George Enescu

George Enescu

This paper is mainly based on documents of the former Secret Police referring to George Enescu, now held by the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives (CNSAS). They show that the Romanian communist authorities were bent on persuading Enescu to return to his homeland. George Enescu was followed through various means in order to influence him and to find out his intentions: opening and photographing letters sent to or received from Romania, recruiting agents amongst his company, monitoring those close to him and intercepting their correspondence (i.e. letters exchanged by Corneliu Bediţeanu and Romeo Drăghici). Staff at the legation of the Romanian People's Republic were informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest or even the Council of Ministers about conversations with George and Maria Enescu, about their life style in Paris and, in particular, about their possible plans to return to Romania.

George Enescu left Romania in September 1946. Formally he was departing for a series of concerts in the US and Canada. In fact, he was going into exile. Although unanimously recognized as the most representative Romanian musician, he felt threatened by changes brought about by the new regime to the social and cultural life of the country. Though Romania had lived through authoritarian regimes in the first half of the20th century - under King Carol II and under the war-time leader Ion Antonescu (in particular during his brief cohabitation with the Iron Guard) - there had never been such an aggressive political interference in the cultural field. Thus, on the Soviet model, free speech was to be curtailed and art was only to be used for propaganda purposes. Enescu kept a wary eye on such events as the closure of pre-war parties newspapers, or the land reform which was to personally affect him. If his brilliant musical career could have conferred him some protection, it is unlikely it would have kept safe from harm his wife Maria (Maruca) Cantacuzino Enescu, who was ostentatiously flaunting a questionable title of Princess.1

Enescu was targeted by the communist authorities from the moment they took control of the country. They were trying to use him and other prominent figures in order to consolidate their image amongst the public and in particular abroad. To begin with, Enescu was perceived as being accommodating to the new masters of the country. He did not turn down the offer to be part of the ARLUS2 leadership - whereby on 25th November 1944 he was elected "chairman of the musical section of the ARLUS general council". And he agreed to undertake a series of concerts in Moscow, on 20-23 April 1946. From its beginning ARLUS was adhered to by prominent intellectuals and academics, some leftists, others believing they could have a positive influence on relations with the Soviet Union. Enescu had no strong political views and was considered to be only interested in music. It is difficult to assess his actions only on the basis of documents of the time.

This is probably the main reasonwhy, in April 1946, he agreed to undertake a series of concerts in Moscow. He admired the Music of Prokofiev and Shostakovich, and enjoyed playing along such great performers as David Oistrakh, Lev Oborin, Emil Gilels and Daniil Shafran.
But Enescu had made up his mind. In September 1946 the Enescus boarded a US bound ship in Constantza. The regime remained bent on using Enescu's name. The composer appeared on the list of candidates for the Bloc of Democratic Parties in the November parliamentary election. This too was commented upon.
In the George Enescu file of the Romanian Counter-Intelligence Service (SIE)3 there are two documents referring to Enescu's supposed acceptance to be a candidate in his native Dorohoi county. The documents were sent by the Diplomatic Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest to the general secretary of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (i.e. the government), Emil Bodnăraş. Both bear the same date, 27 October 1946, and the same number, 49447.

The first one carries a statement by George Enescu:
"...I hereby declare that I accept the decision made by the Bloc of Democratic Parties in Romania and agree to be a separate candidate in the parliamentary election of November 1946, on the list of the Bloc of Democratic Parties in Dorohoi county." Dos. S.I.E. nr. 5483, C.N.S.A.S.4

The second document carries a different statement and does not explain why Enescu insisted on it to be conveyed:
"Mr General Secretary,
Further to my note No. 49447 of 27 October, I have the honour to inform you on the basis of the telegram of our Washington Legation no. 149 of 25 October 1946, that the Maestro George Enescu asked the above named diplomatic office to send you the following statement, written and signed by him.
"As an homage for H.M. King Michael 1st and as a sign of love for our peasantry, I accept to appear on the non-party list of intellectual MPs. I stress the fact that I am not into politics and that I do not undertake any political commitment. Long live the Country and the King!"
Signed George Enescu".
This statement was made in two copies with no authentication. On behalf of the Foreign Affairs Minister
V. Brabetzianu
Plenipotentiary Minister General Secretary." Dos. S.I.E. nr. 5483, C.N.S.A.S.5

What could have prompted George Enescu to insist that the second statement should be cabled? Had the homage to King Michael and to the peasantry been taken out from the initial text in the form authenticated by the Romanian Legation in Washington? Was Enescu aware of this and unhappy with the changes? We cannot be sure. Most likely, even if he was not to return to his homeland, he wanted a document bearing his signature to record his thoughts expressing attachment to king and country.

Despite Enescu's prudence, his candidacy and his subsequent election to the Grand National Assembly were used by the communist propaganda. The general public was not to know the terms set by Enescu for nominally becoming an MP. By having agreed to this status, the ruling party could show that yet another intellectual with an outstanding career was backing its policies. This supposed triumph had to be converted into something palpable: Enescu had to be persuaded by all means to return home.

The 1st Directorate of the Securitate was given the task of penetrating Enescu's close circle in order to find out whether he intended to return to Romania and - if necessary - to persuade him to do so.

Meanwhile, in his home country, Enescu - like other Romanian composers - was criticised in highbrow magazines which had been turned into propaganda tools. Their compositions were supposed to suffer from "cosmopolitism", to lack "ideological commitment" and to be remote from the "popular masses"6. Further to "10th of February 1948 resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union concerning the problems of music", even a piece like Au Soir for four trumpets was criticised by the communist composer Mauriciu Vescan in the Flacăra magazine7. Yet, for the sake of their image, the authorities granted him in 1947 a medal for "Devoted Service" and, in August 1948, elevated him to the Academy of the Romanian People's Republic. Even more surprisingly, on 25 September 1947, Enescu was re-elected president of the Society of Romanian Composers at their general assembly 8. Admittedly, his friend Mihail Jora, the vice-president of the society, played an essential part in the re-election. Enescu formally remained president until the country-wide composers' conference of 21-22 October 1949, which sealed the transformation of the Society into the Composers' Union of the Romanian People's Republic. The objective was clear. No leading Romanian composer was elected to the presidium of the new association. The membership did not include representative figures such as George Enescu, Mihail Jora, Dinu Lipatti, Constantin Brăiloiu, Ionel Perlea, Marcel Mihalovici, Stan Golestan and Tiberiu Brediceanu.

With Enescu settled in Paris, the Securitate, made several attempts starting in 1951 to assess his character and that of Maria Cantacuzino Enescu, his wife, as well as their standard of living. His heart condition had worsened and he was prevented from playing in concerts, conducting and even teaching. But the main priorities of the Directorate were to penetrate Enescu's close circle of friends, identify those who could be persuaded to pass on information about him and judge their capacity to influence him9. This emerges from a document referring to George Enescu filed in the surveillance dossier of Romeo Drăghici10. Drăghici had been a friend and Enescu's secretary in Romania who subsequently became an informer of the Securitate. As such, he was himself kept under surveillance, hence the above-mentioned dossier. The document, dated 6 July 195111, was drafted following a conversation with "Sergiu". It listed the key players to be used in order to persuade Enescu to resettle in Romania.

First, Corneliu Bediţeanu, private secretary and impresario, who had accompanied Enescu in exile, and Romeo Drăghici. Drăghici, who had stayed behind, was singular amongst Enescu's close friends to have tried to endear himself with the new regime by joining the Communist Party in 1945, and by publishing in 1947, a stodgy brochure12 about the benefits of the currency reform (Stabilizarea din 1947)13.
Then, a woman codenamed "Lucia"14 in fact Ninetta Shapira, daughter of the pianist Margareta (Ghitta) Shapira,(Cosma, 1981:412) sister of Sergiu Shapira, a doctor at the Colentina Hospital in Bucharest15, the Sergiu referred to in the document. The document stresses that ..."Lucia spends most of her day at the Enescu's, being treated by him and Maruca as an adopted daughter".

The 6 July 1951 note described the unassuming conditions in which the Enescus lived. It also listed and portrayed the closest friends of the family living in Romania: Florica Muzicescu, Mihail Andricu - related to Maruca, Mihail Jora - related through his parents to both the Enescus. As far as Jora was concerned, it is stressed that "for the moment he gives private lessons and does not live comfortably". "Reinstating him would favourably influence Enescu and his wife". Reference is also made to Maruca's friends and relatives who "had grown poor", did no longer own land or houses, or were imprisoned (Cancicov16, Atta Constantinescu17, etc.)".

Enescu's complaints that the composition prize he had set up 30 years earlier was not being granted anymore are recorded in the document. Likewise, the fact that nothing had been done with the Luminiş villa, in Sinaia, he had bequested to be used as a retreat for musicians. But he was most unhappy and saddened by the neglect of Maruca's parental home in Tescani, which she had donated to the state only to be devastated and have the furniture and the library plundered.

The conclusion of the note is most revealing:
"In view of Enescu's international prestige, his return home would be a great success for our regime (...). Bringing him back, indeed, would mean a political triumph, which would constitute a blow to the Romanian reactionaries abroad and even beyond. (...) Enescu will be 70 in August and it would be imperative to officially celebrate him in our country (possibly a concert of Enescu's music, telegrams from the Composers' Union , maybe from higher fora, etc.). (...) It would be important if he could come back at the end of September for the international week of Romanian music which will take place then. A number of foreign musicians will participate18. (...). As comrade Lăzăreanu, the head of our diplomatic mission in Paris, has already been in contact with Enescu, we believe he would be best placed to deal with this case." Dos. S.I.E. nr. 5483, C.N.S.A.S.

In his cable to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs19 A. Lăzăreanu reported that he had established contact with Enescu, being tasked "to attempt to convice him to return to his homeland. (...) Everytime I visited (between April and November 1951 I have been to their place four times) I discussed separately with Enescu and his wife. It emerged that he - and in particular she - would have liked to make a visit to the country, but feared they would not be allowed to leave again." In their apprehension to give a clear answer both the Enescus procrastinated. Maruca did not miss the opportunity to refer to their tour in the USSR, the last one undertaken while they were still living in Romania or to praise the then foreign minister, Ana Pauker by saying: "We are sure that if Mrs. Pauker promises to allow the Maestro to leave again, she is determined to keep her word. But what if she cannot do that? What happens if she receives ‘orders from above?"20

The Romanian diplomat offered his own explanation:
"They are both living in a totally reactionary environment. First, the relatives and friends of Maruca Enescu, all of them refugees, traitors (foremost her son from her first marriage, the pilot Bâzu Cantacuzino) were not only filling them in on what their press and the French one had been saying about our country, but also reproaching them for their links with the legation, of which they had heard from no other than the Enescu family. (...) According to his wife, even his doctor is warning him on all occasions not to travel to the Romania People's Republic. During my second visit, in spring 1951, before travelling to Romania, Enescu had asked me to bring over some musical scores he kept in his houses in Bucharest and Sinaia which he needed for his compositions. His wife had asked for some family photos. All these requests were included in a letter to a friend, the lawyer Drăghici. As instructed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I handed the letter to Drăghici21 and on my return I personally took the photographs (see Fig. 1) to Enescu together with a letter from Drăghici and another from the composer Andricu22 (a cousin of Enescu's wife). In both letters Enescu was asked to return home. The scores, however, were entrusted by Drăghici to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and were not handed over to Enescu, despite his repeated pleas. (The reason seemed to be that these scores were valuable, percisely because they were Enescu's manuscripts)." Dos. S.I.E. nr. 5483, C.N.S.A.S.

In his enthusiastic reply23, Romeo Drăghici describes the "social changes" which had "shaken the world" and which "cannot be pushed back no matter how much people over there were trying to stop them". He then talks about "everybody" awaiting Enescu's return, listing the musicians Andricu, Silvestri, Alfred Mendelshon, Rogalski, Klepper, Valentin Gheorghiu. Mihail Andricu's letter24 to his cousin Maruca but also to Enescu is more nuanced. "I am not amongst those who believe a war is more or less iminent" he wrote. He referres in coded language to common friends or relatives such as Mihail Jora whom he admires because "his music is being performed, his works will soon be published and the justified estime in which he is held is not due to any concession." But Andricu, too, urges Enescu: "For God's sake be prudent and spare a thought to those who cherish your life. From this point of view, surely a stint in Sinaia would be life-saving, at the same time allowing you to busy yourself with composition."

Not only could Enescu not bring himself to travel to Romania, even more so as the news from his country were far from encouraging, but for a while he was not even willing to have contacts with the Romanian authorities. He was not collecting the money from royalties and his indemnity from the Academy sent at some point to the Romanian Legation in Paris. He felt any gesture could have been interpreted as moving closer to or confering legitimacy to the Bucharest regime and could have become a matter of dispute within the Romanian diaspora in Paris, by now split into two camps: the so-called "democratic colony" and the "reactionary" emigrees. Yet, as Enescu was prevented from playing due to his illness, his finances suffered. The money he was entitled to could have helped, especially as under the copyright laws of Romania frequently played composers were able to live fairly confortably. As part of the regime's efforts to court Enescu, the Composers' Union had not withheld his royalties. In 1953, at a time when the mood at the Union was tense and its relation with Enescu unclear, it emerged that the administrative director, Alexandru Szekely, "had withdrawn 100,000 lei in royalties due to George Enescu, a sum which was to be sent to Paris." The following investigation showed "the money were not sent" and Szekely "had not even been mandated" by Enescu.

A "top secret" note25 of Romania's Minister in Paris, Ion Drănceanu, who - likewise his predecesor - had been tasked to meet Enescu, describes the composer's precarious financial situation. Their meeting took place following a strange misunderstanding which had caused a courteous letter addressed by Prime Minister Petru Groza to Enescu in November 1953 to be delivered several months later. And this only after Romeo Drăghici, on learning that the letter had not reached Enescu, stirred up matters in Bucharest. Drăghici, who had access to Groza, alerted the Prime Minister who then asked the Foreign Minister, Simion Bughici, to order his man in Paris to "personally" deliver the letter to Enescu26. Drănceanu reports that he had heard through Margareta Lavrilliere (nee Cosăceanu)27 who had been visited by Maruca, that "they were happy" with the letter from Groza. Enescu, indeed, had replied by post and not through the Legation, referring to his health problems which prevented him from returning to Romania. (Cosma, 1981:410).

Drănceanu describes Enescu's living conditions, the two"narrow" and cold rooms of his appartment which had "no kitchen", where the piano he was continuously playing when not ill, did not leave room for a table. He relates: "While I was telling about things available in our country to scientists, artists and musicians, tears were running on Enescu's cheek."
Although moved, Enescu raised two questions which had been on his mind. First, the whereabouts of Maruca's granddaughter, Maria Ioana Cantacuzino28 a secondary school student who had been detained and sentenced to four years imprisonement for plotting and for subversive actions against the state. She had distributed anti-communist manifestos. Minister Drănceanu stated that he does not believe "his granddaughter's detention matched reality". Secondly, the fate of the music scores for his Third Simphony and his Second Suite for Orchestra which, in 1951, had been handed by Romeo Drăghici to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and had not yet reached him.

Drănceanu's report also reveals Bediţeanu, whom he had met at the Enescus', visited on several occasions the Legation and discussed various matters, promissing that he will persuade Enescu to collect his royalties sent from Romania. He had also asked for a meeting with the Head of mission in order to communicate that the Maestro "gave his consent for his works to be collected in an "Enescu Museum", if the Romanian government were in agreement". This piece of news emboldened the authorities to renew their efforts to lure Enescu back. A "top secret" note of 3 July 195429 signed by Major-General Vasile Vîlcu, Head of the 1st Directorate for foreign intelligence in the General Direction of the State Security (D.G.S.S.)30, stresses the need to influence Enescu's close circle in order to persuade him to return to Romania. Contact is sought with Corneliu Bediţeanu not only at "his residence in Paris"31, but also by the Commercial Office at the Legation of the Romanian People's Republic32. Knowing that before the war Bediţeanu had been the Bucharest representative of the pharmaceutical company Sandoz, the Office asked him to intermediate an order for antibiotics for a commission estimated at 300,000 francs.

By collaborating with "our agent Lucia" - advises Gen. Vasile Vîlcu - "we can directly launch a coordinated and resolute action". The fact that on 21 June 1954 Bediţeanu brought to the Legation a first consignment of objects and photographs for the Enescu Museum was seen as a great victory. "Another ten suitcases will follow" concluded General Vîlcu. The hand-written notes in the margin of his text are, nevertheless, revealing. The one against the names of Bediţeanu, "Lucia" and Lavrilliere says "we should not count on them". Whilst against the names of those in Romania who were supposed to influence Enescu, a note specifies: "Jora and in particular Andricu basically hindered his return"33.

Yet Enescu's moves did no go unnoticed amongst his compatriots in Paris. Events took a dramatic turn, undoubtedly affecting Enescu's health. To quote from Vîlcu's report "pressure and threats against Enescu started immediately, in particular through (George) Răutu34, one of his acquaintances. The reactionaries' magazine announced Enescu had left for Romania. Leaders of the Diaspora again tried to secure statements against us from Enescu. The French police threatened Enescu with the withdrawal of his residential status in France."

A letter from Bediţeanu to Drăghici, dated 2 August 1954, intercepted by the Securitate, completes the picture. In July Enescu had suffered a stroke and was half paralysed35 Bediţeanu claimed Enescu "was very well looked after, by two (day and night) nurses, good food, total calm (you will see why). I wrote to you from Basel what happened after my departure, the way Georgică Răutu and Ninette went to see him and extracted his signature for the SALABERT concession. Mistress Maruca had a hard time. (...) She is badly changed, she is very angry, or - better said - she was, because, as you know her, she did not allow herself to be defeated by their dishonesty and dismissed them for real. (...) That is why I said the Maestro is completely quiet. Moreover, he is aware that his signature was stolen and is furious with Răutu and Ninette, ostensibly showing his feelings (...)".Dos. S.I.E. nr. 5483, C.N.S.A.S.

Bediţeanu then tells Drăghici what to do with the money from royalties and from the Academy which were held by the Romanian Legation. "They should neither be returned nor refused, the Maestro personally told me that he is not intent on refusing them. For the time being he does not touch them. But I am convinced that in a couple of months Răutu's and Ninette's scheme will collapse and then, if these sums are not available, things will take a dramatic turn." The scheme Bediţeanu referred to was an initiative by Răutu and Ninette Shapira to set up "an anonymous committee which would fund the cost of the medical care for the Maestro while letting the Mistress die of starvation", as he put it. The committee included Yehudi Menuhin, dr.Pautrier, but also Salabert (most likely Salabert's wife who was of Romanian stock), whose publishing house had secured the contract for publishing Enescu's works.

In Enescu's dossier at the Securitate there are two documents referring to the agreement. The contract dated 30 June 195336, signed by Enescu, and its translation into Romanian, and a short document of 10 March 1952, cancelling a will drafted by Enescu in 1951 and appointing Maria Enescu as his "sole legatee". At the end of this second document, also signed by Enescu, there is another signature, that of Ninetta Shapira, with her code-name "Lucia" added in brackets by the Securitate French to Romanian translator.

The Bucharest authorities were also interested in Enescu's will. In a note dated 19 October 1954 an informer code-named "Michel" reported:
"On visiting me, Bediţeanu, whom I had told we wanted to obtain a will, brought me Enescu's original wills, which I photocopied without his knowledge. I also photocopied Enescu's contract with the Salabert publishing house which held nearly total rights on the Maestro's compositions. One of the clauses in this contract stipulates that it can be cancelled by denunciation, something I will try to do, if I manage a codicil to the will, thus giving a chance to one of our publishing houses to negotiate directly with Enescu, who is completely constrained by his contract with Salabert." Dos. S.I.E. nr. 5483, C.N.S.A.S.37

In fact, possibly by sheer coincidence, a letter from the State Publishing House for Arts and Literature was attached to the one sent by Drăghici to Bediţeanu. The director of the publishing house was offering Enescu, to begin with, the publication of the Second Suite (the one Enescu had been trying to recover ever since 1951), "the score of which was in the custody of the State Philharmonic in Bucharest, or any other work you would like to suggest."38 The letter contains a long list of rates per bar and the percentage to be added depending of the number of copies printed.

Enescu's care and the household's expenditure could not be covered only from publishing. Bediţeanu began to make enquiries in view of selling Enescu's violins as it was clear that the Maestro would never play again. The correspondence between Drăghici and Bediţeanu39 reveals that the latter was trying to sell a Paul Kaul violin, for which he had been offered 1,200,000 French francs. Bediţeanu encourages Drăghici to ask the Ministry of Culture in Bucharest to offer 300,000 francs more. As for the future Enescu Museum, Drăghici is told that he will receive "concert reviews and programmes and various important documents" linked to Enescu's career.

Meanwhile Enescu seemed happy to have moved from his small flat to Hotel Attala, in "a nice and spacious apartment"40, as Bediţeanu relates to Drăghici. His health improved and he was hoping to alleviate his paralysis. He was even practicing calligraphy in order to get used to writing again. Enescu received an medal from the Schroder Foundation and the Composers' Association awarded him the Paganini Prize.

Bediţeanu, though, was not faring well in his attempts to sell Enescu's violins. Thus on 24 November 1954 he writes to Drăghici41.
"I am surprised by your letter in which you let me know that you had asked 2,500,000 frs for the Hell and Kaul violins. And that the figure was accepted and the money sent over here. I fully understand why you upped the price and I agree with you. I am sure you thought about the Maestro, for him to receive something substantial, and you were right about it. But when I went to see those who are over here, they did not tell me this sum had arrived. Instead they let me mention the sum I know I had written to you about, that is the sum of 1,200,000 frs. offered by the Swiss, which I had asked you to up by 300,000. So I told them 1,500,000. Today I learn from your letter that I should have collected 2,500,000 for the violins, plus the sum available at the Legation which you had sent out representing royalties he was owed (a sum for which I also have Mişucă's42 confirmation). So these chaps here (the R.P.R. Legation in Paris)43 misled me and so got two violins for 1,500,000 fr. Instead of 2,500,000. At least, this is what I understand form your letter (...)44. .Dos. S.I.E. nr. 5483, C.N.S.A.S.

With events in Enescu's life now unfolding at some speed, Bediţeanu and Drăghici exchange letters with greater frequency. On 2 February 1955 Maria Ioana Cantacuzino is freed from prison at the behest of Prime Minister Petru Groza and Culture Minister Constanţa Crăciun45 Drăghici rang Enescu in Paris to give him the news. One month later, on 24 March 195546, Bediţeanu reports that his passport had been confiscated as a result of a complaint lodged with the French Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prefecture. Moreover, following a DST47 raid, Enescu's and Maruca's passports were also taken away. This event is also referred to in a Securitate note, signed "Lungu"48. It says that the husband of Alice Cantacuzino (Maruca' daughter from her first marriage), Col. Ion Lupoaia, had informed the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the DST that Enescu was about to leave for the Romanian People's Republic. Bediţeanu's plan to have Enescu hospitalise in Prof, Niehans's clinic in Vevey, had been interpreted as a secret plot to bring Enescu and Maruca back to Romania. The same "Lungu" reported that the paper work involved "had been signed by Lupoaia, his wife and Bâzu Cantacuzino". Not for the first time Maruca was at odds with her children. In the ‘30s family conflicts had led to such a worsening of her psychic disorders that she had been placed under the tutelage of a family council. Maruca spent a year in a sanatorium in Austria before being allowed to marry Enescu in 1937.

A member of the council pleaded with her son Bâzu to ask the court to lift the tutelage before term. A refusal, the letter reads:
"would gratuitously offend the very man, who - with no other interest whatsoever and out of an exceptionally noble feeling - wishes this day to offer his support and protection to the sick woman he had loved as a healthy one." National Archives of Romania - Fond 1045, vol. 45849.

This time the renewed conflict between Maruca and her children was to have a serious effect on Enescu's health. Bediţeanu related in a letter to Drăghici50 that, as a consequence of the absurd police raid, Enescu suffered a major fit which lasted for two hours and that the doctors diagnosed "a new burst in his brain". He adds that Enescu had written a letter to the President of France, Rene Coty, complaining about the fact that his passport and that of Maruca had been taken away.

Enescu was not to leave Paris again as his health rapidly deteriorated. He died on 3-4 May 1955. The Bucharest government wanted him to be buried in Romania. Even his funeral could have been exploited to the regime's advantage. The transcript of a telephone conversation51 between Drăghici and Bediţeanu described the separate ceremonies held in Romania and France. Speeches were made in Bucharest with government ministers in attendance. Jora's funeral oration had the assistance standing up at the Athenaeum concert hall. In Paris, Maruca could not overcome her grief but neither her political bitterness and did not acknowledge the official messages expressing condolences. Drăghici tried to persuade her through Bediţeanu to authorize Enescu's burial in Romania. He stressed the gestures of appreciation made by the authorities towards Enescu in the last few years. He even claimed that "George Enescu's widow would be very much welcomed in Romania, if only a gesture from her would be forthcoming". "I mean a gesture from you people directly towards those here, directly towards the PRESIDENT 52, towards this administration...". Bediţeanu avoided giving a clear answer. As Enescu did not specify in his will the place he wanted to be buried, Maruca, his sole legatee, decided to have him interred in Paris, at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery where he still lies to this day.

Enescu's last few years were the most difficult and tragic ones of his life. His age, and in particular his illness, forced him to cut down on composition and performing in concert halls. He only composed four works while living in exile53. He wanted to review some earlier works, amongst them his 3rd Symphony and 2nd Suite and he asked for the scores to be sent to him from Romania. He sought the help of his friend, the composer Marcel Mihalovici, presumably as he wasn't anymore confident in his own strength. Unable to be as active as he used to be in the musical field, he ran into financial problems and became dependant on those close to him. The Securitate knew the situation and used various means to persuade him to return to Romania for the sake of the country's image. To this purpose his close associates and their possible vulnerabilities were carefully assessed. Their business interests were not neglected. There are ambiguities not easy to disentangle.

As far as Romeo Drăghici, knowing what had happened to Jora, Andricu, Alfred Alessandrescu and others, did he sincerely believe Enescu's repatriation would have been good for the Maestro? Drăghici was a crafty operator who had been of help to the authorities years before he became an agent of the Securitate54 with proper papers and a code-name. He was boasting about his friendship with Petru Groza and Constanţa Crăciun which was probably real. He enjoyed many favours: a special pension from the Ministry of Culture, foreign trips with no problems in securing exit visas etc.. Yet his dedication to Enescu's memory cannot be denied. Neither can his efforts to establish the Enescu Museum.

Corneliu Bediţeanu, too, played a clever game in his contacts with the Romanian authorities. He benefited financially from this relationship. He explicitly asked Drăghici to lobby Romanian leaders on his behalf so that he could act as an intermediary in exportation:
"It would be helpful if you could explain to the president what I want and intend both for them and for you, and that he in turn should have a word with the minister; otherwise, in view of how things come to a dead end for them, and with no possibility to support myself, I would sink. If I do not have their support, in particular that of the commercial attaché, it would be preferable for me to return to Basel, and this as soon as possible. (...) They should give me preference in the export business at the same prices and on the same terms as foreigners. I give you my word that all I would earn would go towards a reserve for the Maestro and Maruca55." The Securitate, having intercepted the letter, draws the following conclusion: "bearing in mind Bediţeanu's status in Enescu's close circle and his influence on Maruca, comrade FIRU should use BEDIŢEANU for the action plan. To this purpose, comrade FIRU should call BEDIŢEANU to find out the latest on ENESCU and, in order to make him dependent on us, promise him he would get "serious" business opportunities from which he would stand to earn a lot." Dos. S.I.E. nr.5483, C.N.S.A.S.56.

At the same time Bediţeanu is the one Enescu and Maruca turned to whenever they ran into trouble. Sometimes, when Enescu's health took a serious turn to the worse, they would call him in the middle of the night.

The letters exchanged by Bediţeanu and Drăghici seem to have been written for those who were intercepting them. They are fascinating as a record of events and for the details they provide. The way their relationship developed is noteworthy. Beyond their contribution to Enescu's wellbeing and promotion, they realised they could benefit from each other's position and accordingly rendered each other services. Bediţeanu was sending Drăghici medicine not to be found in Romania and asked him to offer protection to his nephew (his sister's son) who was embarking on a conducting career57.

"Encourage my sister and take my nephew under your wing. He is full of merits and will bring you honour and to me joy in my old days. (...) As from now you can take good news to Mr. President that things are starting to move in the right direction and I am awaiting your clarification on all points" - Bediţeanu wrote on 14 October 1954. On November 7 he comes up with details: "The toothbrushes and the Vaduril are on their way. Likewise, the music scores for Mircea left with another batch of reviews, posters, concert programmes etc. and the public subscription register to pay for the Maestro's violin in 1897. You will get them and will organise them the best you can for the Museum. I will take care of the Vaduril phials in future. 58" Dos. S.I.E. nr.5483, C.N.S.A.S.

Noteworthy in their correspondence (Bediţeanu mostly wrote in French) are also the laudatory comments about Petru Groza and in particular Constanţa Crăciun and the malitious gossip about George Răutu and Ninetta Shapira, whom Bediţeanu detested for resons not always obvious.

Ninetta Shapira was, indeed, a controversial figure. In the Securitate documents she appears to have been an agent, code-named "Lucia", trusted to persuade Enescu to return to Romania. On the other hand, Bediţeanu vehemently acuses her and Răutu to have stollen Enescu's signature in order to sign the contract with the Salabert publishing house. And this signature thwarted the interest of the Bucharest authorities in publishing Enescu's works in Romania. In a Securitate note dated 21 September 195459, the agent Gh. Ionescu comments on a letter from Bediţeanu to Drăghici: "Lucia's hostile attitude towards us is clear." She had not informed her Securitate contacts " about the document signed byz Enescu, although this happened a while ago, when we were meeting her." Did she betray the trust of the Securitate? Or was the Salabert contract signed, in her and Răutu's presence, under different circumstances, of which Bediţeanu remained unaware or which he did not want to disclose? He clearly thought of them as operating as a hateful tandem. At the same time, while the Securitate considered Ninetta to be their more or less reliable agent, they looked upon Răutu as a notorious "reactionary".

So, George Enescu who, along his entire career, was never inclined to exploit circumstances, or make use of political or any kind of contacts, came to be trapped in a web of political intrigue, more or less interested friendships and conflicting advice from those he relied upon towards the end of his life.

back to top


1 Maria (Maruca) Enescu, nee Rosetti-Tescanu, had been previously married to Mihail Cantacuzino. According to Ilie Kogălniceanu (Destăinuiri despre George Enescu - Ed. Minerva, 1996), Mihail never called himself a prince, as he was not a direct descendant of Wallachia's ruler Şerban Cantacuzino.
2 ARLUS, the Romanian Association for Strengthening Links with the Soviet Union was founded on 12 November 1944.
3 S.I.E. Dossier no. 5483, C.N.S.A.S.
4 ibid. page 99.
5 ibid. page 100.
6 See Cosma O.L., Universul muzicii româneşti for a list of articles in which Enescu was criticised: the one by Zeno Vancea in Flacăra, II, 26 (78), 2 June 1949, and the one by Petru Ignat in Flacăra, II, 40 (92), 24 September 1949.
7 Flacăra I, 19, 9 May1948, pag.11. In: O.L. Cosma, page 161.
8 At this meeting it was announced that Maria Enescu had donated to the Society of Romanian Composers the Luminiş villa in Sinaia and the house in Teţcani. Under an Act limiting property ownership, Maria Enescu was only entitled to a flat. In: Cosma O.L., Universul muzicii româneşti, Ed. Muzicală, Bucureşti, 1993, page 150.
9 S.I.E. Dossier no. 5483, page 106-108, the Note of September 1952, classified as "Top secret".
10 Dossier R 314931, pag. 197, C.N.S.A.S.
11 ibid., page 197.
12 It carried the following dedication: "I dedicate this modest piece of work to Mr. Ghe. Gheorghiu-Dej, Minister of |Industry and Commerce, and to Mr. Ghe. Apostol, President of the General Confederation of Labour in Romania, as a token of gratitude for all they have achieved for the working class. Romeo Drăghici." 14
13 Dossier I 259548, C.N.S.A.S.
14 S.I.E. Dossier nr.5483, pag.31 verso. Alsoin the translated document on page 73.
15 Dossier R 314931, pag. 83, C.N.S.A.S..
16 Mircea Cancicov - Minister of Finance in several governments between 1936 and 1939. After the war he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and died in detention in 1959.
17 Alexandru (Ata) Constantinescu - Minister of Public Worcs 1943-44. After the war he was setenced to five years inprisonement After his relese he comited suicide.
18 The Composers' Union invited Enescu to the Week of Romanian Music. In a letter to the president of the Union the communist composer Matei Socor, Enescu apologizes for not being able to attend due to his health problems. In CosmaV. - George Enescu - scrisori, Ed. Muzicală, Bucureşti, vol.2, page 122.
19 S.I.E. Dossier no. 5483, page 109-112. The document carries the folowing note: "Comrade Serghei personally". It refers to Serghei Nicolau, former general director of S.S.I. from Jan.1947 to April 1951, Head of the A Directorate - Foreign Intelligence in the General Direction of the State Security (DGSS) from April 1951 to March 1954.
20 ibid. Page 109.
21 In a letter of 7 July sent to Enescu, Romeo Drăghici confirms he had been visited by Lăzăreanu who had given him a letter. (ibid. page 5.).
22 According to a document in Enescu's dossier: "(...) we are notified that Mihail Andricu received a letter from the Romanian composer George Enescu who is in Paris, in which he said he was keen to come to Romania. Mihail Andricu sent this letter to the Central Committee of the Romanian Workers' Party (PMR)". (ibid. page 11.).
23 ibid. Page 6.
24 The letter does not carry a date, but a reference to the recent completion of a ballet "based on Eminescu's Luceafărul", composed in 1951, suggests the letter was written that year or at the beginning of 1952. (ibid. Page 3,4.).
25 ibid. Page 12-18.
26 Dossier R 314931, C.N.S.A.S., page 79.
27 Another document, drafted by the head of the 1st Directorate, refers to the sculptor Margareta Lavrilliere (nee Cosăceanu), who "carries out some noteworthy work in the democratic colony" and who "provided us with precious information about Enescu and was prepared to cooperate with us in reaching our aim." In: Report on proposals for bringing back George Enescu - a top secret document signed by Major-General Vasile Vîlcu, head of the 1st Directorate of the Securitate. (S.I.E. Dossier no. 5483, page 22.).
28 Maria Ioana Cantacuzino, born in 1936, is the daughter of pilot Constantin (Bâzu) Cantacuzino, Maruca's son. In 1952, aged 16 and still at college, she was detained and sentenced to four years in prison, for plotting and acting subversibly against the state. She had spread anti-communist manifestoes. She left Romania in 1980 and published fiction under the pen-name Oana Orlea.
29 S.I.E. Dossier no. 5483, page 22-25.
30 General Vasile Vîlcu was the head of the 1st Directorate for foreign intelligence in D.G.S.S. between 1954 and 1955. He subsequently held high functions in the structures of the Romanian Communist Party.
31 ibid., page 24.
32 ibid., page 27.
33 ibid., page 25.
34 George Răutu, half-brother of the viola player Ionel Ghiga, settled in France in 1914 and was the director of the Marmorosh-Blank Bank in Paris. Enescu met Răutu through Ionel Ghiga with whom he had played in a quartet.
35 "Lucia" wrote to her mother about the stroke. Although paralysed, Enescu was completely lucid. She mentioned that she was spending her free time in the Enescu household. In: ibid., page 28.
36 ibid.,page 70-71.
37 ibid., page 69.
38 ibid., page 49.
39 ibid., page 50.
40 ibid., page 51.
41 ibid., page 54.
42 Mihail Jora.
43 added in the typed text.
44 Unwittingly Bediţeanu might have contributed to the confusion. He came to realize that the Paul Kaul violin he had sent to Bucharest was not the one estimated by the Swiss at 1,200,000 That one together with a Guarnieri had been kept safe by a luthier through the care of Yehudi Menuhin. Bediţeanu asked Drăghici to explain to the Romanian authorities that they had not purchased the violin they thought they had acquired.
45 ibid., page 64.
46 ibid., page 68.
47 DST - Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire, a directorate of the Franch police responsible for the security of France against foreing threats and interference.
48 ibid., page 75.
49 National Archives of Romania - Fond 1045, vol. 458, page 20.
50 S.I.E. Dossier no. 5483, page 68.
51 ibid., page 82.
52 Dr. Petru Groza, President of the Council of Ministers.
53 Ouverture de Concert sur des Themes dans le Caractere Populaire Roumain, Op.32 (1948), Second String Quartet, Op.22 (1950-52), Vox Maris, Op.31, symphonic poem for tenor, choir and orchestra (1929-1954), Chamber Symphony for twelve instruments, Op.33 (1954).
54 He was recruited on 25 January 1957 and received the code-name "Petcu Vasile". In Dossier R 314931, C.N.S.A.S.
55 S.I.E. Dossier no. 5483, page 35-36.
56 ibid., page 36 verso.
57 Mircea Cristescu, son of Bediţeanu's sister, Aurelia Cristescu, who was to become one of the conductors of the George Enescu Philharmonic in Bucharest.
58 S.I.E.Dossier no. 5483, page 52 verso.
59 ibid., page 36 verso.