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Mihail Jora – 130 –Connected by Time

Thursday, 11 November 2021 , ora 14.36

A century and three decades since his birth, fifty years since his departure from life. These are the milestones that celebrate and commemorate the name of the great Mihail Jora, a complex and eminent personality in Romania's cultural heritage.

He was a composer, musicologist, conductor, pianist, provost of the National University of Music Bucharest, university professor for the Bucharest Conservatory, the first director of Radio Romania's musical programmes since its 1928 establishment, founder of the Radio Symphony Orchestra and Romanian Composers' Society (precursor of the current Union of Romanian Composers and Musicologists) and a full member of the Romanian Academy. A multitude of qualities, duties, initiatives and achievements have placed Mihail Jora among the most illustrious Romanian musicians, such as George Enescu.

The Romanian Union of Critics, Redactors and Music Creators, presided by musicologist and producer at Radio Romania Musical, Luminița Arvunescu, hasn't let the Mihail Jora Year pass by unacknowledged.With co-financing from the Administration of the National Cultural Fund, she has developed a major project under the name Connected by time and has, once again, revived the vast legacy which Jora left for Romanian music and culture.

Thanks to this, it can be said that a great part of the country has been connected by the Jora events, especially through the touring musical-theatre show Photos and Mischief, held in Cluj-Napoca (Academic College, October 9th), Ploiești (Paul Constantinescu Philharmonic, October 13th), Craiova (OlteniaPhilhamornic, October 18th), Bacău (Mihail Jora Philharmonic, November 3rd), Bucharest (Act Theatre, October 21st and in closing, at the Art Collections Museum, November 7th). The Photos and Mischief tour has been inspired by Jora's well-known children's suites which screenwriter Celina Petrescu used to develop a show starring Adriana Toacsen (the Pianist Ant) and actors Adela Mihai (Zelda the Witch) and IonelBarac, the Clocksmith Hare. A delight for children - through verb, play and pantomime, some had their first taste of Mihail Jora's music as it sprung from the piano keys. An educational task well done.

The Photos and Mischief tour has commenced the Jora events, which will continue at the end of October with the second edition of the Competition for Musical Interpretation and Composition. Organised annually by the local authorities of Roman and the Union of Armenians of Romania, the event is intended for students and pupils in music studies.

After Eighty Years

The Romanian Union of Critics, Redactors and Music Creatorshas continued to celebrate the Jora Year through a recital which will be held on November 8th, on Saint Michael and Gabriel Day - also Jora's name anniversary. This events aims to recall the 8th November 1941 recital, organised by Constantin Silvestri eighty years ago to celebrate his professor's, Mihail Jora's 50th birthday.

Over time, a strong significance has connected the two events. The 1941 programme in Orpheus Hall (formerly Jean Feder Hall) on CaleaVictoriei had included works dedicated to Jora and especially composed for him by his students - Dinu Lipatti, Paul Constantinescu, Romeo Alexandrescu, Constantin Bugeanu, Ion Dumitrescu, Gheorghe Dumitrescu. The pieces were interpreted, among others, by soprano and founding member of the Romanian National Opera Bucharest, Evantia Costinescu, alongside instrument artists. George Enescu himself attended this event.

This year, the recital also took place on CaleaVictoriei at the Art Collections Museum- a space of culture which has long been the host of music -where, among great artists' canvases and sculptures, the audience contended over the imposed limited seating.

On behalf of the The Romanian Union of Critics, Redactors and Music Creators, president Luminița Arvunescu presented a short history of the Union's over thirty years of existence, and reiterated their noble objectives. Also, for their support of excellence in music, anniversary diplomas were handed out to musicologists, critics, former Radio managers, current Radio and TV producers, university professors, main partners and sponsors of the event, JTI, Pipera Rotary Club and Bucharest Rotary Club.

University professor dr. DrHC Valentina Sandu Dediu - provost of the New Europe College - also gave a short address where she highlighted the significance of Mihail Jora's creations and the importance of making it more recognized on an European and worldwide scale.

A new website, www.musicrit.ro

The general manager of the Union, Monica Isăcescu-Lup, later presented the project Connected by time as well as the recital. The event was streamed online on The Romanian Union of Critics, Redactors and Music Creatorsdebuting website - UCRRM www.musicrit.ro, which was created and launched for thisspcial occasion. A premiere which deserves remark.

Aside from the statute, the founding members' list, the ever-growing list of current members, the website also details on the management and current structures, ways to join and annual fees, as well as music tax stamps. In the Events section, we have also found that the 30th edition of the Mihail Jora Composition Contest will take place in November, and will be organised by The Romanian Union of Criticsin partnership with the Music Society and the National University of Music Bucharest.

Similarly, the Jora Year section includes musicology studies on relevant topics - Mihail Jora - At the Market ballet, a fragment of Romanian reality (written by Nicoleta Cîrstea, Year 4 student) and Igor Stravinsky and Mihail Jora - symmetrical coordinates between Petrushka and At the Market ballets written by Ana-Luiza Han, Year II Master's student.

The New UCRRM website deserves exploration, as it opens many doors towards expanding musicology research.

Talented performing musicians

Going back to the anniversary recital, it must be acknowledged that it benefitted from many talented performing musicians' participation. This included the well-known pianists Daniel Ciobanu and Raluca Știrbăț, soprano Laura Tătulescu, violinist Diana Jipa and, last but not least, Ștefan Doniga - the more than accompanying-pianist.

The schedule echoed the original one from eighty years ago, including Allegretto Rusticoby Romeo Alexandrescu and Lipatti'sSonatina for the Left Hand (interpreted by Daniel Ciobanu), Mihail Jora's Joujoux pour Ma Dame and Silverstri'sBacchanaleand Concerto Piece op. 25 no. 3 (all three interpreted by Raluca Știrbăț). The programme also included lieds such as Paul Constantinescu's Two strong men cross over Jiiand Gheorghe Dumitrescu's Lullaby - both with lyrics by Radu Gyr - as well as Jora's op. 20, with lyrics by Ion Pillat. These lieds were interpreted by Laura Tătulescu. The programme ended with Mihail Jora's Little suite, interpreted by Diana Jipa and Ștefan Doniga. An evening ending in flowers and applause.

To paraphrase the name of the Mihail Jora events, as organised by The Romanian Union of Critics, Redactors and Music Creators- we can say that time has connected us, today, with excellence and virtue.

Costin Popa
Translated by Carla Bețianu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu