DEJAN LAZIĆ (b.1977) : Concerto in Istrian Style for piano and orchestra op. 18 (2014/2021) world premiere recording ; NATKO DEVČIĆ (1914–97) : Istrian Suite (1948) ; IVAN MATETIĆ RONJGOV (1880–1960) : Istrian Folk Anthem Version for two sopile Version for choir (Arrangement: Dejan Lazić) ; DEJAN LAZIĆ : Alterations on the Istrian Folk Anthem op. 29 (2022). world premiere recording Stjepan Večković, small and large sopila, Croatian Radio and Television Choir, Tomislav Facini, conductor, Dejan Lazić, piano, Munich Radio Orchestra , Ivan Repušić, conductor.
Catalogue Number: 08Z007
Label: BR Klassik
Description: This is a wholly delightful disc of gorgeous neo-romantic music inflected throughout with the subtly unfamiliar modes of the folk music of the Istrian peninsula of Croatia. The main work is Lazić's five-movement piano concerto, lasting a little under 40 minutes. As the composer says: "…although this region lies between Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Austria – in other words, between Slavic, Latin and Germanic spheres of influence – its musical culture and traditions have remained deeply idiosyncratic." All this can be heard in the music, alongside an exuberant celebration of the art of the composer-pianist. The first movement epitomises this aspect of the work, with its eloquent melodiousness, lively energy, mock-heroics and moments of genuine drama and passion, and above all, a sense of extrovert well-being. References to familiar motifs and themes from other works abound - B-A-C-H, D-S-C-H, the Schumann/Brahms F-A-E motto, A-B-E-G-G, hints of the Dies irae, and Rachmaninov, and more besides. These are completely intentional, freely and happily acknowledged by the composer, and serve as little tributes in a playfully collegial spirit. The second movement is a subdued and serious Intermezzo, and the third a lengthy (9 minute) cadenza, a complete movement in its own right. The characteristic harmonization in thirds of Istrian music is very much in evidence here, and the music quotes themes from the first two movements (and the fourth to come). As a performer who has provided his own cadenzas for other composers' concerti, Lazić here displays his skill in integrating a virtuosic tour de force into the structure of a concerto. The fourth movement is a canon and rondo on Istrian folk tunes, canonic imitation being an integral aspect of Istrian folk music and dance. The Rondo begins with a lively theme introduced by two oboes, in characteristic thirds, which is nimbly taken over by the piano. This sumptuously Romantic movement passes through many, varied moods, the perky rondo theme lending the music a lively, scherzo-like feel, which gathers momentum as it approaches what could easily be a resounding conclusion to the concerto. Unexpectedly, though, a brief finale in the energetic spirit of the opening movement provides an even more emphatic ending. Lazić's Alterations are a concise set of romantically full-blooded variations in a variety of musical forms on a folk theme that forms the basis of the Istrian Folk Anthem by Ivan Matetić Ronjgov (1880– 1960). The theme is also presented on the CD played on two sopile (an Istrian folk instrument with a sound like a shawm), and in Lazić's version for choir. Devčić's immensely attractive Istrian Suite incorporates Istrian modes and idioms into four movements which sound rather like Tchaikovsky with a touch of Smetana and perhaps Janačék, though with a distinct Istrian accent rather than a Slavic or Czech one. Stjepan Večković, small and large sopila, Croatian Radio and Television Choir, Tomislav Facini, conductor, Dejan Lazić, piano, Munich Radio Orchestra , Ivan Repušić, conductor.