Andreea Chiselev

The Portrait of a Musician: Albert Guttman

Bucharest, Editura Muzicală, 2012


       It is impressive in the game of time to read a book that reminisces on the personality of a contemporary of your generation, sketched by a young writer from a completely different time frame. This is what characterizes the monograph dedicated to the pianist Albert Guttman by Andreea Chiselev who, with this editorial act, now begins her musicological career (Editura Muzicală, 2012). We signal the significance of the moment as a double event, congratulating the author and sadly thinking about the evocation of a friend and colleague who passed away too soon.
       I admit I have carefully gone through the pages of the book with the wish to confirm memories. Not all of them of course, since part of Albert Guttman’s existence unfolded in international geographical and cultural zones, very far from the Bucharest epicentre. I knew Andreea Chiselev’s wish to focus on this subject in her B.A. thesis. I didn’t read it at that stage, but I’m convinced that what we are being offered now, in an editorial formula, clearly surpasses the initial scope. Reconstructing the portrait of the brilliant pianist, belonging to the group of disciples of Florica Musicescu, bears the mark of ingenuity and energy of a researcher that prepares by going through writings, organizing documents, but also gathering information from those that knew the artist. The scientific apparatus that accompanies the discourse of the author thus proves an attentive systematization of the “file” that retains the benchmarks of the artist’s activity. We thus mention the inventory of recordings made throughout Guttman’s career (besides the record company Electrecord, we find the labels Eterna – Germany, Select – Canada, Dimenec Classics – Switzerland, King Rekord – Japan, Gema – Germany, as well as live concert recordings). We could feel sorry that the book doesn’t have an annex with recorded music, but among these pieces of information, the author recommends radio or record listening and memories kept in the documentaries of the Radio Broadcasting Company regarding events of previous decades. We then add a minute reconstruction of the chronology of concerts held by Albert Guttman, accompanied by the selective bibliography with a rich background of reviews and articles published in Romania and abroad.
       Although it’s more difficult to recreate the work of a performer, compared to that of a composer, Andreea Chiselev avoids notes and opinions and prefers to elaborate commentaries meant to intersect editorially in an active manner. Albert Guttman thus returns to those that have known or heard him. In my memory, he has been evoked as I remember him, a refined man, with a penchant for meditation, never aggressive, prompt in his reactions as a musician, due to his talent and competitive profession. It is truly a satisfaction to notice that his multiple human and artistic traits can be salvaged from the mist of the past through this monographic volume. At the same time, one cannot avoid regretting that the musician has ceased to exist concretely among us. In the mirrors of time, a young writer who has never met him, has reconstructed his personality, thus sketching The Portrait of a Musician, Albert Guttman, a virtual and credible being, in the pages of a book. The name of this painter of words is, I remind you, Andreea Chiselev.

Grigore Constantinescu
(English Version by Simina Neagu)