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Croatian Music


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Author Topic: Croatian Music  (Read 3788 times)
Jolly Roger
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« Reply #60 on: August 01, 2013, 02:01:14 am »

What is "the order"?
Maybe he enjoys provoking tirades re the definition of Romantic music. I know he loves some of the music which they disdain and I suspect he will eventually capitulate. Since I have a preference(I said preference) for late 19th, 20th and current century composers, I often run afoul of the mandates. And when they declared Edmund Rubba as another another untouchable non-romantic, I felt that they were unworthy of any reasoned response. (I do return when I feel mischevious)

It seems like even late-romantic music provokes some controversy over there. I read one post that said that Sibelius was at the "outer fringes" of their remit Roll Eyes I wasn't surprised by Rubbra conflicting with the remit; after all, Alwyn's Lyra Angelica, one of the most beautiful works of the 20th century, was deemed not "romantic" enough! But what does it matter, we have the A-MF Grin

P.S. This thread is about Croatian music!

Sorry for the diversion..some things just can't be fixed..
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kyjo
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« Reply #61 on: August 01, 2013, 02:09:37 am »

Sorry for the diversion..some things just can't be fixed..

Quite alright, JR (may I call you that?)! If you would like to discuss sensitive topics such as this, PMs are the best solution.
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #62 on: August 01, 2013, 08:09:46 am »

Sorry for the diversion..some things just can't be fixed..

Quite alright, JR (may I call you that?)! If you would like to discuss sensitive topics such as this, PMs are the best solution.
Agreed...sorry about that as well..
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #63 on: August 01, 2013, 01:45:06 pm »

Eric is still there.  I've tried to lure him over here, but so far, no dice.

Wonder why he won't come over here Huh I know he has an interest in 20th-century music as well. I will, for the sake of the order, painfully restrain myself from going on a UC rant Lips sealed
What is "the order"?
Maybe he enjoys provoking tirades re the definition of Romantic music. I know he loves some of the music which they disdain and I suspect he will eventually capitulate. Since I have a preference(I said preference) for late 19th, 20th and current century composers, I often run afoul of the mandates. And when they declared Edmund Rubba as another another untouchable non-romantic, I felt that they were unworthy of any reasoned response. (I do return when I feel mischevious)
I understand,but,it should be noted,some UC members peruse,and I believe,use this forum so take care Jolly Roger! Personally,I DO actually like the focus they've got over there now. Also there are allot of extremely interesting theads for people,like me,who like Raff,Spohr,Anton Rubinstein & their like;and some of the members there have done some sterling work for these composers. Meanwhile,over here at the AMF,we can concentrate on the kind of music we like,I can start an Anton Rubinstein thread if I want to,enthuse about my George Lloyd collection (1 cassette at the moment! Sad) or talk about Iannis Xenakis or Harrison Birtwistle! Shocked Grin Everyone's a winner!!

 And then there is the little manner of Croatian music!! Grin The subject of this thread!!!  I really am going to have to hear this composer Sulek who is garnering such  a high level of praise here. I must confess I don't know any of his music! I just looked up his Wikipedia entry. Has any of his music been uploaded here? (I shall have a look a bit later when I have more time) He seems to have been quite prolific. Where should I start? I should point out I enjoy instrumental & chamber music as well as orchestral music. Over to you kyjo (or another member?).

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Ulalume
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« Reply #64 on: August 01, 2013, 05:28:12 pm »

A lot of works by Sulek have been uploaded here, some of them are also on youtube. I would recommend :

- Last Adam a cantata that reminds me of Sibelius for some reasons (maybe the sonority of the language)
- Organ Concerto "Memento" a sort of Bach/Liszt homage with added features (military drums notably)
- Symphony n°6 a fruit salad with Tchaikovsky, Bruckner or Prokofiev being the fruits
- Classical Concerto n°2 for string orchestra
- Two Interludes from Coriolan a short work which might be a good introduction to Sulek.

I have come to the provisional conclusion that the impression left by Sulek's works is more related to the intensity of the interpretation than the expressivity of the work itself. Many of the other broadcasts are conducted by Pavle Despalj, a tireless champion of the composer, but I find him - maybe harshly - a tepid conductor.

I have just discovered this article about the british premieres of Sulek second symphony and Hartmann fourth. I don't know if political ideology is an obsession of the author or of the time :
 
http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/28th-october-1955/20/music

Also I have found an organ piece Triptih that may have eluded some aficionados (the interpretation is a bit tentative) :

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Latvian
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« Reply #65 on: August 01, 2013, 06:15:52 pm »

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I really am going to have to hear this composer Sulek who is garnering such  a high level of praise here. I must confess I don't know any of his music! I just looked up his Wikipedia entry. Has any of his music been uploaded here? (I shall have a look a bit later when I have more time) He seems to have been quite prolific. Where should I start? I should point out I enjoy instrumental & chamber music as well as orchestral music. Over to you kyjo (or another member?).

I can't recommend Sulek highly enough. I've been a fan of his for over 30 years. The first 25 of those years I only had access to a handful of works, but more recently (thanks in great part to this forum and UC), I've come to hear many, many more works. The more I hear, the more I like it.

My suggestion is to start with what I consider his strongest work, the 6th Symphony. It most certainly doesn't yield all its secrets on first hearing, but is tremendously rewarding upon further acquaintance.
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Malito
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« Reply #66 on: August 02, 2013, 03:49:14 am »

I'm a big fan of Sulek as well.  I love the 5th and 6th symphonies especially.  Wish we had a better recording of the Violin Concerto.  I am also a nut for anything by Blaz Arnic, a Slovenian, whose other works I would love to have.  Malito
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« Reply #67 on: August 02, 2013, 01:11:15 pm »

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I am also a nut for anything by Blaz Arnic, a Slovenian, whose other works I would love to have.

Yes! I would love to see more of his symphonies uploaded!
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #68 on: August 02, 2013, 04:02:28 pm »

Thank you very much for these suggestions. I will investigate this composer at the first opportunity! Smiley
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #69 on: August 04, 2013, 10:59:34 pm »

Sorry for the diversion..some things just can't be fixed..

Quite alright, JR (may I call you that?)! If you would like to discuss sensitive topics such as this, PMs are the best solution.
Agreed...sorry about that as well..
Ok..still off the thread, but
JR might be a bit misleading (Junior?) as I am 72 years old kyjo.
But you are an awesome contributor here and any message would be of great value to me.
Besides, JR will make me feel young again.
BTW - Your picture, is that Rachmaninoff?? Now I must find one for Miaskovsky.
PM's are the preferred route here, but not sure how to do that.
If you send one or direct me to the instructions, It would be very helpful.
JR
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kyjo
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« Reply #70 on: August 04, 2013, 11:34:41 pm »

Ok..still off the thread, but
JR might be a bit misleading (Junior?) as I am 72 years old kyjo.
But you are an awesome contributor here and any message would be of great value to me.
Besides, JR will make me feel young again.
BTW - Your picture, is that Rachmaninoff?? Now I must find one for Miaskovsky.
PM's are the preferred route here, but not sure how to do that.
If you send one or direct me to the instructions, It would be very helpful.
JR

Thanks for the kind words Smiley I have enjoyed your contributions here and I see we have very similar tastes! Yes, that is Rachmaninov, my very favorite composer. He's been up there quite a while-I think I might change my "avatar" to a lesser-known composer who I admire. Look out for an avatar change in the near future! Miaskovsky is a great composer-I'd love to see him on your avatar! Sending PMs are quite simple-just go to the profile of the member you want to send a PM to, and near the bottom there will be an option that says "send this member a personal message". If you have any problems, please let me know Smiley Also, glad
I could help you feel young again Grin
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #71 on: August 05, 2013, 01:00:40 am »

Before more more time passes, I just wanted to thank ttle for his absolutely invaluable musical posts.
I am quite overwhelmed with Sulek and nearly so with Bjelinski (the 7th absolutely blew me away).

In a related matter, I found it odd that a recent BBC broadcast or Croatian music excluded Sulek and that
what appears to be a Croatian State sponsored on Utube site is void of his music as well.
https://www.youtube.com/user/CroClassicalMusic/videos

I do not think Sulek fell into disrepute, but even Klaus Heymann (Naxos) ignored him. Maybe no one is capable of performing as well
as the music posted here.
I had the horrifying thought that we may be overhyping his music, but have not seen evidence of that at this forum.
Again, Rob Barnett was only patronizing in his response to me, perhaps others can get him to be more definitive..
Let's keep up the good fight..

I see that somesome Sulek reached BIS and Naxos, but what pitiful examples:
He was a magnificent Orchestrator, so what on earth does anyone gain from a sonata (for trombone, no less.)

Crystal
Sonata for Trombone "Vox Gabrieli" by Stjepan Sulek
Performer:  Ralph Sauer (Trombone)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1973; Yugoslavia

BIS - 2 releases
Sonata for Trombone "Vox Gabrieli" by Stjepan Sulek
Performer:  Christian Lindberg (Trombone), Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1973; Yugoslavia
Date of Recording: 11/1983
Venue:  Nacka Hall, Nacka, Sweden
Length: 7 Minutes 34 Secs.

Naxos
The Troubadours Three by Stjepan Sulek
Performer:  Ana Vidovic (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century





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Latvian
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« Reply #72 on: August 05, 2013, 04:43:50 pm »

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I do not think Sulek fell into disrepute

I don't think Sulek ever fell into disrepute in his homeland, though the political changes in Croatia and the former Yugoslavia may certainly have played into diminished promotion of his music in the region as a whole. Internationally, I don't think Sulek ever had much of a reputation except among knowledgeable musicians and fanatical collectors.

Unfortunate, because despite the lack of interest mentioned in previous posts, I do firmly believe that Sulek is highly deserving of a substantial international reputation. It may very well be that the composer himself and a limited number of other interpreters are the only ones who have truly done justice to his music in the past, but that doesn't mean that the music itself is flawed in any way, or doesn't "travel." It may take a little extra effort to appreciate it for Mr. Heymann and others, requiring time they're not willing to commit.

Once upon a time, it could be said that Janis Ivanovs' music didn't "travel" well. Personally, I think the Yablonsky recordings don't really convey the essence of his style authentically and convincingly, and that may have contributed to the demise of the Marco Polo/Naxos Ivanovs series with insufficient sales. However, many conductors (and not all Latvian) have shown that it can be done.

Let's keep pushing for wider recognition for Sulek!
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ttle
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« Reply #73 on: August 09, 2013, 03:33:45 pm »

Before more more time passes, I just wanted to thank ttle for his absolutely invaluable musical posts.
I am quite overwhelmed with Sulek and nearly so with Bjelinski (the 7th absolutely blew me away).

My pleasure really, and I cannot say how much joy you and other members here have brought to me in the past few months!

Quote
In a related matter, I found it odd that a recent BBC broadcast or Croatian music excluded Sulek and that
what appears to be a Croatian State sponsored on Utube site is void of his music as well.
https://www.youtube.com/user/CroClassicalMusic/videos

From what I know, and this is arguably not much, Šulek had definitely not fallen into disrepute in his home country. He remains by far the most performed Croatian symphonist in Zagreb, with easily one of his symphonies scheduled every year either by the Philharmonic or by the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra.

However, he has never been spared by controversy, and his music has never been to everyone's tastes. When he started in the 1940s, he criticized the (to him) provincial, low professional standards of the Croatian musical life and this must not have gained him only friends. He and Josip Štolcer-Slavenski (arguably two of the strongest musical personalities in Croatian music) do not seem to have appreciated each other. Šulek, in a sense, tried to make up for more than a century without a great orchestral and instrumental tradition (with some notable exceptions such as Dora Pejačević) and found himself immediately at odds with modern currents of his time, so that while some music-lovers still find his pervasive chromaticism unpalatable to this day, many a composer in the next generation probably viewed him as an arch-Traditionalist. (I suspect that this also helped him remain true to himself during the post-Zhdanov years, even though the former Yugoslavia was less affected by them than most then communist countries.)

In the 1960s, he enjoyed a strong academic position, but probably musicians such as Sakač, Malec or Kelemen must have felt that they did not belong to the same era. The fact is that he did not move towards more modern idioms in the 1970s but rather backwards in time, more or less explicitly quoting great Romantic masters. Some of his symphonies, and even more his third string quartet or his fourth classical concerto, can even be a bit disturbing at first hearing, their air of déjŕ entendu not being balanced by any apparent irony or distance. All this gave the impression that his style did not evolve with time, which is not true, and that he did not have strong enough ideas to create a musical universe of his own. Arguably Šulek is not the most original composer of his time, but his music is nonetheless highly personal and recognizable as such. As stated before by several contributors, it demands very high performing quality, otherwise it can easily appear as thick, confused, inconsistent. One needs to believe in it to play it properly.

Quote
I do not think Sulek fell into disrepute, but even Klaus Heymann (Naxos) ignored him. Maybe no one is capable of performing as well as the music posted here.

There must be conductors and orchestras who could still do a lot more for it. I hardly know any recording of his music which is fully satisfactory in technical / instrumental terms. Šulek's own rendition of his Violin Concerto is quite impressive, his recordings of his 6th are strong but one could imagine still more refined contrasts and polished transitions without losing the drive. Pavle Dešpalj knows his professor's music better than maybe anyone, and his performances are often inspired (his Sinfonia Eroica from a few years ago was impressive), but sometimes a bit heavy-handed. Quite simply, it would also be interesting to hear a (very good) foreign orchestra play this music. As for Klaus Heymann, I think that he is just being ill-informed, Šulek is definitely less obscure than a number of composers championed by his record companies.

Quote
I had the horrifying thought that we may be overhyping his music, but have not seen evidence of that at this forum.

Having tried to promote it for years, I have obviously wondered whether I was not overestimating it myself! Smiley Honestly, I do not think so. Not all of his symphonies can claim to be up there with the 20th century greats, No. 1 is a bit clumsy at times, No. 3 has a wealth of marvellous themes and orchestral writing, but sometimes loses momentum, No. 4 is intimidating but can seem a bit stiff, No. 7 really has some problematic moments even in Dešpalj's hands. Šulek can sometimes seem to be writing "in Šulek's style". However, none of his works I know displays less than sheer talent and forceful eloquence, and at least his 2nd, 6th, maybe also 5th and 8th (despite the more than blatant homage to Bruckner's 9th) are major symphonies, not perfect maybe, but worthy of regular performances. The Last Adam is another strong utterance, the 2nd classical concerto is in a lighter vein but supremely attractive, later sonatas can make for wonderfully refined music-making if treated with the necessary care, and surely his operas must have their strengths as well.

Quote
Again, Rob Barnett was only patronizing in his response to me, perhaps others can get him to be more definitive..
Let's keep up the good fight..

Yes indeed. If Rob Barnett can be so enthusiastic about Ādolfs Skulte, whom I like very much (gripping slow movement in the 9th, for instance), there is no reason why he should overlook Šulek. There are quite a few other near-forgotten, very strong symphonies composed in Central and Eastern Europe after 1945, but very few sets of symphonies as impressive, and consistently at least good and interesting, as Šulek's.

Quote
I see that some Sulek reached BIS and Naxos, but what pitiful examples:
He was a magnificent Orchestrator, so what on earth does anyone gain from a sonata (for trombone, no less.)

Well, at least it shows that he did not rely solely on his orchestral wizardry, as some Croatian commentators almost seem to imply (as if it were the only unquestionable side of his talent).
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ttle
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« Reply #74 on: August 09, 2013, 03:49:42 pm »

Oh, about tragic music written in hard times Smiley
Rob Barnett may indirectly have a point here. Šulek is not, at least not immediately, a typical Croatian composer to whom Croatian musicians and music-lovers could relate in the way Romanians can to Enescu, Bulgarians to Vladigerov (even though not all would), Hungarians to Bartók and Kodály. There are luminous pages in Šulek's music but it is, indeed, deeply serious, the per aspera ad astra motto is often there even when not explicitly quoted, there is not a hint of a kolo, a klapa or anything from popular traditions which would suggest a lighter side (not that all klape are light-hearted, of course). In that sense, Bjelinski is sometimes quite the opposite, a very Mediterranean / Dalmatian composer, even though he hardly quotes folk music. Šulek is not closer to the "continental" neighbours of Croatia, there is none of the Hungarian affinities which can sometimes be traced in Rudolf Brucci's music, to name another great composer of Croatian descent. In naive terms, if you are looking for someone of whom you could say "now this is the Croatian Bartók", then Šulek probably is not your man (Slavenski would look more like it, even though he is claimed both by Croatia and by Serbia).
Not that it is any valid reason for Šulek's neglect, but it might not help.
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