Among the buildings nestled in the grounds of the basilica of St Nicolas in Brasov is one designated the ‘Tudor Ciortea Memorial House’. Ciortea (1903-78), a composer of music inspired by Transylvanian folksong, was born in Brasov and studied music there with Gheorghe Dima at the Romanian Gymnasium. He never in fact occupied the building, but in 1987 some of his personal effects were deposited there by his widow. Ciortea spent most of his life in Bucharest, where he taught for 30 years at the Conservatory; but his manuscripts and other papers are kept separately in Brasov, at the Archive of the Casa Memoriala Gheorghe Dima (Piata Sfatului 25).


In what was once two small rooms and a central hall the furniture and personal effects from Ciortea’s study and, perhaps, a sitting-room in his home are arranged, providing a brief glimpse of this relatively little-known composer. Particularly poignant is the desk, at which he was sitting when he died; on it are his glasses – broken when he fell on them – and the unfinished score of a sextet on which he was working. There are two keyboard instruments, an American harmonium and a small upright piano, an Edison Home Phonograph, Transylvanian pottery, a bust of Beethoven, bookcases full of musical scores and books about French and Romanian composers (he studied with Paul Dukas and Nadia Boulanger in Paris) as well as monu- ments of German and Romanian literature. On the walls are portraits of his mother (in Romanian costume), his wife, his daughter (the dancer Vera Proca-Ciortea) and himself; there is also an engraved portrait of Mozart.

Brasov also honours Ciortea with a chamber music festival named after him.

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