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New albums from Casa Radio Publishing House, broadcast on December 1st on Radio România Muzical

Monday, 27 November 2023 , ora 10.44

For Romania's National Day, I propose two albums that Casa Radio Publishing House has released this year - records recorded by important musicians of the moment, who are also prodigiously active internationally.

The album Guitar Delights (whose booklet is signed by my colleague Irina Cristina Vasilescu) belongs to the young guitarist Dragoș Ilie, winner of the "Heirs of Musical Romania"scholarship and this year's first prize winner at the prestigious international guitar competition in the Chinese city of Changsha. "One of the most charismatic and expressive young guitarists of his generation" - this is how Dragoș Ilie, who studied in Iasi, then in the United States of America, is described in the international press. He is currently a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also began his teaching activity. He has a rich concert career in Europe, Asia and North America and has won over 20 prizes in prestigious international competitions, among the most important of which are the guitar competitions in Changsha, Koblenz and Tokyo. In 2021 he became a laureate of the Heirs of Musical Romania scholarship organized by Radio România Muzical and, as a result, made a spectacular debut as soloist of the National Radio Orchestra (in a concert taken over by the European Radio Union); he also made special recordings at the Sala Radio, the result of which is the album "Guitar Delights".

The album opens with Ciprian Porumbescu's famous Ballade, giving the whole record a melancholic atmosphere. This piece, which uses stylized elements of Romanian folklore in a romantic mood, can also be perceived as the prologue of this disc, dedicated almost entirely to Eastern European music. We can also hear on this disc creations by Miroslav Tadic and Bela Bartok, as well as works by Romanian composers such as Gabriel Almași or Adrian Andrei, which Dragoș Ilie highlights with an eloquent interpretation, well supported technically and artistically. On the same album, the guitarist has also included his own score - Prelude No. 1 entitled "Indecis", which represents an experiment in improvisation. All these recordings show Dragoș Ilie as a guitar virtuoso, a sensitive musician with an extraordinary technique.

Also on December 1st, you will be able to listen to a record released in 2023 by Casa Radio Publishing House - the anniversary album Voces - 50 (with a presentation by Monica Isăcescu Lup), released on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the violinists Bujor Prelipcean and Adrian Anania, violist Gheorghe Haag and cellist Dan Prelipcean, who joined forces to create a landmark ensemble of Romanian artistic life - Voces Quartet. In 1975 Anton Diaconu joined the group on second violin. And after 2012, when the renowned musician passed away, his place was taken by the young violinist Vlad Hrubaru, with whom the Voces Quartet continues its valuable artistic career. The violist of the ensemble since 1983 is Constantin Stanciu.

A model of artistic longevity and repertoire consistency, the Voces string ensemble won First Prize at the Colmar Competition in France, just one year after its debut in Iași, in 1973 - the first international prize for a Romanian chamber ensemble. A new success followed in 1976 - Silver Medal at the Bordeaux Competition. These recognitions stimulated the artistic development of the members of the Voces Quartet, who attended master classes in Bayreuth, Hitzacker and Bucharest, perfecting their skills with Uzi Wiesel, Wilhelm Berger and the members of the AmadeusQuartet, participation in the course of the famous ensemble being possible as part of the second prize obtained at the Hanover Competition in 1979. The quartet has recorded numerous discs - among the most important being the complete chamber works of George Enescu, quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms.

The members of the ensemble have not shied away from 20th century music either, an example being the album released by Casa Radio on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the band.

The recordings on this album were made between 1988 and 1998 at the Sala Radio, and the programme includes three string quartets from the 20th century repertoire - by Bela Bartok, Pascal Bentoiu and George Enescu.

Bela Bartok's Quartet No. 2 Op. 17 in A minor composed during the FirstWorldWar represents a new stage in the composer's stylistic evolution and reflects a stage of syntheses, but also a deeply dramatic feeling throughout the thre emovements-Moderato, Allegro molto capriccioso and Lento.

Pascal Bentoiu's Consonance Quartet was premiered by the Pro Arte Quartet in1973. Describing this score, the composer confessed: "I wanted to check whether it was indeed no longer possible to write tonally. So I wrote tonally. I wanted to find out whether - as is often said - the classical forms are definitively buried, fossilised by the march of history. So I wrote in the most classical of forms. In order to be perfectly consistent, I have adopted a unit of rhythmic pulsation for all four movements of my work, and the melodic cell at the heart of the composition is derived from the perfect major and minor chords."

The final piece on the anniversary album Voces is Quartet No.2 composed by George Enescu in 1951. Situated between the poem Vox Maris and the Chamber Symphony, the Quartet takes on the value of a stylistic conclusion. The musicologist Grigore Constantinescu said of this score that "it is among the most accomplished works of genre music in contemporary universal creation."

I invite you to listen to these two exceptional discs produced by Casa Radio Publishing House - on Friday December 1st, at 13.05, as part of the Romania of Musical Values programme.

Larisa Clempuș
Translated by Miruna Flipache,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu