JOSIP SLAVENSKI (1896-1955): Youth - 4 Songs for String Orchestra (Croatian Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra; Mladen Tarbuk), Nocturne for Orchestra (RTZ Symphony Orchestra; Oskar Danon), Chaos for Large Orchestra and Organ (RTZ SO; Igor Kuljerić), Music for Orchestra (Harmonies and Disharmonies) (Croatian RTV SO; Tarbuk), Mass for Male Choir, Water Springs from the Rock for Choir (RTZ Zagreb Choir; Vladimir Kranjčević).
Catalogue Number: 06R049
Label: Cantus (Croatia)
Reference: 988 984 9999 2
Description: One of the more innovative Croatian composers of his time, Slavenski’s work is divided into two periods, one of national romanticism (c.1920-25) and a much more interesting time which ended roughly as Europe was plunging toward the Second World War. The little secular choral piece, the 14-minute mass (Catholic but with a Slavic flavor), the lovely, lyrical Nocturne and Youth, a string orchestra version of songs for male chorus, are from the early period. How to describe Chaos (1932) and Music for Orchestra (1936 - its two movements are Music of Harmony - Andante pastorale and Music of the Storm, Roar and Thunder - Allegro vandalico!) defeated the Croatian-to-English translator of the notes and defeats me a little as well (it also electrified me): machine music? Constructivism a decade or more after the fact? Sound clouds propelled by pulsating rhythms? You’ll think of Mosolov’s Iron Foundry and/or Honegger’s Pacific 231; you’ll also think that Slavenski was lucky to be writing these in a non-Communist Yugoslavia because, if it had been the Soviet Union, he’d have spent the rest of his life collecting folk songs in Kirghizstan.