, and will continue in seven more villages in the country. The final concert will take place on Romanian Radio Day, celebrated on 1st November, at the Radio Hall.

Enescu was born in Liveni, a village in the centre of Moldavia, took his first music lessons from a famous fiddler of the time, and then build his most famous compositions, the Romanian Rhapsodies, around the Romanian psyche. Today, the Guarneri violin which belonged to George Enescu returns, by the help of violinist Gabriel Croitoru, to the place where the great artist was born: the Romanian village. The violinist who breathes life into the strings of Enescu's violin, alongside pianist Horia Mihail, will go on an unprecedented national tour in Romania: between 22nd and 31st October, the two artists will tour eight rural settlements in Romania.

The suggestively named tour 'George Enescu's Violin Travelling to Rural Areas' is a beautiful adventure of two extraordinary artists who will perform in places where great classical music performers have seldom if ever given concerts. The tour will start in a village belonging to the very commune in which Enescu was born, and then will continue in the North-Eastern Region - Botoșani County, Bălușeni village, in the South-Eastern Region - Brăila County, Mărașu and Maxineni villages, in the Southern Region of Muntenia - Ialomița County, Bordușani, Cosâmbești, and Ciochina communes, as well as in Dor Mărunt commune, Călărași County.

The programme of the concerts is made up of very popular pieces belonging to the violin and piano literature - during the recitals, the audience will be able to listen to composers such as Camille Saint-Saëns, Jules Massenet, Dmitri Shostakovich, Fritz Kreisler, Pablo de Sarasate, and so on.

For further details about the tour, we kindly invite you to visit www.vioaraluienescu.ro

Cristina Firoiu
MTTLC graduate, Bucharest University