A region with many voices: The cultural diversity of Bukovina is particularly evident in its little-known music and singing culture – past and present. Twelve musical contributions provide an insight into the musical history of a multifaceted landscape on the northeastern edge of the Carpathians.
Location: Where and what is Bukovina?
Bukovina is a historical region in (south-)eastern Europe, which received its name towards the end of the 18th century. Previously part of the Principality of Moldavia, it became part of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1775 for almost 150 years, and from 1848 existed as an independent crown land. In Bukovina, numerous linguistic, ethnic, cultural and religious population groups lived side by side, with each other, but also against each other. Therefore, the region is also called "Europe in miniature". It takes its name from the West Slavic word for beech ("buk"), which is why it is also known in German as “Buchenland”. Today, the region belongs to two countries, inside and outside the European Union: Northern Bukovina belongs to the Ukrainian district of Černivci and is predominantly associated with the capital of the same name (known in German-speaking countries as
ron. Cernăuţi, deu. Czernowitz, heb. צֶ׳רנוֹבִיץ, heb. Tschernowitz, yid. טשערנאָװיץ, yid. Tschernowitz, rus. Черновцы, rus. Tschernowzy, ukr. Чернівці, deu. Tschernowitz

Chernivtsi (Ukra. Чернівці) is a large city in southwestern Ukraine. The city is located on the border with Romania and is widely considered to be the capital of the historic Bukovina region. Chernivtsi was an significant place of Jewish culture. In 2017 Chernivtsi had about 62,000 inhabitants.

Due to the war in Ukraine, it is possible that this information is no longer up to date.

. Southern Bukovina is located in the Romanian county of
and is best known for its Orthodox Moldavian monasteries, which are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Today, (historical) Bukovina is considered a multi-ethnic region par excellence, which in the course of its history has produced a rich and impressive cultural heritage. The literary life of the historical region has found its way into world literature, with such notable figures as Rose Ausländer (1901-1988), Paul Celan (1920-1970), Selma Merbaum-Eisinger (1924-1942) and Gregor von Rezzori (1914-1998). Until now, however, the musical diversity of Bukovina has received little attention. This is quite surprising, because it produced numerous excellent musicians who maintained close contacts with important musical centers such as
eng. Bucharest, deu. Bukarest

Bucharest is the capital of Romania and today has over 1.8 million inhabitants. In 1659 Bucharest replaced Târgoviște as the capital of the Principality of Wallachia. After the unification of the Danubian principalities (Moldavia and Wallachia) under Ion Cuza in 1861, Bucharest became the capital of Romania in 1862. Within a short time, it had become by far the largest city in the Southeast European region between Budapest and Istanbul. Under King Carol I. (1866-1914) Bucharest underwent urban planning changes following Western trends, with palaces, boulevards, parks, Art Nouveau villas and electric lighting. Towards the end of the 19th century, the city also developed into an industrial and financial center. In 1916, during World War I, it was occupied by the Central Powers, with whom a peace treaty was signed in 1918. Between 1936 and 1940, a Parisian-style boulevard was built in Bucharest, which also earned the city the nicknames "Micul Paris" ("Little Paris") or "Paris of the East." In World War II, after a brief period of neutrality, Romania sided with the Germans after General Ion Antonescu and the fascist "Iron Guard" turned Romania into a "national-legionary state." When Antonescu was arrested by King Mihai 1944, this resulted in air raids by the Germans, which destroyed large parts of Bucharest. In 1977, an earthquake caused widespread damage. Beginning in 1984, communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu had parts of the historic old city demolished in order to build a large socialist center, but this was never completed after his execution and the fall of the communist regime in 1989. Bucharest is now the seventh largest city in the EU, of which Romania has been a member since 2007.

, Vienna or Berlin.
This is an occasion for us to pay tribute to this much too little-known side of the region with twelve concert recordings, accompanied by short introductory texts on the work and the artists. These give an immediate experience of the music of Bukovina from the early 19th century to the present; the selection allows listeners to navigate and examine this musical culture up-close.
The musical contributions show a cross-section ranging from high culture to folk songs. Karol Mikuli (1819-1897), a pupil of Chopin, and the pianistic tradition he represented represents the former. At the other end of the spectrum, the folk song cultures of Bukovina are, on the one hand, identity-forming for certain groups of the population, and on the other hand they reflect parallels and connections to the musical tradition and practice of the different ethnocultural groups of the region.
Overarching and unifying characteristics and mutual influences of the different musical cultures become visible in the comparison of the composers and authors. These include the art songs of Ciprian Porumbescu (1853-1883), Georg Ritter von Onciul (1904-1982) and Carmen Petra Bascapol (*1926), who have a musical or lyrical relationship to Bukovina. A Celan poem set to music by the Englishman Michael Nyman (*1944) demonstrates the potency and impact of poets from Bukovina who also become a source of inspiration for musical works outside of Southeastern Europe.
Two songs once performed by the tenor Joseph Schmidt (1904-1942) were chosen to represent the history of Jewish experience in Bukovina, recalling his great successes both in opera and with a number of film hits. After Schmidt, who died as a persecuted Jew in a Swiss internment camp, the selection then leads to the Jewish lyricist Selma Merbaum-Eisinger (1924-1942), who perished in a Romanian forced labor camp in Transnistria. Two of her poems are presented as songs by the contemporary German composer Lutz Landwehr von Pragenau (*1963), whose parents came from Bukovina. Together with the two songs, a piano composition by Landwehr von Pragenau forms the contemporary conclusion of a musical journey in which the people, destinies and cultures of Bukovina are brought to life.
The music selection thus offers an exemplary spectrum spanning from folk to high culture of the (once) multi-ethnic region, from classical to popular music, and encompassing a range of different musical genres. It illustrates connections to the well-known, supra-regional currents in Europe up to the early 20th century, but also within Bukovina. Last but not least, the project takes a first step towards the creation of a "musical topography" of this important European cultural region.
The “(Nach-)Klänge der Bukowina“ (Sounds of Bukovina) were created in cooperation with the Cultural Officer for Transylvania at the Transylvanian Museum in Gundelsheim, the Bukovina Institute at the University of Augsburg, the Leopold Mozart Center at the University of Augsburg and the Jewish Museum Augsburg Swabia. The filming took place at the end of 2020 in the Former Kriegshaber Synagogue, which today belongs to the Jewish Museum Augsburg Swabia.
English translation: William Connor
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