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Mystic chanting

journeys to hear the lost pipers of Iasi


Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce myself first -- I am Elica Lupus-Popescu, folk music history lecturer of the Music Academy in Cluj, Romania. First a little about my beautiful country, and some of the most fantastic mountain scenery in Europe.

A section of the Carpatian Mountains. Photo © Keith Bramich
A section of the Carpatian Mountains. Photo © Keith Bramich

Besides the Carpatii, the Carpatian Mountains, which give our country its giant, beautiful, curved backbone, we also have the fertile plains of the south around Bucuresti, rich with oil, the fascinating and special scientific area of the Danube Delta, and (most relevant to my story here), the Germanic towns of Transilvania and the incredible painted churches and monasteries of Moldavia in the north-east, near the border with the Republic of Moldova, and beyond that, Ukraine.

Painted monasteries in Moldavia (detail). Photo © Keith Bramich
Painted monasteries in Moldavia (detail). Photo © Keith Bramich

I must tell you too of the brilliance of our musicians -- you will have heard for sure of composer Georges Enescu, famous the world-over, and a phenomenal all-round musician, but do you know the names Livia Teodorescu Ciocanea or Luminita Spinu [listen -- 'Let all the world in every corner sing']? You'll have heard of conductor Sergiu Celibidache, but have you come across Nicolae Moldoveanu? Or Leonard Dumitriu? There are the sopranos Nelly Miricioiu and Angela Gheorghiu, the pianist Radu Lupu ... maybe too you'll have read in your beautiful magazine here of two of our younger pianists -- Luiza Borac and Mihaela Ursuleasa, and of the recent and very sad death of my teacher, our folk music composer, Paraschiv Oprea?

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Copyright © 1 April 2004 Elica Lupus-Popescu, Cluj Napoca, Romania


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