Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hristić, Stevan. (1885-1958) & Slavenski, Josip. (1896-1955) Orchestral Works.

From my collection.
Bought in 2011.
First listen: 1-3-2011.
Second listen: 11-1-2013. 
Third listen: 23-3-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March 1988.
Recording venue: Großer Sendesaal, Hannover, Germany.
Recording engineer: Manfred Kietzke.
Running time: 58:42.
Classical relevance to me: Well worth having.

Works performed:

Hristić, Stevan.
The Legend of Ohrid, Orchestral suite from the ballet.

Slavenski, Josip.
Balkanophonia, opus 10.

Performed by:
NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Moshe Atzmon.

Two composers from the former Yugoslavia, who are the opposites in musical expression. But interesting nevertheless. The Legend is a masterpiece in every respect, and based on a folk story. This ballet is a type of symphonized romanticist ballet. You will hear influences of the Russian school, mostly Rimski Korsakov. And it is this influence which gives the music it's magical character. It is divided in four suites, and was hugely popular in his time, which I understand and agree. It's a fine work from beginning to end, and well worth hearing.
Josip Slovenski's Balkanophonia is a different kettle of fish altogether. He is considered one of the most important composers of Yugoslavia, and this composition is seen as one of the very best he wrote, although it was a work from his youth. To me however it sounds more like a technical exercise, brilliantly written, but to chaotic and to modern for me. Melodically it does not impress me very much for this kind of modernity is lost on me. Too fuzzy and wayward for my perception.
A composer whose expressiveness possesses elemental power and is bold in his search for new expressive possibilities, close to folklore expressionism of a Bartok type. I find Bartok far more appealing as Slovenski's quest. 
The performance can be a bit rough and ready, but does not lack in expression. The idiom is simply not everydays food for a German orchestra. The recording is quite good.



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