Yolda / Onderweg / En route

Paolo Profeti, an Italian in Bucharest


Meeting Paolo Profeti in Bucharest

Meeting Paolo Profeti in Bucharest

Saturday November 1st, 10h00

Today on our programme: a meeting with Paolo Profeti, a local musician, who donates a song to the project. After a five minute ride Meriç and I wait in a recently renovated historic building on the border of the old town, i.e. what remained of the old town after Nicolae Ceauşescu. Paolo arrives five minutes later, by bike, which is not really common in this capital full of big avenues and drivers with a ‘distinct way of driving’.

Each group stops in a different city where they can rehearse further. For us this stop is Bucharest. We start by repeating an already rehearsed number. Paolo listens attentively. “I am very curious about the music they play and how it relates to the music that I have with me.” He lets this slip before the musicians set in. How Paolo from Italy landed in Bucharest? Love, of course.

The Italian turns out to be a well-traveled man. The song he brought was written in Istanbul based on the experiences he gained there. Scores are distributed. Clarinet, check. Kemençe should work. For the viola da gamba some adjustments are needed. The harp appears to be a different type than he had envisioned. No problem: a part of the score is rewritten on the spot.

Just when you’re starting to think it’s going to be a tough morning, everything comes together nicely. Each instrument will have its solo moment and because of that the kemençe can be played a semitone higher and that way Meriç gets the chance to re-tune her harp for the solo, one minute later. Meriç improvises an intro; Paolo looks as if he has seen the light, gesticulating enthusiastically to our cameraman. Perhaps to the final version an extra improvised vocal part will be added. He says he has the feeling that the musicians really understand the document and that it is up to them now.

I sincerely look forward to the end result in Ghent. Our last to do before lunch: an interview with Paolo about our collaboration. Mathijs films. Mattias, Dirk and I ask the questions. Paolo replied very inspired, in English, Italian and French. Truly fantastic to hear. More European than this it simply doesn’t get.

Text written by Jasper Persoons, production assistant at Handelsbeurs Concertzaal