Sep 08 2017

Bucharest Enescu Festival

Published by at 10:33 am under PSO 2017 European Tour

The Pittsburgh  Symphony European Festivals Tour 2017 ends in Bucharest Romania with two concerts. The first of the two began an hour late with arrival drama owing to a mechanical failure of the charter plane. A police escort down the broad boulevards that lead to the center of the city made for a nail biter but CEO Melia Tourangeau made a gracious apology to the audience before the Dvorak Rusalka Fantasy and Mathias Goerne with Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn songs. The Palace Hall or Sala Palatului is the former meting place for Communist party sessions where Nikolae Ceausescu detailed the progress of the people. Now nearly 4,000 Tchaikovsky fans heard the Sixth Symphony with a Pathetique “wait there’s more”  finale that always fools the audience into clapping. So much so last night that the stage crew briefly brought up the lights an quickly dimmed them again as the music continued.

Big broad marble halls and wide lobbies with green carpet on tan marble usher in a happy crowd that enjoyed looking at cds from three separate shops including a major book store chain in Bucharest, Carturesti. Manfred Honeck signed cds till past 11:30.

Mathias Goerne takes a bow after Mahler

Sala Palatului Palace HallThe Festival is wide ranging.  The Concerto Cologne was still to give a delayed concert after Pittsburgh. Tonight there is a Cosi Fan Tutte from the Musicians of the Louvre and a concert of baroque music played by the Emseble A’arpeggiata that is sold out.

Today at 1pm Contrabassoon Jim Rogers and I went to the Radio hall of Romanian Radio, a massive block long facility with concert hall, studios and offices. The Mercury Quartet played Kiss on Wood by Pittsburgh Symphony composer off the year Sir James MacMillan who was there to take a bow. he told us he wouldn’t miss the concert tonight and that he has finished a Pittsburgh commissioned Adagio that will honor Manfred Honeck in his 10th season as music director.

I made a pilgrimage to the statue of George Enescu who appeared with the Pittsburgh  Symphony in February of 1937 and again in 1949 when he conducted and played the violin.  The Pittsburgh  Symphony is playing Enescu’s  concert overture opus 32 to open the final concert.

It’s a city of great excitement and contrast. Some buildings are crumbling and others have been carefully restored. it feels like a place of great possibility and a welcoming one for the Pittsburgh Symphony on their return visit.

Jim Rodgers Pittsburgh Symphony Contrabassoon and Romanian composer Diana Rotaru who took a bow for the premiere of her “Red Hot”

The Radio Hall at Radio Romania with the Mercury Quartet