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First audition at the Sibiu Philharmonic, January 28th, 2021

Wednesday, 3 February 2021 , ora 15.56

When the poster of a concert is composed according to the principle of diversity, joining works of composers belonging to very different eras, the public fully occupies the seats allowed by the current conditions of the pandemic and the online audience blows up. I witnessed this phenomenon at the Thalia Hall of the Sibiu Philharmonic on the 28th of January, 2021, when the program of a regular night of the season was a less common one. There were three works from three different eras in the same place:

The first absolute audition of the Concerto for violin, cello and orchestra by Laura Ana Mânzat, the Concerto in F major RV 544 "Il Proteo o sia mondo al rovescio" by Antonio Vivaldi, and the work for string orchestra "Metamorphosen" by Richard Strauss.

A musical event which… indeed highlights once more the change of perspective proposed by conductor Cristian Lupeș, the manager of the institution, established a year and five months ago. He managed to achieve the most important distinction in its history for the Sibiu Philharmonic, the Order of Cultural Merit in the rank of Commander, B category - Music, conferred by His Excellency, the President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, on January 15, 2021, on the Romanian Culture Day, as a sign of appreciation for the important contribution he brought to the cultural development of our country, proving excellence at both a national and international level.

On the evening of January 28th, at the conducting desk was Cosmin Morariu, whose opinions I have recorded after a brief interview:

"After graduating from the Music Academy in Cluj, I had the chance to meet Enrique Garcia Asensio, who was, for 32 years, the first assistant of Sergiu Celibidache. He was my master, with whom I tried to disentangle the paths of musical phenomenology elaborated by Sergiu Celibidache, all these in parallel with the intense study with my father, conductor Doru Morariu. I can say that I had two conducting teachers to whom I owe everything, Asensio and my father. I was glad that the Sibiu Philharmonic invited young interpreters that we really need, we are in a moment in which we have to invest in the new generations, the times are as they are and we must constantly promote the effort of those who dedicate themselves to music every moment…"

Indeed, the soloists that we listened to surprised us with their musicality and virtuosity.

Violinist Raluca Stratulat has already had multiple participations in classical or contemporary music festivals, has had concerts and recitals in Europe and USA, has performed under the baton of important conductors of the moment, has realized first auditions with contemporary music works that belong to Romanian and foreign composers, has initiated "The Chamber Music Project", a series of recitals together with her own pupils.

Raluca Stratulat is currently the supervisor of the Chamber Music desk of the "George Enescu" National College from Bucharest.

Cellist Valentin Dimitrie Simion already has over 50 first prizes in national cello and chamber music competitions, and he has also won some international awards:

The Plovdiv International Contest (Bulgaria 2017), "The Muse" (Athens 2018), "The North International Competition" (Stockholm 2019), "Jan Vychytil" (Prague 2020).

He participated in improvement courses with Romanian and foreign teachers. He is presently a student at the National Music University of Bucharest, in the class of professor Marin Cazacu.

In the end I managed to talk to the loyal listeners of the concerts organized by the Sibiu Philharmonic and I noted some opinions:

"I was particularly interested in the work written by Laura Ana Mânzat because there is the preconception that contemporary works are noisy, without melody. However, in this concert, where the measure was 7 eighths, the dialogue between violin and cello was extraordinarily emphasized and it greatly impressed me." (Viorel Mailat - former horn soloist of the Sibiu Philharmonic and conductor of the Formusik Orchestra, now retired)

"First of all, I must congratulate the manager of our Philharmonic, mr. Cristian Lupeș, for the special repertoire, entirely different from the previous one that we were accustomed to. You probably know that the people from Sibiu are more traditional. But recently we had the opportunity to listen to young Romanian interpreters and composers, which is a remarkable thing. The attraction of the evening was, for sure, the concert in the first audition by Laura Ana Mânzat. I am delighted that I had the occasion to listen to new music that does not get away from the seam of our traditional music.

Someone from Deutsche Welle was telling me that "we are a country of peasants".. I do not see this as a bad thing because we are still connected to our ancient roots. That's precisely what made me happy while listening to this double concert. The melos they used, the fiddle inflections from the beginning, the second part with its splendid melodicity, and the dialogue between the soloists, wonderfully built, I liked them very much. I made a parallel with Vivaldi, where I have also seen the Italian spirit. The soloists were exceptional and they will make a career in the future." (Florin Soare-melomaniac)

"At the work in the first audition by Laura Ana Mânzat I especially enjoyed the dynamic, energetic parts. I imagined the work extended to the dimensions of a standard, romantic concert, that is 30-40 minutes. And also, for a complete orchestra, not a chamber one. I am looking forward to listening to other works by this composer. (Octavian Ghioc-melomaniac).
Laura Ana Mânzat
Translated by Lica Alexandra,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu