Romania’s great musician who was buried twice: the life story and the end of Sile Dinicu, the composer of the Romanian slavagas

Vasile (Sile) Dinicu was born on 10 December 1919, in Bacău. He was a Romanian composer, conductor and pianist, best known for his collaboration with the stage orchestras of the Romanian Radio and Television.

Sile Dinicu studied music in Galați with Theodor Fucs (piano) and at the “Lyra” Conservatory in Brăila (1929-1930). In 1933 he began to work in Bucharest. After his debut in 1936, on the radio, with the pianist Theodor Sibiceanu, he worked as a pianist in various light music bands in Bucharest. Between 1941 and 1943 he was co-opted by Constantin Tănase in the orchestra of the Cărăbuș Theatre, and from 1943 to 1947 he conducted the orchestra of the “Gioconda” Theatre, as second in command to the famous composer Ion Vasilescu.

Gică Petrescu and the stage orchestra of the “Radio Committee”, conducted by Sile Dinicu – rehearsals in the radio studio. Source: Rador

The peak of his career came in 1951, when he was entrusted with the difficult role of conductor of the Romanian Radio Orchestra. Here he worked as a conductor until 1985. Under his baton, the band became an ideally tuned ensemble, rivaling the world’s greatest orchestras of its kind. During this time, Sile Dinicu was a fixture on Romanian music and entertainment programmes.

His work and talent were soon appreciated and rewarded. Thus, on 18 August 1964, the State Council of the Romanian People’s Republic awarded him the title of Emeritus Artist “for outstanding merits in the field of theatre, music, plastic arts and cinema”. He was also awarded the Order of Labour, class III, in 1956, with prizes for interpretation in 1964 and 1965 and a mention for creation in 1965 at the Mamaia Light Music Festivals, received the “Cultural Merit” Orders, class V in 1968 and class II in 1974, and was awarded the Prize of the Union of Composers and Musicologists.

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Sile Dinicu with Corina Chiriac
Corina Chiriac with Sile Dinicu (Photo: Facebook)

Sile Dinicu had a “magic” wand

Sile Dinicu composed over a hundred light music songs. Many of them became ballads: “București, București”, “Întotdeauna marea”, “Nu mă certa” or “Seri la malul mării”, which in Margareta Pâslaru’s interpretation won a mention in the creation section of the Mamaia Festival 1965. She wrote many other successful compositions that were performed by prestigious artists such as Doina Moroșanu, Dan Spătaru or Gică Petrescu.

“The musical ear is the chance that nature has endowed you with the most perfect auditory canal. But the musical ear does not mean the knowledge of making art”, said Sile Dinicu.

Sile Dinicu Archive images
Sile Dinicu – Archive pictures

The artist used to say about music that it must “start from the heart and intelligence”.

“The essential thing is that the music must be good. Light, heavy, young, and of good quality. An objective history of light music would bring many surprises. At the time, Schubert’s lieder were the equivalent of light music, of sagas, if you like, also Straussian waltzes or Offenbach operettas. Now, this music has become classicised. It fulfilled a condition, it was good. When people talk about light music, the criticism is directed almost exclusively against the texts. The song itself, the melody, is overlooked or downplayed. But the melody is the main factor. It is now customary to compose on texts, some of real value, and on the lyrical creations of important poets,” said Sile Dinicu about music.

The great artist died on 7 January 1993 and was buried for the first time in a grave in Bellu Cemetery, belonging to the Composers’ Union. His wife, however, did not agree to the place, as she did not consider it suitable enough to honour the artist’s memory. So in 1995 she requested a crypt in the Mausoleum of the Composers’ Union “so that Sile Dinicu could find eternal peace in a place of burial he deserved”.

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So, on 22 May 1995, Victoria Dinicu received approval to disinter the talented composer, conductor and pianist Sile Dinicu from the “usual” grave and rebury him in the Composers’ Mausoleum, but at the family’s expense.

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