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ISCM World Music Days 1999 - Nicolae Brandus



ISCM World Music Days 1999 
Report by Nicolae Brandus
At the beginning of this autumn, Romania and the Republic of Moldova were the hosts of the festival World Music Days , taking place in Bucharest and Cluj, as well as in Timisoara, Iasi, Bacau and Chisinau, soone can say that the 76-th edition offered - it seems - for the first time such an extended area of events, including almost 240 works signed by composers from all over the world, many of them present in the concert halls. 
Unfortunately, the reduced number of auditors and the lack of interest shown by the television stations was not in concordance to the huge amount of money allocated, also the echoes in the international press were very tiny. 
What determined the organisation of the festival in Romania, which were the difficulties coming across and - especially - why this reduced audience, often meeting in the concert halls only those directly involved - composers, interpreters, relatives and friends - and what was the opinion of the guests upon the festival in general, these were some questions adressed to the composer Nicolae Brandus, director of the WMD, president of the romanian ISCM-section. (ANCA FLOREA) 
From the very beginning I would like to make it clear that this festival, taking place for the first time in Romania and in the Republic of Moldova (the 76th edition) 
was produced with minimal expenses. Similar festivals, usualy taking place in the capital and sometimes in the suburbs of it, were produced with expenses between one and three-four million dollars. We were in the position to produce this festival, of unprecedent proportions up to this edition, with an amount of aproximately 300.000 dollars, an amount representing the eight part of the budget fot the George Enescu festival, last year... 
Anyway, the problems consisted not in the costs of this event, in spite of this general poverty, but in the way this festival was conceived and realised, beeing aware of its international importance. That is to say: 
The special committees of the ISCM-member countries, as well as the Selection Committee of the Romanian Union of Composers, took well care of the selected works (aprox. 600), to be proposed then to the interpreters. The last ones had the last word (as it was natural) in structuring the programes. One followed the principle to have represented in concerts all the ISCM-member countries, as well as the most appreciated works among the works sent individually from all over the world. 
In spite of all exceptions (very rare, comparing to other ISCM festivals), it was unanimously appreciated the the quality of the music as well as of the interpreters in the program, in majority romanian artists. I make this affirmations, as a result of the discussions I had with almost all the ISCM representatives and with the composers present at the festival to hear their works: aproximately 150 persons from all over the world, the majority observers , in fact , of many other previous editions of the WMD. 
The General Assembly of the ISCM delegations, as well as the symposias organised during the festival in Cluj (on the theme Interculturality and identity in the contemporary music) and in Chisinau ( The East-West relations in the promotion of the new music), the musicians from abroad and the local as well had the oportunity to present their ideas and opinions upon the festival and the future of the ISCM. There was elected the new ISCM Executive Committee and the General Assembly - through the care of the Romanian Union of Composers - unfolded under the best auspices, at the seat of the Union in the Cantacuzino Palace, widely admired by the guests. 
Concerning the program of concerts, the newspaper Actualitatea Muzicala managed to present reports by many musicians (journalists). (Evidently, each one on own resposability.) Its good to know that many of the opinions didn t concorded to my (personal) opinions or to the opinions of some other guests, more reliable due to their long experience acquired at the previous similar festivals. I dont intend to argue with anybody, but I was reading among the reports some rubbish worthy for other provinces ... Anyway is preferable to be written something - even badly - than to not make at all any publicity , as it happened in Bucharest, due to the good work done by the organisers of this event: Artexim, The Majoralty of the Capital and especially those responsable to put up the posters (not only the posters from the Festival of the Beer or other more or less famous groups of all kind) on the towns panels, some of them totaly empty !.... There was a sabotage, which, even if it would have been deliberate and not only pure sluggishness would not have been done better. 
Anyway this situation could be an alarm signal (how many more one need?) 
towards what it can happen in the future. Everything - concerning my part of the work - Ive foreseen for many months ago and I informed clearly the Organiser: look after the PR, look after the urban relations with the guests ( after all we dont have to do with folk music bands, but with great personalities of the international music life) etc... 
There were also some results, even events. Firstly, let us thank the National Radio Broadcasting Society who recorded everything. There exists an audio document of the entire festival from all six involved music centres: Bucharest, Cluj, Bacau, Iasi, Timisoara and Chisinau. As a matter of fact, through an intelligent strategy of exchanges beetwen the Broadcasting Corporations one could knitt together a concludent publicity for this manifestation all over the world, for the best of our music culture. 
We have to thank specially to the interpreters -who on very minimal benefits- provided a high artistic level of the concerts. Here some exceptions almost doesnt matter. There were maximal events: simphonic concerts in all six centres, the majority of the chamber music and the Multimedias. If we are not a big consumer of contemporary culture (let s say musical), we are at least producing it.I believe that this festival presented a salutary confrontation of the artistic forces, a real opening towards the world. 
It is to be mentioned in the superlative (as it results from all opinions) The Book of the Festival, its accurate information, the perfection of the english translation, the grafic quality (read Editura Infoteam , Bucharest). It will remain a historical document. Nevertheless one deserve to blame both the national and the private televisions for the displayed indifference towards this cultural event of world significance, at wich these shone by their absence . Long leave all kitsch, the contests, the politicoid garglings and the sexy films. We deserve it ! 
In the end I would like to refer to the last concert of the festival (on october 2) at the George Enescu Hall of the University of Music with the ensemble Repertorium and the piano-duo Tanasescu-Tinney, concert at wich there were presented those works postponed during the festival because of the same lack of organisatoric skillness (from Bucharest and Cluj). A concert frequented exclusively by our foreign guests, from the romanian auditors one could only remark a protesters group. 
There was made the justice to some excellent works as Hora by the israeli composer Ari Ben Shabetai and In the Memories by the japanese Satoshi Ohmae, works full of senses, tipical for the respective music cultures, in an exceptional interpretation of the ensemble Repertorium. By the way it has also to be mentioned (missing from the newspaper report about Multimedia II) the interpretation of Inna Oncescu of the solo piano work by the american Jason Eckart - Echoes white for piano - full of beauty and personal ideas. The couple Tanasescu-Tinney presented the works wich were postponed because of time collision beetwen concerts in Cluj (many thanks to the local organisers!). For two pianos by the dutch Robert Znidam, For piano 1 by the english Richard Emsley, Lets play by the uruguayan Juan Felipe Silveira and foremost Prosegisi II by the greek Anastasios Vassiliadis took benefit of all what one need for an experimented couple serving the first performances of new music. 
Generally and finally, I would like sincerely to thank to all those who involved there talent and professionalism in serving this great World Feast of the Music: that is evidently, the interpreters: conductors, soloists, ensembles, amplifing (sound) support. As it was with all this lacks, this festival marks - as many of the participants told me - a new stage in the 76-year history of this manifestation. 
Well see if in the future those involved have drawn the right conclusions. 
Untill that, let s get into the next millenium. 
Nicolae Brandus, 
president of the Romanian ISCM section 
artistic director of th WMD festival 


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