Anton Pann (1796-1854) is unique among the composers who appear in this book: although trained in music, a writer of psalms and a collector of folk music, he was primarily a printer and publisher; he founded the first printing shop in Bucharest to publish church music with vernacular texts. But he is commemorated in Romania for having set a poem by Andre Muresianu, ‘Awake, Romanians!’ (‘Defteapta-Te Romane’), which became the Romanian national anthem.

PANN MUSEUM Photo Gallery

‘Awake, Romanians!’ was first sung in public not in Bucharest, but in Ramnicu Valcea, on 29 July 1848. An important fortified spa town and the seat of its county, Ramnicu Valcea, in a hilly region 99 km south of picturesque Sibiu, had been a centre of papermaking and publishing since the 17th century. Pann had two spells there, from 1826 to 1828 and from 1835 to 1837, each time renting rooms in a house which, some 150 years later, became a place of national pilgrimage. When the neighbourhood was redeveloped, the house was moved; it is now the lone 18th-century house in the street, its whiteness and dark brown ornamental wood trim and wood-shingle roof sharply contrasting with the drab modern high-rise buildings and the shops around it. The upstairs was opened in 1982 as a memorial to Pann, with two rooms re-creating the ambience of his library (filled with books and musical instruments) and dining-room (decorated with 19th-century folk pottery and hanging herbs) and the third devoted to the anthem and the 1996 bicentenary celebrations of Pann’s birth; in the hallway hang an oil portrait and a view of the house in its original setting. The ground floor appropriately houses a publisher’s bookshop and outside there is a memorial, fez-topped bust of Pann.

Pann visited Brasov on three occasions between 1821 and 1828 and he is commemorated there at the First Romanian School Museum. One of the ground-floor rooms is known as the Sala de clasaa ‘Anton Pann’ and the museum archive contains some of his correspondence.

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