SIESC 2007 in CROATIA
European Federation of
Very old and valuable is the Dubrovnik Missal from 12th century, now kept in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Written in Latin, in Beneventan script, it contains prayers and some chants unique in Europe. See [Menalo, pp. 34-35], and also Dubrovnik.
The Croats can boast of having two excellent Renaissance composers. The first one is Julije Skjavetic (Schiavetti) from the 16th century. Between 1557 and 1573 he lived in Sibenik, and was conducting a choir in the famous Sibenik Cathedral. He wrote a collection of madrigals for 4-5 voices and a collection of motets for 5-6 voices (both published in Venice in 1563 and 1564 respectively). An important collection of his motets that was held in Dresden, disappeared after the destruction of the city in 1945. Luckily, it was discovered in Krakow in 1993.
Ivan Lukacic (1584-1648), a Renaissance composer born in Sibenik, was conductor and organist in the Split Cathedral. In 1620 he published a collection Sacrae cantiones, containing 27 motets for 1-5 voices accompanied by organs. Lukacic's collection was lost in the course of WW2, and rediscovered in the 1980's at the Jagiellon Library in Krakow, Poland. This is the only known copy.
nas (Our Father) in the
Levakovic's Glagolitic Missal, Rome 1631
Misa u Harvatski Jezik (= Mass in Croatian Language) ,
kept in the Franciscan convent in Sinj, 1644
A true jewel of Croatian culture is Pavlinski zbornik (Paulist collection) from 1644, a collection of church chants. It is important in its language, text and sheet music. Paulists left important traces in Croatian culture during five centuries of their presence in Croatian lands from 13th to 18th centuries, see [Sekulic].
His two sisters were the first women-composers in Croatia.
The verses for the Croatian national anthem Our Beautiful Homeland (Lijepa nasa domovino) were written by a Croatian poet and diplomat Antun Mihanovic (1796-1861).
The music was composed by Josip Runjanin (1821-1878). It is interesting that many Croats who sang it during the former Yugoslav regime (for example on country weddings), risked to be imprisoned. There was a jail not far from Zagreb, nicknamed as "Jail for Singers'' (see [Macan, Sentija]).
Our Beautiful Homeland
is our homeland,
O so fearless, o so gracious,
Our fathers' ancient glory,
May God bless you, live forever!
our only glory,
You are our only treasure,
Yes, we love your plains and valleys,
Yes we love your hills and mountains.
Drava, keep on flowing,
Danube, do not lose your vigor,
Deep blue sea go tell the whole world,
That a Croat loves his homeland.
fields are kissed by
When his oaks are whipped by wild winds,
When his dear ones go to heaven,
Still his heart beats for Croatia!
A famous Ukrainian linguist Agatangel Efimovic Krimski, or Agatangel Kryms'kij (1871-1942), founder of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, and its lifelong president, suggested during the 1934 Congress of Soviet writers that the USSR national anthem should be composed according to Croatian anthem.
The verses for the Austrian national anthem "Land der Berge, Land am Storme", were written by Paula von Preradovic (1887-1951), Austrian writer and poetess, grand-daughter of the Croatian poet Petar Preradovic (1818-1872), with the music of W.A. Mozart.
See the Paula Preradovic's handwriting of music (by Mozart) and verses of Austrian anthem.
der Berge, Land der Ströme,
Land der Äcker, Land der Döme,
Land der Hämmer, zukunftsreich.
Heimat bist du grosser Söhne,
Volk begnadet für das Schöne,
Heiss umfehdet, wild umstritten,
Mutig in die neuen Zeiten,
of mountains, land on the river,
Land of fields, land of cathedrals,
Land of hammers, rich in outlook.
You are the native home of great sons,
A people uniquely gifted for the beautiful,
Much applauded Austria.
Fiercely embattled, ferociously
Courageously we stride
Paula von Preradovic on Austrian postage stamp, issued in 1996
She wrote a lot about Croatia, its people, history and nature, for example "Königslegende" in 1950, "Pave und Pero" in 1940, and "Dalmatinische Sonette" in 1933.
The first national operas among the Slavs were composed by Russians (M. I. Glinka, 1836, 1842), then the Croats follow immediately. Vatroslav Lisinski composed the first Croatian national opera "Ljubav i zloba" ("Love and malice") in 1846. Then follow the Czechs (B. Smetana in 1862), and these three nations are the only ones among the Slavs who have national operas.
Let us mention that Franz Liszt gave piano concerts in Zagreb (see here, in Croatian) and in Samobor, a lovely nearby town, in 1846. Operas composed by Ivan Zajc (1832-1914) and Jakov Gotovac (1895-1982) are performed in concert halls throughout the world. The most famous opera of Jakov Gotovac is Ero s onoga svijeta, which has been translated into 9 languages and performed in about 80 countries.
We cannot avoid the fact that some outstanding historians of Croatian music (like Lovro Zupanovic, Ennio Stipcevic) prove that the first Croatian opera was composed almost 80 years earlier than "Ljubav i zloba" by Lisinski. The name of the composer is Julije Bajamonti (1744-1800). In 1796 he wrote an article "Il medico e la musica" ("The physician and music"), an essay on musical therapy, one of the first in history, in which he showed that music has therapeutic strength. He was the most versatile and fertile Croatian composer of the time (230 compositions, some of them fragmentary). Bajamonti composed sacred music for verses in Latin, Italian, and Croatian: for example La passione de Gesu Cristo (cantata to words of Pietro Metastasio), Requiem (composed on the occasion of death of Rugjer Boskovic, commissioned by the Dubrovnik Senat in 1787), Spiritual songs to Croatian verses. In 1767 he composed an oratorio which represents the first Croatian opera, and according to Lovro Zupanovic, the most beautiful work of its time in this country. He also wrote the first Croatian oratory (La translation di San Diomo), one of the highest achievements of Croatian 18th century music.
Franjo Dugan (1874-1948), studied mathematics and physics, and was outstanding organ player and composer, the Zagreb Cathedral organist since 1910. It is maybe worth mentioning that the French pianist Alfred Brendel, at that time 10 years old, met Dugan in Zagreb, who gave him lessons that he found extremely useful.
Rudolph Matz (1901-1988) is perhaps the greatest cello theoretician in the world (opinion expressed by Leonard Rose). He wrote manuals for cellists that even today are considered among the best for young cellists throughout the world. Matz studied cello, composition and conducting at the Zagreb Academy of Music, and became professor of cello at the University of Zagreb in 1950, where he stayed until his retirement in 1972. He wrote about 300 vocal and instrumental compositions, about 100 of them for cello. He is the author of the monumental 32 volume Prve godine violoncella - First Years of Violoncello. He also wrote the widely used For Young Hands, 54 Short Etudes.
Rudolf Matz, photo from Physicians Singers of Zagreb
Rudolph Matz was a top Croatian sportsman. As a sprinter he won the first place in the Prague in 1921, beating also German sprinters. He was a record holder in Croatia on 100 (for 11 years!), 200, 4x100, and 400 m. He stressed that the work of a music educator is similar to that of a trainer.
Matz served as a jury member at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1966, 1970 and 1974, and at Gaspar Cassado's competition in Florence in 1973. Matz was also a pioneer in establishing the field of music therapy as a profession in Croatia. He founded among other the Zagreb Chamber Orchestra, predecessor of the Zagreb Soloists (I Solisti di Zagreb). Since 1996 an annual International Competition Rudolph Matz is held in Dubrovnik organized by Croatian String Teachers' Association.
Any admirer of classical music certainly knows the Zagreb Soloists, conducted by maestro Tonko Ninic (until 1997).
The Zagreb Soloists were founded in 1954 by a famous Italian violoncellist Antonio Janigro (1918-1989).
Guarneri's famous violin"the King" from 1735,
donated by Zlatko Balokovic to the city of Zagreb
Balokovic's series of concerts in Kopehnagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, Dortmund, The Hague, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Paris, 1928-1929.
Lovro Matacic is laureate of
Milka Trnina (or Ternina, 1863-1941) was a famous Croatian opera singer. According to Giacomo Puccini, author of the famous opera Tosca, she was the best "Tosca" that he had opportunity to listen to (on the London première in 1900); see Milka Ternina at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Only in Convent Garden in London Milka had 56 performances between 1895 and 1906. Also, she was the first Tosca in Great Britain and in the United States.
Did You know that the name of the famous MILKA chocolate, Switzerland, had been given in honour to Milka Trnina, Croatian opera diva?
Mia Slavenska (born in Slavonski Brod, 1914-2002), became ballerina of the Zagreb Opera (1930-33), studied also in Vienna, and joined the Paris Opera in 1933. In London she danced with Anton Dolin before joining the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1938-42). She later formed her own company, Ballet Variante. In 1953 she established the Slavenska-Franklin ballet company with Frederic Franklin. In 1950's she was prima ballerina of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. By the end of her career she was teaching in Los Angeles, California. Slavenska starred in a wonderful French film, La Mort du Cygne (1938).
Mia Slavenska on the London stage
Albe Vidakovic (1914 - 1964), born in the town of Subotica in Backa, was an important composer of Croatian church music. He also collected Croatian musical folklore. The Institute for Church Music in Zagreb is named after him. He belonged to Bunjevci Croats around the city of Subotica. Bunjevci Croats are recognizable by their beautiful ikavian dialect and folklore which is very close to that of Croatian north-east. When he was born, Subotica was the city with the second largest number of Croats after Zagreb, our capital. Even more interesting is the fact that in the period 1900-1904 Subotica was the largest Croatian city, with more Croats than Croatian capital Zagreb!
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which puts on dramatic, music and ballet art, was founded in 1950. A special attention is devoted to the plays of Marin Drzic and William Shakespeare. Especially famous is the Hamlet performance on the old tower of Lovrijenac. Due to its exceptional ambience, offering enormously powerful aesthetic experiences, it is regarded to be the best stage for Hamlet in Europe.
Monika Leskovar (1981), Croatian violoncellist, was the winner of the prestigiousTchaikovsky competition in Japan for 1995. She won the third prize at the 1997 Rostropovic competition in Paris, the second prize at the 1998 Eurovision contest for young instrumentalists, winner of the 1999 Roberto Caruana competition in Milano, Italy, the second prize at the famous ARD competition in 2001.
Radovan Vlatkovic (1962) is a distinguished horn soloist, playing in the Philharmonic Orchestra of Berlin.
Ana Vidovic (1980) is a brilliant guitarists. She won the 1998 International Guitarist Competition "Francisco Tarrega" in Benicasim, Spain, among forty competitors up to the age 32, see Toutes les qualités d'une jeune virtuose at Societé luxembourgeoise de guitare classique. She also won first prizes at "Albert Augustinum International Competition" in Bath, England, at the "Ferdinando Sor Competition" in Rome. She had concerts in London, Paris, Vienna, Salzburg, Rome, Budapest, Warsaw, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, Tronto, San Francisco, Houston, Austin, Dallas, St Luis. More information at vidovic.com.
Watch and listen to Ana's concert
in the Kennedy Center
in Washington DC, 2004.
Katarina Livljanic founded a French international Dialogos Ensemble in Paris in 1996. This vocal ensemble has singers from Norway, Venezuela, Bulgaria, Sweden, France and Croatia, specialized for Middle Age music and liturgical tradition among Mediterranean cultures. Their program includes also old Croatian glagolitic singing from Istria and very archaic singing from the island of Hvar. The glagolitic chant from medieval Croatia has been performed and recorded with great musicological interest.
Photos from www.ensemble-dialogos.org
In 1999 a CD Terra Adriatica was issued, under the title Chants sacrés des terres croates et italiennes au Moyen-Age, Dialogos Ensemble/Katarina Livljanic, Paris, ED 13107. The ensemble has won prestigious awards of French critiques like Diapason d'or and Monde de la Musique.
Katarina Livljanich is lecturing Middle Age music at Sorbonne in Paris. In 1998 she founded a department for interpretation of Gregorian coral at the University of Limerick, Ireland, which is one of very rare in the world. Since 2002 she is artistic adviser of the Festival of Early Music in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
In Croatian folk music very original type of music can be heard on Croatian islands (primarily on Krk, Rab, Cres), region of Vinodol, Kastav and in Istria, based on the famous Istrian scale, sounding "out of tune". Specific way of singing is accompanied by a wind instrument called sopele (or sopile), often linked with church holidays and patron saints. Sopile have a very penetrating sound. See
Sopile are important in many situations (from Zasopimo sopile by a famous sopile player Ivan Radic, Matica hrvatska, Rijeka 1995):
What is Istrian scale can be recognized from tuning of a pair of sopile (deep and high voice, or big and small sopela: vela i mala sopela; the Istrian scale is with toni stretti, or in Croatian - ljestvica tijesnih intervala; information by mr. Ivan Pavacic):
Here we have indeed C## (cisis). Note that we have six pairs of big secunda's.
Over the past several decades only in the USA several hundred tamburitza orchestras were active, with more than 5,000 players. At this moment The Youth Federation of Tamburitza Players in the USA comprises 44 orchestras. Its rich activity is mainly due to the fruitful efforts of the Croatian Fraternal Union (CFU) (Hrvatska bratska zajednica) and its president Bernard Luketich in Pittsburgh. Except in Croatia and the USA, numerous tamburitza orchestras exist among Croatian diaspora in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Scandinavia, South African Republic, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and elsewhere.
The following photo represents Croatian tamburtza players from Lika, Gorski Kotar and Hercegovina, during their stay in Burnett, Washington, in 1919:
Tamburica links in Austria:
The Tamburica Croatian Orchestra, 1887
County of Buffalo, Nebraska, USA
Croats in Punta Arenas, Chile
region), with their tamburitzas
Croatian tamburitza band Tomislav in Punta Arenas, 1905
Hrvatsko tamburasko drustvo Tomislav, Punta Arenas, 1905
(photo from Lj. Antic, Hrvati u J. Americi, Zagreb, 1991, pp 182 and 266, )
It is not widely known that Leo Fender, a famous builder of rock guitars (Fender Stratocaster), used the shape of a Croatian tamburitza head (more precisely, of the so called "brac" or "bas-prim", see below) for his characteristic guitar head. This was a result of Leo's acquaintance with a Croatian room-mate in his student days, who was a tamburitza player. Information by Nenad Bach, who mentioned this this story on his CD "I love losers" (...Leo Fender mentioned in an interview for Musician magazine that he was inspired by the headstock of the tamburitza when he designed the Fender Stratocaster...). And every song on the CD is accompanied with the tamburitza play. Listen to his Can We Go Higher?.
CroatiaFest 2005, Seattle, USA, Photo - Jal Schrof
Tamburaski zbor "Kluba uciteljica" (Tamburitza orchestra of Women's Professor's Club, Vrbnik, island of Krk), source: Prof. Mira Katunar, Vrbnik - grad "popi i mestric", Vrbnicki Vidici, p 16, 2006, Vrbnik (photo around 1900?)
Croatia - Austria, an overview of cultural and historical relations - a sketch