SLOVENIAN MUSIC OF THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES
SLOVENIAN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Conductor: Lovrenc Blaž Arnič
Pavle Merkù (1927–2014): Sunny sunshine, Slovenian rhapsody for strings
Aldo Kumar (1954): Spring Concertino
Marko Mihevc (1957): Planets
Tomaž Svete (1956): L’amor sul mar
Jani Golob (1948): The Goldhorn, balet suite
Danilo Švara (1902–1981): Istrian Dances
“I deal with too many things to be taken as a serious man,” Pavle Merkù, the winner of Prešeren’s Award in 2014, once said in self-irony. He died in October of the same year and was renowned as a highly engaged artist. He described his artistic work: “My creative process starts by processing an idea – musical, literary or an idea related to life. When an idea ‘catches me’, its continuation is only a matter of time.” He was a Slavicist by vocation and taught music privately, and he was especially interested in the music of Venetia. His Slovenian rhapsody for strings or Shine, Shine, the Sun, is probably one of the best Slovenian compositions of this type.
Aldo Kumar is a versatile composer, working with orchestras, vocals, chamber, play and film music. He collaborates with important local and foreign conductors, as well as various theatre houses. He has received many awards, including the Prešeren Fund Award in 2010. He described his composition, The Spring Concertino: “With its post-avant-garde form speaks about the short experience of awakening spring. An almost barely recognisable old music theme about spring hides beneath the diverse conglomerate of various string articulations.”
Marko Mihevc writes music that is often formed in a programmed way, although this does not involve the consistent citation of content that is not of musical origin, but a “dramaturgical notion and the domination of the use of music elements. These emerge in Mihevc’s music in multiple layers: a motif simplicity that originates from contemporary tonality and modality is intertwined with the modernist musical means such as sound surfaces and new sound colourfulness,” as Mihevc’s student and graduate Črt Sojar Voglar wrote. The composer describes the composition Planets: “Planets were written as a dedication to the composition of the same title by composer Jurij Mihevc. Subsequently, the Planets by Gustav Holst also became world renowned. In the composition, Pluto is described as a planet; however, astronomers now have divided opinions – some acknowledge it, others do not. After the premiere, the critic P. Kušar was quite indignant about it, saying that the composer was like a mongrel dog. Since mongrels are usually quite inventive, the piece was a success among the audience. And an old Latin saying ‘De gustibus non est disputandum’ (‘In matters of taste, there can be no disputes’) can be used here.”
Tomaž Svete explained: “I am a composer who follows the principle of speaking about my own comprehension of artistic creation: from the depths of my own incapability and vulnerability I aim to create new, better worlds.” He wrote about his composition L`amor sul mar (1987) for the orchestra: “This is an impressionistically motivated symphonic composition emerged on the basis of the poem with the same title, written by my father, which tries to combine the elements of the Second Viennese School with the sound colourfulness of musical impressionism.”
Jani Golob questions himself as to whether he would have become a musician if it were not for his father, who took him into the mysterious world of music, if he had not worked with musicians who trusted him, or if he had not had support from his family. Golob is quite a versatile musician who surprises listeners and professional audiences over and over again. In 2006, he wrote the ballet suite Zlatorog (The Goldhorn): “This composition was dedicated to the hundred-year anniversary of the birth of academician Prof. Niko Kuret, who wrote a libretto about Zlatorog. On the initiative of Prof. Dr. Primož Kuret, Vinko Möderndorfer and I wrote a ballet with the same title, which has not yet been performed. The ballet suite sums up some essential musical motifs from the libretto and tries to create a concert piece for symphony orchestra.”
Danilo Švara was a man with enormous skills and knowledge as well as an influential composer, conductor and pedagogue. He came from the Istrian region, and attended the Pazin Gymnasium, where, according to Švara, Saša Šantel “with much love showed and presented Istrian folklore to him”. The young man personalised these wonderful melodics and in a special and interesting way incorporated it in his pieces, from Veronika Deseniška to his chamber works.
The Istrian Dances are probably the most believable reflection of the musical spirit of this wonderful landscape.
Free tickets for pupils, students and members of The Ljubljana Festival Club and 20% discount for pensioners as well as groups of thirty people or more on submission of evidence of identity at the Križanke Box Office and at the Info point of Ljubljana Festival 2015.
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