Mixed Choir of the Glasbena matica Ljubljana and Chamber Choir of the Academy of Music
Sebastjan Vrhovnik, conductor
Mixed Choir of the Academy of Music
Alenka Podpečan, conductor
Chamber Choir of the Academy of Music
Sebastjan Vrhovnik, conductor
Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra
Simon Dvoršak, conductor
J. Gallus: Musica noster amor (NN)
With guests: Recorder Ensemble of the University of Ljubljana Academy of Music led by Mateja Bajt
The frost fell this morning (traditional)
Darling do tell me (traditional)
K. Mlakar: The mills of life, hommage à Krek (T. Rovšek Witzemann)*
U. Krek: Walnut chest (traditional)
M. Hubad: The lark sings (traditional)
N. Forte: Seasonal dreams (G. Strniša), cantata for choir and strings*
A. Bruckner: Te Deum in C major, WAB 45
* premiere performance
The year 2022 is a jubilee year for the Glasbena Matica cultural association, which is celebrating 150 years of tradition. The association’s achievements – it was once the centre of Slovene musical life – contributed much to the reputation of the Slovene nation and its recognition and art. The formation of a mixed choir in 1891 was key for the definitive recognition of the Glasbena Matica, which, in its first two decades, had a well-established system of music education and its own publishing house. In addition to assuming the leading role in the association, the mixed choir led the way in the development of Slovene musical culture and the blossoming of Slovene choral singing.
It was the Matica choir that took Slovene songs beyond the homeland’s boundaries. Its first high-profile concert abroad serves as inspiration for the programme of the opening concert of this year’s 36th Slovenian Music Days: part of the programme will remind us of the early successes. Following the devastating earthquake in Ljubljana in 1895, Matica’s singers prepared two magnificent events in the monarchy’s capital as a gesture of thanks for the help received from Vienna – they performed in the famous Musikverein concert hall on 23 and 25 March 1896. The demanding Viennese audience was particularly delighted by the first concert evening: the 189 singers dressed in national costume moved the audience with what is nowadays a popular madrigal by Jacobus Gallus, sung many folk songs adapted by the long-serving choirmaster Matej Hubad and displayed their vocal breadth by performing what used to be one of the grandest vocal-instrumental compositions, a joyful hymn by Anton Bruckner.
The retrospective programme will be appropriately complemented in the spirit of the present day by two new works commissioned from two composers of the younger generation. The internationally recognised Nana Forte is boldly expanding her opus from her already mastered field of choir music to vocal-instrumental composition, while composition student Klara Mlakar, winner of the international youth choir competition Aegis Carminis 2021, will pay tribute with her new work to Uroš Krek, once one of Slovenia’s best composers, who eloquently combined the original mixture of neo-classicist objectivity and expressionist subjectivism with the creativity of folk music.
The concert programme’s grandeur will be re-enacted by former students of Ljubljana’s Academy of Music who are now the distinguished Slovenian soloists Mojca Bitenc Križaj, Nuška Drašček, Martin Sušnik and Peter Martinčič, the Glasbena Matica and Academy of Music choirs directed by Sebastjan Vrhovnik and Alenka Podpečan, and the Academy’s Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the versatile Simon Dvoršak.