Ciprian Porumbescu – “Don’t let my music die!” – a will for millions of hearts


Bucharest National Opera is marking, 14 October 2022, 169 years since the birth of the great composer Ciprian Porumbescu through a series of events aimed at reviving the national spirit that the musician and patriot was animated by and that he masterfully translated into his creations.

On this occasion, speaking about Ciprian Porumbescu, the manager of the Bucharest National Opera, Daniel Jinga, said: “I think it is our duty to make him fly higher and higher, where he belongs.”

Ciprian Porumbescu was born on 14 October, 1853, in a modest family, on the plains of Bucovina, at Şipotele Sucevei. From early childhood he proved to be gifted with an exceptional musical talent and took violin lessons in the nearby village, then followed the gymnasium in Suceava where he began to study the piano and the organ. Between 1873 and 1877 he studied Orthodox theology in Cernăuți and, in 1874, he founded here the student society “Arboroasa”, whose hymn he composed – a true patriot, he could not help bringing the old name of Bucovina to the fore. Later, following his passion, he became a scholarship holder of the Konservatorium für Musik in Vienna, where he conducted the choir of the “Romania Jună” Student Society. Also here, in 1880, he made a collection of twenty choral pieces and songs, “Collection of social songs for Romanian students”, a collection that brings together creations such as “Cântecul gintei latine”, “Cântecul tricolorului” or “Union Hymn – Pe-al nostru steag”. Between 1881 and 1883 he worked as a teacher at the Romanian High School in Brașov, being also the conductor of the choir at the church of St. Nicholas, in Șcheii Brașovului.

A great patriot, Ciprian Porumbescu marked the history of music through his memorable compositions, from which a strong Romanian spirit emerges, animates us and makes our hearts jump with the feeling of belonging to an ancient people, unique through the values ​​left as a legacy by our ancestors, addressing the patriotic theme combined with elements of expressiveness that define his unique musical style. The love for the country and for everything that is Romanian was translated into masterpieces of great beauty and sensitivity. His most representative works are: “Ballad for violin and orchestra” op. 29, the famous patriotic song “Unire is written on our flag”, music that today gives the National Hymn of Albania – “Hymni i Flamurit”, the melody of the former hymn of Romania “Three Colors”.

Anyone who has ever listened “Ballad for violin and orchestra” and read Lucian Blaga’s works about the Romanian space that the philosopher described as wavy, like hills and valleys, cannot help but feel that thrill, that vibration, the longing, the mourning, the commotion, the joy, the fulfillment, one by one and all in one place, let him not feel that he belongs to this place and that this realm belongs to him, that he is one with all the others and that he is part of this people, rising and falling, vibrating with and for him, crying tears of sadness and joy.

Inspired by folklore, starting from the popular legend according to which it was believed that when the New Moon appears in the sky, the wishes of young girls who dedicate themselves to him are fulfilled, Ciprian Porumbescu created the first Romanian operetta based on Vasile Alecsandri’s lyrics, “New Moon”, presented for the first time in the festive hall of the Romanian High School in Brașov, currently the “Andrei Șaguna” National College.

Today, more than ever, we owe it to Ciprian Porumbescu to carry forward his will, the last words he whispered before rising to the heavens, on 6 June, 1883, at only 30 years old: “Don’t let my music die!”. We will not let his music die, nor his spirit, the love for everything that defines us, from faith, history, traditional costume, legend, language, sound, feeling and space.