A Biography of the Legendary Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti
Victor Brauner, To My Beloved Saşa Pană, 1930. Collection Vladimir Pană
A magnificent survey exhibition of Jewish avant-garde artists from Romania will open at the Jewish Historical Museum (JHM) on 1 June 2011: From Dada to Surrealism, with more than seventy works of art from the period 1910-1938. Most of these works have never been on display before in the Netherlands, or anywhere outside Romania.
For full details see www.jhm.nl/current/exhibitions/romania
The photograph in the Foundation's collection showing a group of Dada artists, including Celine Arnault, was reproduced in Dada's Women, a book written by Ruth Hemus and published in 2009 by Yale University Press.
Professor Mircea Eliade
Professor Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) was one of the world’s leading authorities on the history of religions. He was also a prominent author, and his latest work to be filmed is Youth without Youth (2007), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Eliade served as a diplomat for his country for several years. His journal kept during World War II when he was posted in Lisbon at the Romanian Legation has been translated from the Romanian by Professor Mac Linscott Ricketts, and will shortly be published by the State University of New York (SUNY) Press in the USA. This publication has been subsidised by the Prodan Foundation, to enable translations of key primary source documents of the period, which have never before been made public, to be included. Eliade’s journal and papers for this period fill a hole in our knowledge of the secret political, diplomatic, and espionage intrigues taking place in Lisbon during the Second World War. All historians of the period will find this material useful, and Eliade enthusiasts will be fascinated to learn of the author and scholar’s intimate involvement in such exciting events of his time.
Izabela, Daniela and Lonela working
at their sewing machines
The Foundation is helping disadvantaged children and teenagers at St Laurence’s Centre in Cernavoda Romania who are learning embroidery skills. Both boys and girls, some of whom are affected by HIV, love doing stitching and we have provided them with a variety of patterns taken from fabrics and cloths from the collection of Mia Prodan. They are particularly keen to preserve traditional Romanian stitches and patterns. We have also provided five sewing machines and sewing materials. Several of the young people are now able to earn money from their sewing skills and learning to become independent. A Sewing Workshop Project has recently been set up where a qualified sewing teacher will train five girls to use sewing machines. They will then go on to become part of a co-operative workshop and thus earn their own living.
Lonela with examples of her embroidery
There have been two exhibitions of some of the children’s work in England and the sale of their work goes directly to them personally.
The Charity involved is CHILDREN IN DISTRESS www.childrenindistress.org
Examples of Romanain embroidery from Mia Prodan's collection can be found in our miscellanea section.
The Foundation has acquired this pastel of a vase of Michaelmas daisies by Stefan Luchian (1868-1916). Luchian was perhaps the finest of all the Romanian Impressionist artists. As far as we can determine, this is the only Luchian picture which has been sold anywhere outside of Romania since the end of the War, as there seem to be no auction records of any other. The Foundation has also recently acquired a small oil painting by Nicolae Grigorescu, the other leading Romanian Impressionist. It is a long-term aim of the Foundation to sponsor an exhibition of Romanian Impressionism in London, and these two works are a start of the Foundation's own collection of them, which would be incorporated into such an exhibition.
The angel is measured for her podium in Apold Church by the craftsman.
The Foundation is funding the building of an angel in the Saxon Church of APOLD in Transylvania. The angel will match her twin who still survives on one side of the organ which was built in 1821 by Johann Thois. Restoration of the organ is already underway. It will be complete for the 700th anniversary of Apold church later this year (2009).
The Foundation is funding the cleaning and stabilising of frescoes in the 14th century church at Malancrav. The frescoes are suffering from the effects of years of humidity and survive from around 1420. This work will be undertaken by specialists from Romania using traditional techniques. The church hosts a service every Sunday and occasional concerts take place there. This is one of the most beautiful spots in Romania.
On April 12th 2005, Edmund Handy, the British restoration expert, began work in Sighisoara on the Samuel Maetz clavichord. Until now it had lain broken on the second floor of the Sighisoara Museum in Transylvania. Handy used the museum's laboratory during the two weeks set aside for the work, and had brought all the tools and most of the materials needed from England.
The clavichord is unsigned and undated, but documents given to the museum with the instrument in the 1920s indicate that it is the work of the Saxon-Transylvanian musician and organ builder, Samuel Maetz of Biertan. It has a case made of local oak, and a compass of five octaves (FF-f 3). Unusually for a five-octave clavichord, it is diatonically fretted, with the D's and A's free. It is thought to date from c. 1825.
The restoration was carried out in line with the highest modern standards. As far as possible original parts of the instrument were not to be replaced unless absolutely essential and only appropriate materials used. Natural glues and polishes as well as felts and cloths of the type used in the instrument's original construction were used. New wire strings of historically correct specification were fitted, including 24 covered bass strings individually made to pattern. Professor Turck, the harpsichord and organ teacher from the Music Academy in Cluj, visited the laboratory with some of his Romanian students and all took great pleasure in being able to watch the work in progress.
In the above photograph Handy can be seen putting the last of the new strings on the clavichord. Subsequently the listing cloth was fitted and the instrument roughly tuned to pitch. All that remained at this stage were adjustments to the action and some work on the exterior casework.
Samuel Maetz was born in Hosman village in 1760 and spent most of his life in Biertan (with one year abroad). During his time in Sighisoara, Edmund Handy took the opportunity to visit Hosman to see the Maetz organ of which there are a number of other examples in the area.
Having completed the main body of the clavichord, Handy played a Bach sonata producing, in his words, "...a beautiful tone". Repairs were also completed on the legs, the lid and a new prop stick was made.
On April 21st Edmund Handy emailed us "...Today I finished the work on the clavichord and played a couple of pieces for some of the museum staff. I played a prelude in C by JS Bach, and a folk melody from Transylvania that Zoltan Kodaly heard in the early 20th century. It is probably the first time that it has been played on a clavichord. It wasn't possible to organise any sort of semi-formal recital because the museum had a new exhibition opening. However, this did mean that TV and press turned up and were very excited about the clavichord. There is so much to tell you and I am sad to be leaving Sighisoara; all the people have been so wonderful."
The Trust is most grateful to The Prodan Romanian Cultural Foundation for their grant which enabled this work to be carried out.
An article on the clavichord can be found in The British Clavichord Society Newsletter Issue No 31.