Review by Christos T. Panagopoulos –
Maria Tanase, born in 1913, in Bucharest, had her debut at “Carabus” musical theater (1934) and, in the same year, she recorded “The attic”, a romantic song by Nello Manzatti at “Lifa Record” House, this being the artist’s first. Two years later, she recorded two other popular songs titled “The one who loves and leaves” and “I swore a thousand times”, under the supervision of ethnomusicologists Constantin Brailoiu Harry Brauner.
She had her debut at Radio Bucharest on February 20, 1938, accompanied by the folk band of Ion Matache from Arges, and aired a program of Romanian popular songs at the radio show “Village hour” : “I swore a thousands times”, “Seven weeks of lent”, “What is sweeter than the candy” , “Who loves and leaves”, “I still go home in vain”, “Marie and Marioara”, “Gypsy dance”, “When my death comes”.
Also she made her debut at the Alhambra Theatre ( September 1938 ). In November 1938, she signed a contract with “Dory—Park” restaurant later known as “Neptune”, also singing on “Luxandra” and “Luther Park” restaurants stages.
She presented Romanian music concerts for the Red Cross. Maria Tanase was appointed to represent the Romanian folk song at the Universal Exhibition in New York ( May 1939 ).
She toured Italy, in Rome and Milan, then, in March 1941, Turkey , where she sang at “Melody Revue” music theater in Istanbul.
As well, she played on the National Theatre stage in “The corpse alive” by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy ( 1945) and “Horia” by Mihail Davidoglu (1956), and sang in several films, operettas, also holding the major role in the “The Sphinx of Hollywood” musical by Ralph Benatzky (1946 ).
In 1952 she began to teach at the High School of Music no. 1 in Bucharest, where a special chair was created for her.
In 1953 Maria Tanase launched songs as “My songs are dear to me” and ” Last night the wind was blowing”, on the occasion of the Fourth World Festival of Youth and Students organized in Bucharest .
Starting with 1954, she recorded at the Radio and the Electrecord House (in 1958 ) four Romanian folk songs translated and adapted into French by Nicole Sachelarie, the artist’s sister-in-law: “Doina of Dolj”, “La Malediction d’ amour”, “Danse Montagnard”, “Tiens , tiens , tiens et na”. They were printed on a small Electrecord disc (EPC 138) , and later included, along with other artist’s songs in Romanian language, on a disc released in collaboration with French “Le Chant du Monde” House, disc awarded in 1965 with the “Grand prix du disque” by “Charles Cros” Academy in Paris.
She received several state awards and distinctions.
In 1963 she was admitted to the Cancer Hospital in Bucharest with lung cancer. Made her will for the posterity under the title of “The woman, if” verse immortalized in the manuscript page. Died on June 22, 1963 .
Throughout her career, Maria Tanase was dubbed as the ” Nightingale “, ” Skylark “, ” Evening star “, ” Ambassador of our folk song “, ” Queen of the Romanian song “, ” Star “, ” Princess of the Romanian lyrical feelings and of the Romanian song ” or ” Maria of songs ” and ” Magic Bird ” .
Also worth reminding from her Repertoire consisting of 400 songs from all the regions of the country: “Sour grapes”, “I have a lover in Mizil”, “I loved and I will further love”, ” Last night I got you a scarf”, “Last night the wind was blowing”, “I would sigh to let the fire out”, “I dreamed of you last night”, “Dear, from our love”, “Old age , heavy clothes”, “Rosy wine is good”, “My wine flask”, “World, world” etc.