The Master Of Romanian First Auditions

There is a hidden passion in revealing the Romanian first absolute auditions that characterize conductor Horia Andreescu, the artisan of some essential scores of autochthonous contemporary symphonism. Besides the unknown Symphony No. 5 by George Enescu, discovered, re-orchestrated and completed by Pascal Bentoiu and brought again in the concert performance circuit after more than 60 years, then the Symphonies no.2 and no. 3 by Tiberiu Olah, Symphony no.6 by Anatol Vieru, Symphony no.8 by Pascal Bentoiu presented in a first hearing, Horia Andreescu proved to be an authentic supporter of young talents like Mihaela Ursuleasa, tenor Marius Brenciu or soprano Roxana Briban (recently promoted in professional responsibility scores like the difficult Concerto no. 3 for piano by Béla Bartók, the symphonic poem Vox Maris by Enescu and Symphony no.5 by Gustav Mahler), today international level performers. Although few contemporary exegetes accept the idea that between the radio conductor and the concert hall or opera one there is a clear difference in the work style (very rapid, efficient), in the finesse of soft nuances, in the perfection of accords and collective intonation, still Horia Andreescu gained a real notoriety in the manner of collaborating with such ensembles. It is perhaps necessary to mention his prevailing collaboration with the orchestras of the radio networks from Hamburg, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hilversum, Berlin, Madrid, Leipzig, Jerusalem, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Katowice together with the two Bucharest symphonic ensembles of the Romanian Radio, with which he realized exceptional broadcasts, and with some of the orchestras, a series of discs of real artistic value. Horia Andreescu's actual discography (more than 50 compact discs) seems to be equaled on a national scale only by Iosif Conta and Emanuel Elenescu, but without such a prestigious international participation (record houses: Naxos, Marco Polo, Olympia, Attacca, Bayer Record, Aksak, and so on). Besides the collaborations with the "sister" orchestras mentioned above, the Romanian conductor distinguished himself at the music desks of the philharmonics from Dresden, Amsterdam, Budapest, of the famous Gewandhaus orchestra from Leipzig, Berliner Staatskapelle, Wiener Symphoniker orchestras, and others, the foreign press being unanimously laudatory at all his appearances. Actually, the living proof of the fact that Horia Andreescu is today an artistic personality of worldwide prestige is represented by his presence on the posters of international manifestations like Wiener Festwochen, Berliner Festtage, Dresden Festspiele, Berliner Bienale, the "George Enescu" International Festival from Bucharest, and so on. Born on 18th October 1946 in the picturesque town at the foothills of Tâmpa, in the Carpathians, Brasov, Horia Andreescu studied at the musical high-school in town…the oboe, after which he was admitted at the Conservatoire in Bucharest. There he studied composition with Stefan Niculescu and conducting with Constantin Bugeanu, enjoying a complex musical culture with professors Marin Constantin (choral conducting), Victor Giuleanu (theory-solfeggio), Tudor Ciortea (musical forms), Aurel Stroe (orchestration), Viorel Cosma, Ovidiu Varga and Octavian Lăzar Cosma (the history of music), Emilia Comişel (folklore). After graduating the Bucharest institute (1973), he followed post-graduating conducting courses in Vienna with Hans Swarowski and Karl Ősterreicher, then at Trier and Műnchen with Sergiu Celibidache. He made his debut at the age of 21 at the music desk of the Youth Chamber Orchestra in Braşov, taking over – after graduating the Conservatoire – the destinies of the Ploieşti Philharmonic. For 13 years, (1974-1984), this provincial orchestra became an international prestige ensemble due exclusively to the pedagogic talent of the young and enthusiastic orchestra conductor from Braşov. Arriving in Bucharest as conductor of the first symphonic ensemble of the country, Horia Andreescu also took over the position of deputy manager of the George Enescu Philharmonic. Wishing to bring back into the artistic circuit the universal pre-classical and classical music (Vivaldi, Bach, Telemann, Händel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven) he laid the basis of the ensemble The Virtuosos in Bucharest (1987), gathering around him the most valuable young performers in the capital. Tours inside the country and abroad, recording discs, but especially permanent concerts on thematic cycles at the Romanian Athenaeum, made The Virtuosos in Bucharest an exemplary ensemble of the Romanian contemporary chamber music. In parallel with the activity of conductor at George Enescu Philharmonic, Horia Andreescu also took over the department of conducting from the Music Academy in Bucharest where, for four years (1987-1991), he tried to convey to his disciples a modern method of working with the orchestra, and especially a bold aesthetic conception regarding the vision of the masterpieces of universal classicism. And this is because Horia Andreescu belongs to the new generation of Romanian orchestra conductors for which vitality, vim and optimism remain defining features of the personal style that was to rank him ahead of the Romanian conductors of universal value. The moment of major artistic fulfillment occurred when he took over the destinies of the musical ensembles in the Romanian Radio (1992), where – alternating the evolutions both at the National Radio Orchestra and, especially, at the Chamber Radio Orchestra – Horia Andreescu substantially broadened his repertoire and succeeded in collaborating with great European soloists. One of the most spectacular achievements from his ascending career was represented by the integral of George Enescu's symphonic works – an undertaking of ambitious proportions, especially because the "reading" of the maestro's scores embraced a new, unknown, visibly more dynamic and youthful approach, but also more dramatic. For more than half a century, Enescu's music knew a romantic, somehow idyllic climate, until Horia Andreescu dared to amplify the dramatic contrasts, to discover in the polyphony of the Romanian Rhapsody's author a monumental construction. Naturally, for Horia Andreescu the works of ample symphonic structure (Mahler, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Manuel de Falla) are a special attraction. It is perhaps this desire of collaborating with ample groups that made him approach the vocal-symphonic repertoire (The Christmas Oratorio, The Easter Oratorio by Paul Constantinescu, the Requiems by Verdi, Mozart, Brahms, Fauré, Britten) and even opera (Carmen, Othello, Rigoletto, Madame Butterfly, Parsifal, Il Mondo della Luna, and so on). Of great responsibility seems to be the revival of the lyrical tragedy Oedipus at the international festival George Enescu (Bucharest 2003). Horia Andreescu hasn't revealed everything yet. Every new premiere or first audition reveals a complex musician who reached artistic maturity, fully mastering the most subtle artistic means, which convinces us that in the gallery of great contemporary orchestra conductors his name will be imprinted on the path opened by our 20th century generation of conductors, who penetrated the spirit of universal art.

by Viorel Cosma (b. 1927)