Sunday, 22 September 2019 at 11 a.m.
Slovenian Philharmonic, Marjan Kozina Hall
BALKAN CONNECTION BRASS
Mladen Djordjević, trumpet
Mario Lončar, trumpet
Viktor Kiričenkov, French horn
Marko Ilič, trombone
Krunoslav Babić, tuba
Christoph Willibald Gluck, ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE – OVERTURE
Isidora Žebeljan, THE GHOST FROM THE PUMPKIN
Gioachino Rossini, THE BARBER OF SEVILLE – OVERTURE
Giacomo Puccini, LA BOHEME – MUSETTA’S WALTZ
Petar Obradović, TANGO TO GO!
Giuseppe Verdi, THE FORCE OF DESTINY – OVERTURE
Uroš Krek, KOLOVRAT (Eng.: “The Spinning Wheel”)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO – OVERTURE
BALKAN CONNECTION BRASS is an international ensemble comprising renowned musicians from Slovenia, Serbia, and Croatia with many years of experience playing chamber and solo music who have also held leading positions in a number of orchestras. The ensemble consists of the following members: Mario Lončar, trumpet, soloist at the Zagreb Philharmonic; Mladen Đorđević, trumpet, former soloist at the Belgrade Philharmonic and currently professor at the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade; Marko Ilić, trombone, soloist at the Slovenian Philharmonic; Viktor Kirčenkov, French horn, soloist of the Zagreb Philharmonic; and Krunoslav Babić, tuba, soloist at the Zagreb Philharmonic.
Established in 2011, the ensemble has performed in Belgrade, Zagreb, Budva, Cetinje, Zadar, Makarska, Split, Vinkovci, Pančevo, and other towns in the region. Its repertoire comprises works from the baroque until the present time. Tonight’s programme includes adaptations of famous opera overtures as well as original compositions for brass quintet by various Slovene, Serbian, and Croatian composers.
Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera Orpheus and Eurydice, set to a libretto by Raineri de’ Calzabigi, reformed the Renaissance style of musical drama, which predominated at the time. This oldest of musical dramas has remained part of theatres’ repertoire up to the present day and has been staged at least three times at the Ljubljana Opera House.
Isidora Žebeljan is a Serbian composer and member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. She is also a pianist, conductor, and professor of composition at the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade. Žebeljan has received numerous awards, including the “Stevan Mokranjac” national music award in 2004. The Ghost from the Pumpkin was composed in 2005, having been commissioned by the London Brass ensemble, the successor to the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble; it premiered in 2006 in London.
The Italian Gioachino Rossini was considered to be the most popular composer in the first half of the 19th century. In Vienna he outshone even Beethoven and Schubert, which may be why numerous anecdotes about him and his work arose during his lifetime. He was described, above all, as being a very productive composer of a great many “similar sounding operas” and more interested in French cuisine than in the creation of music. The truth is that Rossini composed rapidly and prolifically; some of his operas were completed in a mere two to four weeks. However, this may have been the reason that he occasionally “borrowed” an excerpt or part from his previous works. The famous Overture to the Barber of Seville was originally intended for two other operas; however, Rossini’s Barber of Seville (1816) is still viewed as the peak as well as the mighty conclusion of opera buffa, a very popular genre at the time.
La bohème is an opera in four acts composed by Giacomo Puccini. It premiered in Turin on 1 February 1896, conducted by Arturo Toscani. Although the opera received only a lukewarm response by the audience at the time, it brought Puccini great international fame and reputation. It remains a constant of opera houses, definitely worthy of being staged regularly. Tonight, the audience will hear Musseta’s Waltz from Act Two.
The trumpeter and composer Petar Obradović composed Tango to Go! in 2013 for Klavirski Trio Dubrovnik. Subsequently, he adapted it for brass quintet in an attempt to interweave and connect its mutual acoustics as well as to open it up to new possibilities between individual sound systems, instruments, and musicians. His hope in doing so was that Tango to Go! would first inspire musicians and thereby also thrill audiences by enabling them to not only seek beauty but also to recognise and feel their own emotions.
At the time he composed The Force of Destiny, Giuseppe Verdi was already an internationally renowned opera composer; his reputation was firmly established above all by his opera trilogy (Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata). The Force of Destiny opens with a lengthy overture, one of the most popular pieces played by symphonic orchestras. Therein, Verdi summarised the most important themes from the opera: the introductory unison of brass instruments, followed by the theme of destiny and, after that, a livelier theme from the duet from the first scene of Act Four; the third theme is from Leonora’s prayer from the second scene of Act Two.
Uroš Krek is one of the most important Slovene composers of the 20th century. His oeuvre includes works of almost every genre. As regards his compositional style, Krek remained faithful to classical expression characterised by a clear form in the classicistic manner and deep, partially emotional, expression. Today’s performers will present three of his compositions for brass quintet, collectively entitled Kolovrat.
Tonight’s concert opened with an overture and will finish in the same manner: with the Overture from the Marriage of Figaro by W. A. Mozart. The overture is in the key of D major, the tempo marking is presto (very fast). Orchestras often play it as an independent concert piece. This opera by Mozart, which premiered in 1786 in Vienna, could be described as a state-of-the-art piece of its era, a musical masterpiece for all time, and an exemplar of comic opera.