Alexandru Flechtenmacher

Important promotor and supporter of Romanian folklore as part of art music, Alexandru Flechtenmacher is one of the first local composers to have valorised national elements in their own oeuvre at a time when Iaşi and Bucharest social elite audiences only favoured those great works of the international repertoire.

Alexandru Adolf Flechtenmacher was born on December 23, 1823 in Iaşi, where he also began his music studies. Aged 14, he left for Austria, to train with great violin pedagogue Joseph Böhm at the Vienna Conservatory. Violinist in the orchestra of the Iaşi French Lyrical Company from 1834, first violinist of the Maria Therese Frisch Theatrical Company between 1842 and 1843, Alexandru Flechtenmacher also enjoyed a solo career that took him both across Romania and overseas. Later turning to conducting with the national theatres in Iaşi and Craiova, he also taught violin and cello at the Aşezământul horal in Bucharest, an institute training church psalters founded and led by archimandrite Vissarion. Beginning in 1864 Flechtenmacher was appointed violin teacher and principal – the first to hold this position – of the newly-founded Conservatory of Music and Declamation in Bucharest (today’s National University of Music), many of his students (Edward Wachmann, Robert Klenck, Constantin Dimitrescu and Constantin Idieru) in their turn becoming influential figures in local musical culture.

The first Romanian to compose an operetta – Baba Hârca [The Witch Hârca], completed in 1848 and premiered in Iaşi at the end of the same year –Alexandru Flechtenmacher was also the creator of the Romanian vaudeville, a much-loved genre at the time. He wrote the opera Fata de la Cozia [Cozia Girl] in addition to a number of chamber music works, choral and vocal pieces, characterized by lyrical, flowing, accessible tunes, often influenced by the Romanian folklore. By moulding national sonic tradition into classical forms, Flechtenmacher made an essential contribution to the development and evolution of modern Romanian music at the end of the 19th century. As such, Uvertura naţională moldavă [National Moldavian Overture], written only two years prior to the Revolution of 1848 of which he was an active member, is one of the best examples of Romanian orchestral music.

Alexandru Flechtenmacher died in Bucharest on January 28, 1989, aged 75.

Ioana Marghita