We dedicated our last articles to accessible travel, where we proposed mainly activities and destinations for tourists with special needs in terms of mobility.
As we provide tourism for all, today we dedicate a musical journey, as there is no better expression for the national spirit than the music itself. It is our way to reach to every soul, and especially travellers’ with visual impairments, as unfortunately Romania has not many tourist spots that correspond to these specific needs.
Hence, we are here to carry you through the history of Romanian Athenaeum to listen the essence of Romanian music of Enescu or and tell the story of Calusarul (it cannot be translated into English, it originates from the Romanian ritualistic dance where jumping and miming is accompanied by invocation shouting, in a process of healing).
Romanian Athenaeum – the core of Romanian sound
For those who arrive in Bucharest, Romanian Athenaeum is a visual, but also a sound referral. Placed on the most visited spot of the city, Victoriei Avenue, the edifice enchants the passers-by from the very first glance.
The outstanding circular base distinguishes the 1888 building among all the beauties around it. Imposing, 41 m high, dome looking, Romanian Athenaeum attracts with its architectural style, a mixture of neoclassic and eclectic. The colonnades in its Doric amplitudes are like gates into a musical realm.
The interior prolongs into the grandeur of the entrance. The four elegant staircases, spiral like, carry the spectator into the land of music. Once you reach the main hall, the Big Fresco painted by the Romanian painter Costin Petrescu starting with 1932 depicts the history of Romanian nation since Dacians.
We speak about Bucharest, the little Paris of East; there is no surprise that the architect behind this masterpiece was the French Albert Galleron. The story behind this building gives us a comprehensive image of what Bucharest used to be at the time.
The cultural lifestyle of Bucharest was blossoming in the 1880s, when local nobles proposed to open a special musical edifice. Enachita Vacarescu proposed to have the Athenaeum built on his land, where the establishment for Equestrian centre was already set – which explains the circular shape. The noble community voice arisen against it, as they considered the building on outskirts of Bucharest. Imagine that: what is now the heart of the city, used once to be its periphery!
The edifice was built between 1886 and 1888, bringing into Bucharest one of the main landmarks. In 1934 George Enescu, the Romanian national composer, contributed and brought the big pipe organ. Today, Romanian Athenaeum is the main spot where George Enescu Festival is held every two years – that’s why we will keep you posted on the 2017 edition!
Accessible sound trip – Romanian Rhapsody no. 1
And as there is no Romanian musical trip without Romanian national famous composer, George Enescu, there is no Romanian feeling without the Romanian Rhapsodies – and especially the masterpiece Romanian Rhapsody no. 1 in A Major.
In a sense, this journey is the quintessence in local feeling and living, bringing into sound the image of Romanians as simple, still exotic, beings.
Romanian rhapsody comprehends the soul of a nation situated between Balkans and Occident, the joy and dance. It is as an educated trip into folklore. The passages slip smoothly one to another, from popular music to hora, between popular music trips from one another, fulminating with Ciocarlia (Skylark) as a sound of maximum joy and optimism.
The orchestration is complex and also brings a touch of Romanian instruments. The harp, the dulcimer and the pan pipe bring the authentic feeling of this master piece.
Along time, since 1950, there were various performances and plays of this musical amazement. It was the conductor Sergiu Celibidache with his energy who brought a special joy and local fulfilment to the musical thrill of Romanian Rhapsody no. 1 in A major.
For this Opera to fill complete, you have to travel to Bucharest and listen it in the edifice that carries the mark of its Composer, Romanian Athenaeum.
Calusarii – an accessible trip on sound of Romanian tradition
In Romania everything is about local soul and ancient traditions, such is the dance and folkloric music is not only the most representative dance in Romanian folklore, but also an expression of Romanian vitality and beliefs.
The dance was included in Intangible UNESCO Heritage in 2005 not only for its spectacular sound and movements, but also for its incommensurable contribution to traditional rite stories.
Traditionally, Calusul was played every summer by a secret fraternity all over Romania and Bulgaria, the custom being kept in our country till today.
The dance is actually a healing rite which combines horse movements and fairy flight transposed in a mixture of acrobatics jumps in the air accompanied by music and the energetic shouts of the young persons involved in the rite.
In fact, even the etymology of the word “Calusul” is derived from the Romanian word “cal” (horse in English). The group of (exclusive) male dancers wear white costumes and from their hats fly long, colourful, ribbons. As per Romanian dance groups, the youngster have specific character, like the bride, the fool.
In case you wonder why we recommend this dance as also a joy for visually impaired tourists, well, this amazing amalgamation is both resonant and visual and also expresses and recreates a traditional, ancient old Romanian experience.
If listened and felt deeply, local music and traditions are the most eloquent samples of Romanian soul. A tour to Romanian Athenaeum and taking part to a Romanian dance representation is a short trip towards to the core of national local beauty.
We are here to accompany you into a world of sound; we are here to invite you to discover the true feeling of Romania!