This April sees the 38th edition of the Slovenian Music Days, which will once again feature a concert programme containing numerous new works and premiere performances by Slovene composers. Music as interpretative art, which is the main theme of this year’s Slovenian Music Days, is a complex and heterogeneous artistic process that requires a balance between the technical mastery and expressive depth of the interpreter. From 17 to 23 April we will have the opportunity to hear performances by Slovene artists and discuss musical interpretation at two symposia in the Knights’ Hall of the Križanke complex and at the Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, the Minorite Church in Maribor and the Academy of Music in Ljubljana.
The opening concert of the upcoming festival of music shines a light on twenty-first-century Slovene musical creativity while at the same time placing the spotlight on three major names from the post-war generation of composers: Aldo Kumar, Tomaž Svete and Uroš Rojko. Aldo Kumar’s rich and varied oeuvre is distinguished by a characteristic communicativeness of musical expression that is reflected in the composer’s popularity at home and abroad. His greatest triumphs include a performance of his composition Strastra for organ and orchestra by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra in St Petersburg. We will hear it interpreted by one of Slovenia’s most prominent organists, Tomaž Sevšek. Violinist Lalita Svete will give the premiere performance of Tomaž Svete’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, a work of which she is also the dedicatee. Uroš Rojko’s varied oeuvre is original and profoundly thoughtful. His new work Running Out of Time VII, the latest in a series of compositions with the same title that draw inspiration from the transience of life, was written for the pianists Lovorka Nemeš Dular and Nina Prešiček Laznik.
(17 April, 7.30 pm, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall)
The International Musicological Symposium, founded in 1985 at the initiative of Slovene musicologist Primož Kuret, addresses pressing musicological topics and disseminates knowledge through lectures by leading experts. Led by Professor Jernej Weiss, who sheds light on musicological topics with papers by internationally recognised musicologists from Europe’s top universities, this edition of the symposium, entitled Musical Interpretation: Between the Artistic and the Scientific, focuses on musical interpretation as a synthesis of artistic and scientific approaches to musical performance.
(18 April, 8.30 am, Knights’ Hall, Križanke)
One of the leading ambassadors of Slovene music is the Society of Slovene Composers, which also pursues its mission through the organisation of concerts. These include the now traditional Night of Slovene Composers. This year’s concert will introduce fourteen new works, including pieces by Igor Dekleva and Žarko Živković, both of whom remain faithful to their original instruments – respectively piano and guitar. The guitar is the inspiration for Matija Marčina, while Tomaž Bajželj’s new work is dedicated to the romantic harp. Viola and cello combine in a new composition from Aleksandra Bajde, while Uršula Jašovec and Črt Sojar Voglar make a significant contribution to the otherwise relatively scant repertoire for guitar and harp duo. Compositions for trio are contributed by Imer Traja Brizani, Bojan Glavina and Urška Orešič Šantavec, all three of whom have sought new sonic solutions in the traditional instrumental combinations of flute, piano and viola/cello. Fresh sounds of a different kind are promised by Tomaž Svete and Tomaž Habe, both of whom combine three plucked string instruments – guitar, harp and zither – in their new works. The concert will also include the premiere performances of two instrumental quartets (flute, viola, cello and piano), one by Vladimir Batista and the other by David Veber.
(18 April, 7.30 pm, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall)
This year’s programme also includes, for the first time, an International Student Symposium, which will host numerous students from Slovenia and abroad. The symposium will be led by musicologist Tjaša Ribizel Popič. The purpose of the International Student Symposium is to offer the younger generation of composers, performers, music teachers and musicologists the opportunity to present their research work and interests and compare practical experiences in the field of musical interpretation. Students will present their own papers on the topic of musical interpretation between the artistic and the scientific, while the symposium will also offer them the opportunity to share their thoughts and findings not only with colleagues but with the general public.
(19 April, 8.30 am, Academy of Music)
The challenge that the Concert Atelier presents to performers season after season has this time been accepted by Dušan Sodja and Tatjana Kaučič, otherwise known as Duo Claripiano. Over the course of their 30-year career, the two musicians have woven precious ties with many Slovene musicians. These include a long friendship with Uroš Krek, whose Sonatina, from 1984, forms part of the programme. The duo also collaborate regularly with Lojze Lebič, who in 2017 dedicated the composition Memory to them – a reworking of his Sonata from 1960, which resounds in its new guise like a “memory” of the composer’s creative past. Duo Claripiano also inspired the atmospheric miniature Canto rapsodico (2005) by Janez Matičič. The successful instrumental duo are still very much in favour with composers today. New works have been written for them on this occasion by Nenad Firšt, Tadeja Vulc and, from Trieste, Corrado Rojac.
(19 April, 7.00 pm, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall)
The Carpe Artem cycle of boutique chamber concerts organised by the Amadeus Chamber Music Society was created in 2012 to increase the accessibility of chamber music and boost interest in it. The cycle is joined each year by the Carpe Artem String Quartet. Among the first significant contributions to the Slovene chamber repertoire was the String Quartet (1922) by Viktor Parma, otherwise known as the father of Slovene opera. Chamber ensembles are composer Tomaž Svete’s preferred platform for experiments with instrumental techniques and musical syntax. This is also the case with his single-movement composition I cantici dei angeli (2004), which traverses diverse soundscapes from ethereal translucence to tense drama. The upcoming concert also includes the premiere performance of String Quartet No. 3 by Dejan Jakšič, a member of the latest generation of Slovene composers. The largely Slovene programme is rounded off by Hugo Wolf, whose Italian Serenade, a work of colourful tonality and light-hearted ebullience, has become a popular part of the chamber repertoire.
(20 April, 7.00 pm, Minorite Church, Maribor)
The Art Song Cycle is a traditional concert series organised by the Ljubljana Glasbena Matica since 2002, with thoughtfully designed programmes that reveal the endless wealth of the world’s treasury of art songs while simultaneously highlighting the important role played by the art song in the development of Slovene music. Composer and conductor Mirko Polič, one of the most prominent figures in Slovene musical life in the first half of the twentieth century, left an important mark on the activities of the Glasbena Matica. Although he was most drawn to opera, he composed in a range of genres and his oeuvre included several art songs and choral works. The programme of this concert, entirely dedicated to Polič, lifts the veil on a forgotten composer whose works will be reawakened, in an intimate dialogue of voice and piano, by soprano Aleksandra Radovanović, tenor Gregor Ravnik and pianist Igor Vićentić (the composer’s great grandson).
(22 April, 7.30 pm, Knights’ Hall, Križanke)
The closing concert of the 38th Slovenian Music Days is dedicated to contemporary creativity. It will be opened by one of the most globally successful Slovene composers, Božidar Kos. His Sinfonietta for strings dates from the period in which he began to fuse the music of the European avant-garde with elements of Balkan folk music. The heart of the programme consists of two works by composers with very different approaches who have both found creative inspiration in children. Serbian artist Svetlana Maraš draws on the adventurous, fresh and boundless musicianship of children and their freedom of experimentation and improvisation in her piece Defiance of the Glorious Children. Larisa Vrhunc focuses on babies and toddlers in her composition So Quiet. Closing the festival of music will be a performance of Janez Matičič’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, a work written in the late 1970s. We will hear it performed by the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra under conductor Steven Loy and the violinist Lana Trotovšek, who over the past decade has built an enviable international career as a soloist.
(23 April, 7.30 pm, Knights’ Hall, Križanke)
Tickets are available for purchase online at ljubljanafestival.si and at the Križanke box office, petrol stations and other Eventim ticket outlets. Free tickets for the Concert Atelier and Night of Slovene Composers concerts are available at the Križanke box office. Admission to the International Musicological Symposium and the International Student Symposium is free of charge.
Thank you for your interest in the Ljubljana Festival programme.
The Ljubljana Festival reserves the right to modify the programme.
More information at ljubljanafestival.si.
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