In 2018, Romanians celebrate the Centenary – a hundred years since Romania had the largest territory ever inhabited primarily by Romanians, at the same time, a century since Romania as a modern country was born. What do we know about our history in the last one hundred years? What and why do we celebrate? We know too little; many of the Romanians participating in the celebration do not know what it is for. The torrent of pathetic and solemn words about the past is useless. I followed two paths side by side, which happen to be in a natural connection, but sometimes they also go through distinct stages: on one hand, the course of the main historical events from the beginning of World War I until now, and on the other hand, Romanian musical life during the same period. I will cover five historical stages (World War I, Interwar Period and World War II, Soviet Occupation, Ceauşescuʼs era and Post-Communist Period) pursuing four main aims: a) an explicit historical image (as a musician I had a relatively narrow perspective on general historical facts); b) completing superficial knowledge received in school (before 1989) with information to justify certain events; c) the relationship between history–culture–music, in support of the idea that art does not exclude knowledge and civic involvement, on the contrary; d) the Past justifies the Present and together they work upon the Future. In the epilogue I will reveal an example that I consider illustrative for this fourth aim: the project Saving Enescu’s Cottage from Mihăileni. I have made this study mainly for my own benefit, in order to understand the historical facts, but especially to find an answer to the question: knowing history – what’s the use?
Grigore Constantinescu has a unique value in the Romanian musical journalism, a warm yet firm musical pen, a unitary and recognizable style, by surprising the audience continuously through novelty argued with nobility. And if today’s young musicologists often ask themselves: are there consistent, high quality books that contain information with immediate reference to the famous triad of history-style-language, they only have to have the time and patience to read and especially to understand the fascinating trajectory of certain genres, revealed by Grigore Constantinescu so close to each of our souls, in the books Four Centuries of Opera and Four Centuries of Lied.