… The forest rang with arms and rumbled like the ocean,
Amidst the greenwood thousand heads with long and plaited hair,
And several thousands more besides that did bright helmets wear.
While wave on wave of cavalry over the plain did flood…
M. Eminescu, Satire III
That alarm signal was Bucium. His sound echoed over the hills and mountains, announcing to the troops that it was time to attack or that enemies were coming. These announcements have been used since the Dacian period, but the bucium was a specific medieval instrument. Moreover, when feudal armies disappeared, the military interest in this traditional musical instrument decreased, Sergiu Munteanu, scientific researcher, Agency for Military Science and Memory, said: „The most obvious use of the bucium was during Stephen The great’s time. Bucium was indispensable in any war or battle. There were two types of horns: one in units, giving the command to attack and another at the border, announcing the approach of enemies. A curious history took place in the battle of Vaslui. It was foggy … The Turkish militaries heard the sound of the bucium and headed in that direction, believing that the Moldovan army was there. But in that place stationed the Polish detachments. Moldovan troops were behind and have attacked them.”
No matter how helpful the „bent horn” would have been, if we were to translate it from the Latin buccinum, the modern period reduced its military significance, being replaced by the drums, trumpets, etc. It remained with the same destiny – to call, to gather, to alert, but already a civil, peaceful use, among the shepherds in the mountains, represented in Cosbuc’s poem – Shepherd Love: Through the beech forests / And from the bucium sometimes / Let me sing the rocking chorus!
Today, when we miss the history, the spectacle and the greatness of the bucium, we don’t need to go to the mountains. It is enough to get to Neculaieuca, Orhei, at the workshop of Nicole Tihon. He is the unique creator of buciume in Moldova and an appreciated specialist in Romania.
The story of the more than 300 buciums with the author’s autograph began after the army: „We were working on a project for the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra together with Liubomir Iorga in 1987. It was a set of 24 ocarinas of different sizes. In the end, the master suggested that I start with the buciums. I didn’t know anything and had never seen this musical instrument. I designed and made it intuitively. The biggest worry was how to empty it inside. Now I know that the secret was in the separate processed parts, pressed enough not to see the sticking place, for which an important role have the rings, plus the work with patience and no rush.”
A tulnic, another name used in the Motsi’s Land, the artist Tihon finishes in a week, in the conditions, he focuses his attention only on itself. To our pride, the representative musical jewel has reached Europe and America. Wondering how it’s possible? It is possible because it is made of linden wood, respectively it is not heavy – about 1.5 kg, and it’s transported in sections. It assembled at the destination with the craftsman’s instructions.
More and more compatriots use the bucium for the parties inside of the country. They welcome the guests at weddings or baby’s baptism no with the old march, but with 3 artists, who trumpet loudly to the guest’s amazement. And our national force structures periodically ask him to buy or to rent buciums. And if you arrive at the theater from Cahul, you will see Nicolae Tihon’s business card – a shepherd with a bucium – the single souvenir, from which the master has hardly parted.
In fact, each work is unique, unrepeatable, although the making scheme is the same. Some are thicker, some thinner; some longer – over 3m, others shorter, the smallest being 1m for a child. Now the nephew from Paris is waiting his turn, and the native village aspires to more and more creations by A. Tihon. And the children from the local Creative Center are eager to learn the art of wood and painting. Jus like he did before at the Arts School in Orhei, then at the Professional School, No. 1 in Chisinau and a year at „Polytechnic”: „I was suffocating in university with straight lines, I saw their perspective and didn’t accept, so I refused to study there. That’s why my parents had to explain to the university management my decision. They were confused why I wanted to leave, knowing that I was a good student.”
As a result, the young Nicolae joined the army as a soldier at the 22 age: „I did everything later. I went to school on the 8th. I started Professional School after nine grades and studied for four years, not three like the other specialities. Even my birth date is confusing: in the documents, I am on October 19, when, in reality, I was born on October 29. However, I am satisfied with life. Maybe I was less fortunate with the military. I would have liked to work as a painter, but there was no space for two specialists in the same unit. Thus, I kept plastering the walls for the military houses.”
In the 01728 Construction Battalion in Odessa, soldier Tihon arrived only due to his specialty, acquired before the army. The creative and unbridled spirit did not reconcile with the technical work. To calm his beginnings, he periodically sculpted various artworks in cement foam and offered them to his comrades. Of course, they did not stay long, becoming hidden components of newly built buildings. After a year, he advanced in his position – the unit brigadier, and after another year, Sergeant Andrei Tihon returned with fervor to his life’s pleasure – wood carving. And even if the army meant a less colorful period, the buciums will always create an association with the military field and in this context only with admiration and honor. Yes, and with the desire that their sound announces only holidays and peace.