Sibiu : And I say thank you for the music...
Sibiu Travel Blog› entry 182 of 268 › view all entries
No.22 : âEveryone has the right to encroach upon eternity.â
Article 22 of the Constitution of the Republic of Artists. Itâs city ambassador and co-founder for the city of Sibiu, Gheorghe Igna. Yep, George, a Transylvanian dentist and my kind Couchsurfing host for my time in his beautiful city. Yep, you heard me right, a Transylvanian dentist so yes, you can take a ticket and step to the back of the queue with all the others lining up with predictable jokes involving over-sharp nashers and âremarkable dental care sir!â. Fangs, but no fangs, heâs heard them all before.
No.6 : âEveryone has the right to love.
No.7 : âEveryone has the right not to be loved, but not necessarily.â
Within minutes of arriving at his high-thrown flat George is proving a fascinating wealth of knowledge and facts about Sibiu. Among the more eclectic are the following : The Periodic chemical Tellurium was discovered here in 1782 by the Hungarian born alchemist Franz-Joseph Muller von Reichenstein who was dizzyingly convinced heâd discovered the process of creating silver from base metal, but this proved not to be so. Also home to the Transylvanian mathematics teacher Hermann Oberth who produced a groundbreaking paper in 1923 entitled The Rocket into Interplanetary Space chock full of nascent rocket science calculations and even a De Vinci-esque ahead-of-its-time design for a 35 metre tall bullet-shaped rocket with four tail fins.
Sibiu is also home, George tells me, to Romaniaâs oldest surviving Holocaust victim. Martin Hirsch who has reached a presumably ripe old age despite suffering two cerebral infarctions and a major road traffic accident since. Yes, it seems Sibiu is a vibrant, creative, survivor city.
No.31 : âEveryone is capable of independence.â
No.32 : âEveryone is responsible for his freedom.â
No.33 : âEveryone has the right to cry.â
I sit in my pew at the Catedrala Evanghelica.
Everyone now sat in the pews. Rigid backs. Staring straight ahead toward the church nave and transept with its three slender, tall stain glass windows early evening light illuminating them - stood before them a tall wooden carved altar piece; a sculptural triptych with Christ upon the cross silhouetted at its centre and white marble relief tablets beneath enlivened by the fall of light depicting the Nativity, The Last Supper and the Ascension.
No.21 : âEveryone has the right to realise his negligibility and magnificence.â
Sibiu is a beautiful town. My favourite of my brief time in Romania. It has a rich and colourful physical presence as well as such counterpart qualities within its soul.
George had explained to me how Sibiuâs and generally Transylvaniaâs architecture was mercifully left largely untouched or ignored by the obsessional urban revisionism of the Ceausescu years. Whilst he states that upwards of 75% of Old Bucharest was destroyed by the blight of what Iâve heard referred to as âaspirational socialist architectureâ, Transylvania and its authorities were left largely to the be governed by the will of its own people. Something the city is rightly proud of.
No.25 : âEveryone has the right to be of various nationalities.â
Iâm sat in The Atrium: Classic CafĂ©.
Many a fine song, an interlude and another beer later a grey-white shaven headed man of voluminous, nebulous physical boundaries sits himself behind the baby-grand piano and starts carving and keying out the most marvellous tunes, melodies and medleys. A heavy set man with the lightest of fingers; they flit across the ivory to fuse Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend with Singing in the Rain and the Theme from The Pink Panther amongst others. The grey-white shaven headed manâs face flows into flabby folds, lopsided and fleshy, on softly, seamlessly down into his neck which flows on into his body that parts and churns to the tributaries of his arms and onwards to his fingers from where his flesh transmutes through the music into airiness and out in to the night, transformed, as light now as can beâŠ George turns up.
No.16 : âEveryone has the right to be happy.â
No.17 : âEveryone has the right to be unhappy.â
No.18 : âEveryone has the right to be silent.â
I love Sibiu. The sun pulls the finest shades of pink, purple, yellow, egg shell blue, rusty red, orange and soft lime green from the building facades as I wonder circuitously around the back streets of old town that break away from 9th Mai and Faurului Streets completely addicted by now to taking âcolour and shapeâ photos of Sibiuâs cracked plaster building fascias. Running along the south easterly flank of the Old Town is a stretch of the old citadel walls punctuated by three of the old towers. A traditional blacksmith works operates in one and a carpenter in another.
I return to the Large Square to sit sweltering in the sun. Killing time ahead of another free concert that George has kindly drawn my attention to for the evening. A gypsy mother and teenage daughter sit on the bench next to me wearing the most iridescent, spectacular traditional costumes Iâve ever seen but itâs too rude to reach for the camera. Children keep running back and forth between their resting parents and a series of subterranean water fountains set in the centre of the square which erupt and gush with an irregularity of infinite excitement to their minds.
No.13 : âA cat is not obliged to love its master, but it must help him in difficult times.â
Iâm sat in The Sibiu Theatre. George said he might meet me here. But he doesnât. Heâs a dentist. Heâs busy. Itâs okay. itâs the opening performance of the Carl Filtsch Festival. A musical festival come competition for younger upcoming Romanian musicians that honours the memory of Carl Filtsch a child-genius pianist and composer born in this region of Romania whose life was tragically cut short at the age of 15 by an illness caught whilst touring in Venice.
A string quartet takes to the stage after the introductions and I recognise that itâs my friends from The Atrium the night before, where they clearly play of an evening by way of a practice and paying their way in Sibiu. The Intermezzo Quartet. They play their way pleasingly through some Shostakovich, Brahms and Scott Joplin amongst others, looking far more elegant in black dress, sat on the theatres stage than they had the night before. Yet more of Sibiuâs musical aura is seeping deeply into my bones and I am grateful and about to complete a full recovery from my recent, momentary travel blues.
The Lonely Plonkerâs Guide to Eastern Europe [see previous entries] had left me with no indication as to what a fabulous little treasure chest Sibiu was going to be.
No.15 : âEveryone has the right to doubt, but this is not a duty.â
No.3 : âEveryone has the right to die, but this is not a duty.â
âFor sure being a dentist must be one of the harder jobs aroundâŠ I mean all those years of training, ya know.â âYes, yes absolutely. It is rrreally, rrreally one of the top five most difficult jobs in the world. The knowledge, the technology you have to use, the steadiness and coorrrdination of yourrr hands.â George explains. âAnd having to deal with very nervous or even terrified, jittery patients?â.
And here I am. Prone. Maybe immobilised by fear.
No.39 : âDo not defeat.â
No.40 : âDo not fight back.â
No.41 : âDo not surrender.â
www.artistrepublic.net is the fledgling internet home of The Republic of Artists of Sibiu and Romania