Documents in the Archive of the National “George Enescu” Museum: Articles on George Enescu in Periodicals, volumes I (1895-1909) and II (1910-1911)

de Florinela Popa si Camelia Anca Sârbu

Bucureşti: Editura Muzicală, 2009

 

          The two volumes of articles make a first step in covering a gap in documentation on George Enescu. It seems incredible that such a wealth of information has been gathering dust in the archive of the National “George Enescu” Museum for fifty years, without anybody to bring them to light.
          So far, over 600 pages reveal 515 press articles published in Romania and abroad between 1895-1909 (volume I) and 1910-1911 (volume II), which were found in the composer’s personal collection. It goes without saying that the project is open and the two young authors may still spend years working on this annotated bibliography.
          Florinela Popa and Camelia Anca Sârbu have managed to elaborate hundreds of index cards which have been added to the facsimiles of the respective articles, following ten rigorous cataloguing and description criteria. We can thus read the whole or part of the old article, but also the new comment on it, which relates the event (concert) to the commentator or offers important additional explanations. Such an act of resourceful, rather unusual restitution – even if it implies a tedious work of sorting, ordering and comparing old documents – becomes highly attractive to the reader. The volumes draw a chronological picture of the mode of reception characteristic to Enescu the performer (less, at this stage, Enescu the composer), but also an implicit picture of the age, revealing a style characteristic to the way in which the musical life of the early 1900s was reflected on in the press.
          As expected, a generous introductory study sums up the ideas in the documents: on the one hand in the French and Romanian press (Camelia Anca Sârbu), on the other hand in the English and German press (Florinela Popa). Research on Enescu’s personality thus receives not only new sources, but also two essays that point out the relevance of these sources in highly professional analyses.
          While admiring the amazing work done by the two young authors, I was wondering to what extent they may have been guided by Clemansa Liliana Firca’s musicological and museographic experience. Whether they were or they weren’t, it certainly seems that one generation takes over from the previous one: the two researchers have wonderfully managed to combine the difficult, rather unspectacular museographer’s work with that of the musicologist.
          Maybe their two volumes aren’t exactly pathbreaking – as noticed by Clemansa Liliana Firca in a solid introductory study – but they certainly are going to become indispensable working tools. And they open up roads to be further explored.

Valentina Sandu-Dediu
(English version by Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru)