Some months ago, we reported on the plight of the Charles Ives House in Redding, Connecticut, sold to developers with a knock-down plan. The same fate awaits the home of George Enescu, the great Rumanian composer, violinist and conductor.
In a specially commissioned article for Slipped Disc, the Rumanian pianist Raluca Stirbat brings the state of Enescu’s childhood house at Mihaileni to world attention. We are asking readers with government contacts in Bucharest and Brussels to use their best efforts to save this national and international heritage site. Please…. there’s no time to lose.
SAVE ENESCU’S MEMORIAL HOUSE IN MIHAILENI, ROMANIA!
– by Raluca Stirbat, Pianist, President of the International George Enescu Society in Vienna
– 13 January 2013
The research for my dissertation on the life and work of the brilliant Romanian composer, as well as the endless search for the “Inefable of Enescu” brought me to one of the most northern parts of Romania: the small idyllic village of Mihaileni, in the county of Botosani, Moldova.
George Enescu (1881-1955) was born in Liveni-Dorohoi (county of Botosani, today George Enescu) but he spent many happy hours of his childhood, youth and adulthood in his mother’s house in Mihaileni (at a distance of only 30-40 km from Liveni). This is proved by biografical documents and numerous letters to his mother Maria and his favourite aunt, the „precious“ Tinca – she was Costache Enescu’s (the composer’s father) sister, a very musically talented woman, who had a striking resemblance to her nephew George and who stayed with Enescu’s mother in Mihaileni to look after her. Enescu spent the summer months for years in his beloved Moldova and divided his time between his father’s house in Cracalia (which was burnt down in the late 1940s – a sad and mysterious story, still remained unclarified) and that of his mother’s family in Mihaileni.
Maria Enescu, the composer’s mother, was born in 1839 here on the banks of the small river Molnita, as the daughter of the priest Ioan Cosmovici and his wife Zenovia, née Vogoride. After “Jorjac’s” departure to study in Vienna, her illness and life-saving operation in the Austrian capital, the separation from her husband and the dramatic attempt at retiring to the monastery Varatec, she went back to her parents’ house, where she passed away in 1909.
Enescu was in Paris when he received this sad news, but he was unable to get back in time to accompany his beloved mother on her “last journey”. He returned every year to Mihaileni to pay his respects according to the Greek Orthodox religious practice (in Romanian: pomenire) to his mother and grandparents, who lay togheter in the old cemetery of the village. He always spent a few days within his childhood walls, where he used to compose and happily made music with his mother and aunt. It was here that – among other great works – the Sinfonia Concertante Op. 8 for Cello and Orchestra originated while he was looking after his sick mother in November 1901.
All this must be reason enough to save this house and to turn it into a museum – one stage on a cultural-tourist route: „Enescu’s way in the north of Moldova: Liveni, Cracalia, Dorohoi, Tescani, Iasi“. But one needs a wellthought-out strategy as well as political will and honest interest, so that the responsible Romanian authorities from Bucharest immediately co-ordinate a conservation/renovation plan of action!
Unfortunately the last informations are that Enescu’s house from Mihaileni is used as a barn and the local owner intends to demolish it as soon as possible…