WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 2011 NO. 21
CROATIA ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 1
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WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE FOREWORD
This edition of the ISCM World New Music Magazine focusses on Croatia, and the ISCM World Music Days Festival held in Zagreb in April 2011. The festival was hosted by the Music Biennale Zagreb, celebrating its 50 year anniversary. It was a great pleasure for the ISCM to again revisit Zagreb, the scene of the 2005 ISCM World Music Days Festival, and delight in the many wonderful performances of many new works. The organisation of the festival was impeccable, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of the Croatian Composersâ€™ Society, and the many people involved in in presenting a successful festival. Reports on the festival are included in these pages, along with articles about the new music scene in Croatia, and interviews with leading local figures. On behalf of the ISCM Executive Committee, and all ISCM members, I hope that you enjoy the perspectives presented in these pages! John Davis President, ISCM Executive Committee
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World New Music Magazine ISCM c/o Gaudeamus Muziekweek Loevenhoutsedijk 301 3552 XE Utrecht The Netherlands Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.iscm.org Croatian Composers’ Society Postal address: Berislavíceva 9 HR-10 000 ZAGREB, Croatia Email: email@example.com Internet: www.hds.hr Copyright is with the authors. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission from the authors. Editors Nina Čalopek & Dina Puhovski. Photos in this issue by Petar Janjić, Vedran Metelkon and from the MBZ Archives. Cover Image installation by Maria Panayotova. Typeset and design Philippa Horn. Additional Translations by Karolina Rugle and Nina Jukić.
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World New Music Magazine is published annually since 1991 by the International Society for Contemporary Music [ISCM]. The magazine is distributed worldwide by way of membership organisations of the ISCM and by the ISCM. ISSN: 1019-7117 First printed in Croatia in 2012.
No. 21, 2011
International Society for Contemporary Music
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WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE Foreword John Davis, President ISCM
Greetings from the Croatian Composers’ Society’s General Secretary and Croatian ISCM Delegate Antun Tomislav Šaban 8 A glance from behind the scenes from Mirna Gott, the 2011 WNMD Producer 10 An interview with Ivo Josipović, on Music Biennale Zagreb by Jana Haluza 14 Interview with Berislav Šipuš, Artistic Director of the Music Biennale Zagreb 2011 by Jure Ilić
Personal taste did not play a big role by Luc Brewaeys 20 Retro is ‘in’ by Marko Ruždjak
There were works we all agreed upon. ISCM-IAMIC Young Composer Award 2011 report from Peter Swinnen, Vice President ISCM 22 2011 winner of the ISCM-IAMIC Young Composer Award Chiu-Yu Chou from Taiwan 23 Radio interviews from the Festival by Petra Pavić
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Contents No. 21, 2011, Croatia The Tamburitza Atmosphere, a short review of MBZ and the ISCM World New Music Days by Siniša Leopold, Chief Conductor of the Croatian Radio and Television Tamburitza Orchestra 27 Zagreb Soloists and contemporary music: 2011 WNMD 29 The New Sax Quartet, on their 2011 WNMD performance 31 Anything under the sun by Petra Pavić, Zarez Magazine, May 2011 33
Croatian Contemporary Music: An Insight by Nikša Gligo 37 The Modern, Modernism and Modernist Classicism in Croatian 20th Century Music by Eva Sedak 54 Dubravko Detoni: From my WNMD diaries
2011 World New Music Days in Zagreb, Croatia 82 The ISCM World New Music Days Festival Reports Report 1. by Frank J. Oteri 84 Report 2. by Angie Mullins 88 ISCM Addresses
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Greetings from the Croatian Composers’ Society’s General Secretary and Croatian ISCM Delegate Antun Tomislav Šaban
To host the World New Music Days Festival twice in six years is both an honour as well as an obligation. An honour, because welcoming a festival of this calibre for the second time shows us that the job was well done the first time, an obligation because, naturally, we strived to put on an even better show than the time before. The Croatian Composers’ Society has a long tradition of caring for, and encouraging the production and reproduction of new contemporary music, manifested in many festivities, projects, scholarships and concerts we organize year for year, the oldest and biggest festival being the Music Biennale Zagreb Festival (MBZ). As the organization of the World New Music Days was being considered and planned, it became increasingly clear the Music Biennale Zagreb would be the perfect festival host. With its tradition of 50 years, established and ever new and young audiences, partners in all relevant cultural institutions, the Biennale provided the ideal setting for the World New Music Days. The two festivals complemented each other greatly. The festival theme was Mirabilia Memorabilia, the Memorable Marvels. While remembering and cherishing the great contemporary works certainly is a part of our ‘core business’, the two festivals primarily act as platforms for the new creative musical energy happening around the globe. This was a strong guideline for us as we welcomed composers from almost all ISCM sections in concert and/or as delegates during a full week of the most varied musical happenings from minimalistic solos and duos to the lavish orchestral performances and everything one can imagine in between.
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On behalf of the Croatian Composers’ Society and the entire organisational team, let me congratulate all of the participants: composers, performers and audiences alike for taking in the programme on offer, who by adding their own atmosphere, strive and joy, made it a contemporary music celebration to be remembered!
L to R: Berislav Sipus (Aristic Director, MBZ), Antun Tomislav Šaban (General Secretary, Croatian Composers’ Society), John Davis (President, ISCM).
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A glance from behind the scenes Mirna Gott, 2011 WNMD Producer
The WNMD 2011 in Zagreb was hosted by the Music Biennale Zagreb (MBZ), one of the oldest contemporary music festivals in the region. The occasion was a grand one, as the MBZ celebrated its 50th birthday. The setting was festive and the WNMD received a warm welcome in Zagreb. Creating a co-produced festival has its pitfalls, as we, as organizers, strived to avoid stressing one of the two. We tried to give both festivals the importance and attention they deserve while blending their common aspects to create an unforgettable and unified festival atmosphere for the attending audience. Being contemporary music festivals, the goal was one and the same – presenting recent contemporary music. The selection process was, however, very much different for the two. On one side, MBZ with its artistic director produces the program choosing and commissioning new works to create a homogenous and tailor made event according to the festival theme, reinvented for each new edition. This year’s festival revolved as much around the 50 years of anthology – composers like Kelemen, Cage and Stravinsky, all of which led to the MBZ as we know it today – as well as an opportunity to honor such an occasion by commissioning 3 new operas and 2 new ballets from Croatian composers (Foretić, Drakulić, Đurović, Seletković, Skender). The new works were premiered at 5 national theatres across Croatia during the festival, among many other projects and concerts. This was a new strategy for the MBZ, as it ‘spilled’ over the margins of its hometown Zagreb into 4 other cities across Croatia – Split, Rijeka, Osijek and Varaždin. The ISCM-WNMD, on the other hand, has a different programming concept. Its main objective is to select a program from the received submissions by the 57 ISCM sections and individual composers. The 2011 festival received 416 submissions from both ISCM sections as well as individual applicants. After having sorted all the materials, we embarked on a jury selection process. The international jury consisted of renowned composers and musicologists from 10 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
around Europe and lasted 5 days, during which the panel carefully examined all the works presented. It was a difficult process, as many different criteria were to be fulfilled – choosing by quality, but also trying to accomplish the goal for all ISCM sections to be represented in the program. Selecting works using this criteria resulted in an abundant and extremely varied program within the structure of the prescribed categories. The 14 festival categories were chosen to allow for a diverse program – from the wondrous colours of the symphony orchestra, gentle sounds of a saxophone octet, the precision of the percussion ensemble and the infinite possibilities within the categories of sound installations and electronic music, just to mention a few. The categories also presented the opportunity for unusual, not so obvious combinations of instruments to merge their sounds into an interesting, new experience (string quartet with electric guitar, for example). The work and contribution of the jury members – Luc Brewaeys, Benet Casablancas, Lojze Lebič, Marko Ruždjak and Nikša Gligo – did not end with the announcement of the official WNMD 2011 program. The composers by profession (all except Nikša Gligo) were featured in the festival program at MBZ concerts and the WNMD Closing Ceremony (performed by ensembles Zeitfluss from Graz and MD7 from Ljubljana). Musicologist Nikša Gligo made his knowledge and experience available to the organizing team – a very valuable asset due to his involvement in the MBZ in different ways since 1973 and in 2005 he actively participated in the organization of the WNMD in Zagreb that year. We are very grateful for their participation and artistic contribution. As the first guests and participants began arriving at the festival – 69 pieces in 14 categories were chosen, dates and venues confirmed, approximately 150 ISCM delegates, composers and guests were accommodated, all contracts were signed and every foreseeable technicality accounted for. Zagreb was the Mirna Gott, 2011 WNMD Producer, with the clocks assembled first festival to accommodate the for the ...Wachet auf...die Stimme! installation by Ülo Krigul. ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 11
new WNMD rules and regulations, which posed no inconvenience to the organizers, as the new rules were the only ones to be considered, being that the festival is organized in a different city, by a different organizer every year. However, the ISCM sections tried to adjust with more or less difficulty in their submission process. It is of great importance for the sections to bear in mind that submissions through various categories, increases the chance for one of the pieces to be selected. One of the problems we noticed in the submissions was the insufficient exploitation of the broad variety of categories by any one section. So it happened that a single section would submit 6 pieces in only 2 different categories, or 4 pieces for the same category. By submitting such disadvantageous combination of works, the sections are not helping the jury complete the task of selecting the highest quality works to create the best possible festival program and are also running a greater risk of not being represented in the program at all. Submitting a range of pieces spreading over as many categories as possible, poses a much more interesting task on the jury and creates an opportunity for the section to be included in the program with more than just one composition. Apart from the main submissions’ material – the music – the sections (and the individual applicants) had very different interpretations on what the accompanying documents were and in some cases it was not easy to get a hold of a short biography and a photo from a composer. On the whole, however, everyone involved showed patience, understanding and willingness to work out any and all the everyday issues of putting on a show such as is WNMD! Performing contemporary music has an advantage in that its composers can actively participate in the rehearsal process to ensure a more authentic and satisfying performances for themselves, the performers as well as the audience. In other words, the performers do not have to guess the composers’ intention – they can just ask! The participating ensembles and performers were mostly Croatian-based, which meant bringing the two parties together could only be arranged immediately prior to the performance. This proved to be beneficiary in spite of the possibility for any particular composer to attend only one or two rehearsals of his/her work. The feedback was generally positive on both sides – the ensembles were more secure in their interpretation of the new pieces, which were often very complex and required broadening the confinement of the traditional performing techniques; and the composers felt better comprehended in their work. A total of 54 composers actively contributed to the festival, not only through their works, but also with their input at the rehearsals and as valued, professional audience at the concerts. Besides the artistic part of the festival, the WNMD also hosts the administrative section – the annual ISCM General Assembly (GA) sessions – which is the ‘behind the scene’ engine and initiator of the entire event. This is a once a year opportunity for the representatives of each national section 12 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
to meet, as they travel from every continent to attend the WNMD festival. This year’s GA were located on the top floor of the Westin Hotel overlooking the city, where all delegates were lodged, and just across the street from one of the concert venues. This central position allowed more efficient time management – a very important aspect for the participants and guests who wished to attend all performances, concerts or GA session stretching from 9am often until midnight. The 5 days of GA (9-13 hours) were well used for discussion on pending subjects, exchange of experience and announcements of the future WNMD festivals. In spite of the tight schedule, we managed to accept the invitation to visit the office of the President of Republic of Croatia Ivo Josipović with all delegates. This was very moving, as Mr. Josipović has been an ISCM delegate himself, before being elected president. Meeting up with his former colleagues and friends was a formal, at the same time intimate occasion – a time to reminisce in mutual memories and exchange best wishes for the future. By the end of the festival week, some friendships were deepened; some new ideas and collaborations were being sparked by the intense festival atmosphere. What was most memorable were the smiling faces of all involved – delegates, composers, audience, performers, ensembles as well as organizers alike. It was very pleasing to see the concert venues fill up with curious, but also critical and professional audience. I hope the concerts presented at this year’s WNMD gave a good insight to the current streams of the contemporary music today and that they also provoked discussions and ideas for the future. We will be watching closely as the upcoming editions of the World New Music Days festival in Belgium, Viena-Bratislava and then Wroclaw step up onto the stage!
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An interview with Ivo Josipović, on Music Biennale Zagreb Interview by Jana Haluza
A President proud of his Biennale years This year's Music Biennale Zagreb was the first one, after twenty years, not to be led by Professor Ivo Josipović PhD as its director. Today he is the President of the Republic of Croatia and the festival was held under his High Patronage. Jana Haluza: Mr. Josipović, at the last Music Biennale you were still its president, and this year you are the President of Croatia. How much did your 18-year long experience in leading the MBZ influence your presidential candidature and how much does it help you in your presidential duties? President Josipović: I must admit that my work experience at the Croatian Composers’ Society in general, and especially at the Music Biennale Zagreb, which I had led from 1991 until 2009, was of great importance to me. I had constantly been communicating with many people, in the country as well as abroad, and I have developed certain organizational skills that served me well in the campaign, as well as now in my presidential duties. Nevertheless, of course, those are completely different kinds of responsibilities. Some other skills, contacts and abilities become more prominent now. JH: As a composer amongst presidents and a president amongst composers, are you trying to bring the world of politics and the world of music closer together? How far away from each other are they for you? PJ: That depends on how much free time I have got, which means that these two worlds are very far away from each other right now. While I was still running for president I had said that I will compose an opera about the life of John Lennon, but I think that will be impossible after all. Being a president is a 24-hour job. JH: Did the so-called ‘urban legends’ about the Biennale, such as pouring water into a piano or playing on a bicycle, as we can see on one historical Biennale photo of you, help increase or decrease the popularity of the Festival? 14 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Clockwise from left: Ivo Josipović, President of the Republic of Croatia; Olga Smetanova & President Ivo Josipović; Jim Hiscotts, President Ivo Josipović, Elizabeth Bihl, Brian Current; John Davis & the ISCM Delegation.
PJ: These, so to say, excess situations – I remember a performance where plants had “performed” at the Lisinski concert hall and, yes, I did play on a bicycle – they are, after all, exceptional cases at the Biennale. The great majority of concerts are conventional, but still there are always some interesting things to be found, certain experiments worth hearing. They can attract the audience ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 15
and while one part of it will meet them with approval, another part of the audience will find them unpleasant, and another one will remain indifferent. But this is all peculiar to the nature of art. JH: How much influence did Biennale have on your own composing? PJ: Biennale has always meant a lot to me, already in my student days. As a student and later on, I used to regularly attend the Biennale, as well as its sister festival, the Warsaw Autumn, a somewhat older event that is being held every year. It was masterly organized by the Poles and you could really hear the whole world of contemporary music there. I can proudly say that, today, Music Biennale Zagreb is surely ahead of the Warsaw Autumn, and I am sure that our friends the Poles will not mind me saying this. Biennale did not only have great influence on me, but also on all generations of composers and women composers (there is more and more of them today), not only because, through it, they had the chance to get to know other composers’ work, but also because it gave them the possibility to present their own. I was not taking advantage of my position as festival director, so you can count on the fingers of one hand my compositions that have been performed at the Biennale. For me, the Festival did not serve as a platform for presenting my own music. It rather served as a place where I could see and learn about what others are doing. JH: Still, maybe it is not by chance that at this year’s Biennale, the one you are not directly connected to anymore, an early composition of yours, Epicurus’ Garden, will be performed by Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the main representatives of the famous Polish School of Composition, which has been formed around the Warsaw Autumn. He will conduct the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra on Friday, 15 April 2011. PJ: Maestro is truly an exceptional composer. He started as one of the founders of the so-called Polish School, characterized by a ‘hard’ sound, dissonances, clusters, and what some would call ‘squeaking’ and ‘wailing’. But, it also brought some exceptional pieces, such as the Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima or the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, which are truly the highlights of the 20th century music. What is interesting is that Penderecki simply changed his style of composing some fifteen or twenty years ago. He had moved away from the avant-garde of the so-called Polish School and has come closer to something similar to Romanticism, where he is equally successful. Those who admire the music from his earlier phase are being shocked now, whereas some other, new people are becoming enthusiastic about it. So, this is not a crucial factor, because every music style has its admirers and its opponents. In each case, maestro Penderecki is one of the greatest living musicians today and I am very glad that he is coming here to conduct the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra. It is a great honor for me that he will also be performing a composition of mine. 16 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Interview with Berislav Šipuš, Artistic Director of the Music Biennale Zagreb, 2011 Interview by Jure Ilić Jure Ilić: As the idea of the Biennale was starting to take shape in the early 60s, what was the political climate in Yugoslavia and Zagreb at the time and how did the Biennale’s founding fathers, Kelemen and Malec reflect on this? Berislav Šipuš: Milko Kelemen spoke about the ‘operation Biennale’ and the then-prevailing climate of controlled isolation many times. Although Milko spoke of ‘primitivism of music and other artistic languages of the time’, there are also different opinions. Both Kelemen and Malec have noticed a lack of information that caused a kind of ‘tagging along’ behind all the main drifts and we should take off our hats to Kelemen's determination, vision and boldness in starting such a festival. JI: Can you describe Kelemen’s strategy with the local politicians while preparing the first editions of the Biennale and how did he in turn communicate with and attract the audiences at that early stage? BS: His strategy towards the politicians was ‘to make them believe that they would have turned out to be the ideal founders of the festival’. He knew that type of a festival would have good feedback in the West and that they would quickly hear about it in the East. The political Yugoslavia of the time encouraged precisely that kind of life and tried to be or at least tried to find ‘a third way’ of social order, relations, production, and also of cultural life. As for the audience, I think he went in two directions: one was the area of exploration, ‘avant-garde’, and as such, it was supposed to shock, and to draw attention to the public and to audiences through scandals. In the other he brought tried out and already well known compositions and musical ‘products’ like Stravinsky, Berg, Schönberg, performed equally well by eminent ensembles and soloists.
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Berislav Šipuš, Artistic Director
JL: When did the world famous musicians and composers start coming to Zagreb and when was it Zagreb became an important destination for them? BS: Great names of 20th century music started arriving in Zagreb in 1961, at the first MBZ, and have never stopped coming: Messiaen, Stockhausen, Shostakovich, Britten, Strawinsky, Cage, Berio, Penderecki, Lutosławski, Xenakis, Maderna, Kagel, Globokar, Lucier, Schnebel, Reich, Murail, Maxwell Davis, Birtwistle, Schaeffer, Nyman, and Cerha. These are the ‘stars’ of our Biennale, the stars of the past and of the present, and there are many composers who have visited MBZ who are high on the world music charts.
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JL: How do you think your predecessors contributed to the position of the artistic directors of MBZ? What were the differences in their leadership of MBZ? BS: I learned from the best: Academician Stanko Horvat, my teacher and professor of composition, who unfortunately passed away, and academician Nikša Gligo, PhD. I have to mention Eva Sedak and Erika Krpan because all of them were my ‘biennale university’, which I started in 1986 as a producer, member of the Artistic Council of MBZ, and I did this job until I left to go abroad in 1989. In the fall of 1997 I started working as the artistic director of MBZ along with my colleague Ivo Josipović as the head director of MBZ and Sanda Vojković as the technical director. I know that my predecessors, artistic directors and program secretaries, such as Igor Kuljerić, Krešimir Šipuš or Milko Kelemen, each had their own way of thinking about MBZ and that was their greatest gift! That was precisely the ideal I wanted to take away with me. JL: For over a decade you've been collaborating with the current President Dr. Ivo Josipović. Could you describe your collaboration? BS: Ivo and I work very well together because we are completely different, both in character and temperament. But our ideas were matching; it's not for nothing that we studied composition and organizing a festival with the same professor, Stanko Horvat. Both of us had a great energy, sometimes even too much, and in this entirely adrenaline-filled atmosphere Ivo knew how to cope with my outbursts and provocations, and wait for me to come back and continue together. In any case, it was a wonderful experience. We miss him as a musical intellectual and a guiding hand through the turbulent sea of financing such a huge project as this. On the other hand, we all supported him in his intention of running for President of Republic of Croatia. We knew he would leave the Croatian Composers’ Society and the Biennale, but I know he is aware that today MBZ has a very good and well organized team of associates and creators of the Festival. JL: How do you see the situation in contemporary music in the world? BS: The situation is good and there is a lot of composing happening. Opera is alive! There is a crisis in terms of a lack of audiences in concert halls. The countries that have a strategy for culture development, and a strategy for educating their society, which Croatia does not have, are fighting this problem. The enemy has a name – consumerism and poverty of spirit, and those are the biggest friends of political manipulators who want to create a society in which a human being ceases to be human, and a shell is all that’s left of him, so this ‘something’ is still alive, but with no spirit, no questions, doubts, inspiration and ideals, and with no values. Therefore we need the Music Biennale Zagreb in the next 50 years, too...
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Personal taste did not play a big role Luc Brewaeys Luc Brewaeys, a distinguished Belgian composer and professor of composition at the University of Rotterdam, whose works are performed at festivals of contemporary music and in concert halls, commented on the four-day consultation of the 2011 ISCM WNMD jury (Zagreb, October 2011), as follows: â€˜It was very strenuous because we had to review around 420 scores in just four days and listen to countless electronic compositions (out of which we have, unfortunately, come across only three good ones). We are very tired, but this was also a good experience, as we have discovered a lot as well. We had to Luc Brewaeys be neutral in our selections, study in detail the manner in which a particular composition was created, and evaluate its technical quality, which is just as important as the artistic. Needless to say that our affinities, the affinities of the members of the panel, differ quite a lot, but we almost always agreed on the selection. I believe that our personal taste, fortunately, did not play a big role in doing so. In any case, according to the ISCM's Statute we had to choose compositions of different styles, which we have tried to do and which, I believe, we have succeeded in doing: there is a wide range of diversified works, all of which have a certain degree of quality. Personally, I am a big fan of orchestral music, so I found the greatest pleasure in selecting the compositions for orchestra. This was the category with the greatest number of candidates, but due to the conditions of this Festival, we could only choose six works. I am especially glad that we have all agreed right away on the score by one female composer whose composition completely thrilled us. It is like rock music, a very powerful and vivacious composition.â€™ 20 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Retro is ‘in’ Marko Ruždjak Academician Marko Ruždjak, distinguished Croatian composer and professor of composition at the Academy of Music in Zagreb, played host and served as the president of the 2011 ISCM WNMD jury. According to him, this offered an interesting view of a change of trends in contemporary music: ‘There are no big changes, everything already exists, but we had to choose the best. Perhaps innovation was most evident in segments in which individual national sections of the ISCM did not make a pre-selection. Composers who have already made a name for themselves often enter the competition, but some composers can also submit their works outside of the ISCM national sections. We have selected many compositions out of those submitted by the composers’ themselves as we have really looked for quality and innovation, as much as that is possible today. As for the current trends in composing, I would say that in the past decades we used to hear quite a lot of the so-called ‘sweet’ music, augmented ninth chords and such, but there is none of that in the composing aesthetics now, it is completely gone. Out of some four hundred compositions there was almost none in this style. This trend is ‘out’, but a new trend is yet to take shape; maybe in a few years it will be more prominent. At the moment, I can just say that the aesthetics which was typical of the mid-1990s is favoured once again. We could say that retro from some 15 years ago is ‘in’ at the moment.’ Marko Ruždjak passed away on February 23rd, Menachem Zur and Marko Ruždjak 2012, and is greatly missed. ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 21
There were works we all agreed upon ISCM-IAMIC Young Composer Award 2011 Peter Swinnen, ISCM Vice President It is a great pleasure to be in Zagreb right now. I have personally followed the World New Music Days for the past few years, and it is interesting to see a continuity of sorts, but there have been big changes as well. A lot depends on the city hosting the Festival. For example, it would be very difficult to compare last year's Australian WNMD to this year's in Zagreb. There is also a matter of cooperation of different sections. Certain tendencies come back, things evolve, but slowly – the history of music wasn't written in five years, either. I am very happy with the whole week. It was a dense programme, having to see two or three concerts a day, with many contemporary pieces, but I enjoyed it! I was the Chairman of the ISCM-IAMIC Young Composer Award 2011 jury and we had twenty works by young composers to evaluate. First of all, the quality of the works is of an exceptionally high level. On the other hand, this makes sense because the international juries had already made a preselection. It is not easy anymore, with the young composers, if you compare it with the situation from twenty years ago. There are no obvious connections between the place a composer comes from and their aesthetics. The connections disappear, because of increased travelling, and studying in different places – you learn different aesthetics in different locations. I do feel, however, there is something else happening with the younger generation – you can see their attempt to redefine who they are, in this globalized world, and to reconnect with their past, or their roots. It is difficult to find Peter Swinnen, ISCM Vice President 22 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
a specific example, but something is definitely happening. Of course, a lot of information is exchanged; everyone knows everything about everyone because of Youtube, Facebook, etc. The whole world knows what is happening where, and yet you can also feel that people still have the urge to confirm their identity and find an answer to the questions, who they are and where they come from, what their place in this world is. The members of the ISCM-IAMIC Young Composer Award 2011 jury come from different continents, and, although I speak of globalization, you can still notice their different tastes, naturally. The works that are highly esteemed in one country need not be in another. It was very interesting, however, that there were works we all agreed upon. This means that those works will be highly valued anywhere in the world. This is especially true of the winning piece, by the young Taiwanese composer Chiu-Yu Chou. Her string quartet is fascinating. Three movements, very poetic, the construction of beautiful images. She is really a promising talent. I look forward to tracking her development and seeing how it happens over the next few years.
Chiu-Yu Chou from Taiwan, the winner of the ISCM-IAMIC Young Composer Award, 2011, on her winning piece, String Quartet no. 1, and the 2012 commission I like to make instrumentations. I really tried to create different stratifications in my piece. I also wanted to use Asian musical materials, although I am not sure the audience was able to define them as such. I divided the quartet into movements – the first one is, I Chiu-Yu Chou hope, very tense, the musicians really want to get forward, but they face many obstacle, and yet they somehow make it to the second movement, which is so fast it explodes in the end. The third one is really serene. I am really excited about the commission for a new work – this means my piece will be performed in the near future. I am still not sure which line-up I will be writing for, I think I’ll do a bit of research. It has been a while since I have written for a mixed ensemble. In fact, in recent times, I have written either for a string quartet, a wind quintet, or a string orchestra. I think this will be a challenge for me. In any case, this is great news! Both articles are from interviews by Petra Pavić’s for the Izlog sadašnjice, Showcase of the Present programme on Croatian Radio. ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 23
Radio interviews from the Festival Interviews by Petra Pavić
Marcel Wierckx (Canada/Netherlands), composer of Zin Tuig (Sense Machine) I wrote my piece for a good friend, Turkish guitarist Timusin Sahin. He mostly plays jazz, but also contemporary music. I wanted to create a piece that posed a challenge to the player’s technique, because he is an absolute virtuoso. At the same time, I wanted to refer to deeper philosophical ideas. I had been researching the ideas on the division of the spirit and the mind and I had come across Descartes. I thought, let’s see how I could incorporate these ideas into my work. Video images were the clearest way of showing these ideas. The work’s structure alternates between the composed sections and the improvised ones. The same is true of the rhythmic sections, the ones where you can definitely feel a pulse, and the ones with an open time flow. I think the performance was very good. The Croatian guitar player, Danijel Jurišić has worked hard on this piece, he played it really well, and he is a wonderful musical collaborator. I want to motivate him to include more contemporary music in his repertoire because he is very promising.
Akira Takaoka (Japan), composer of Responsorium
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I started to work on this piece in 2009. I have always been interested in organizing the intervals and the pitch. This time, I wanted to integrate the melodies of chorale into a twelve-tone row, so that I can create new harmonies. This was the basic idea and I used my own software for this. Croatian mezzo-soprano, Martina Gojčeta Silić was excellent! We only had limited time available for rehearsals and I think she, the soloist, has done an excellent job!
Hugi Guðmundsson (Iceland), composer of Händelusive It all started as a commission from the Iceland Radio, they wanted a piece for Händel Day. They also wanted to get a new perspective on Händel. I had to decide what to do, and the ensemble that premiered the piece gave me the idea to use actual sections of Händel’s music. I studied a lot of his music and I chose three moments I was going to use as inspiration. This was followed by a thinking process, thinking about how to use the music – you can’t improve on Händel, it just had to be something new. Subconsciously, I assume, because I had been listening to his Water Music, I started to think about the water and music disolving in it and being reassembled again. Most of the intervals Hugi Guðmundsson I used were Händel’s, only treated differently.
Tõnu Kõrvits (Estonia), composer of Kaanon/Canon My work was composed about a year ago. My wife runs a children’s choir and a young people’s choir, and I wanted to give her a special birthday present. Since I’m a composer, I thought, maybe writing her a piece would be the most special thing ... and I wrote this Canon. It is really a very simple work, based on a simple mathematical pattern. It is a four-part work, with no lyrics, you can choose any vowel to sing it on. My goal was to write a clear, natural work. I am very satisfied with the performance Tõnu Kõrvits and Mirjam Tally of my work. The Zvjezdice Girls’ Choir is a wonderful choir. I am most impressed by the way their conductor Zdravko Šljivac works with them, and how he manages to pull out the beauty of each tone. It is astonishing. I am very content and happy.
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B. J. Brooks (USA), composer of Cadence Fantasy My work was written a year ago, or so. I had a good friend I used to play with in the Drumcore Ensemble – a brass and percussion ensemble, in 1995. This friend was one of the best percussionists in the world. I was fascinated by the rhythms he was able to create. I want to include music in his rhythms. He sent me some sketches, and I marked the pitch, above the rhythmic figures. The structure is designed to lead toward unification – to the B. J. Brooks and the Croatian Army last two minutes of the piece, in which all the Symphony Wind Orchestra components come together. The first third of the work brings forth rhythmic and melodic ideas, the middle section brings a slowing down, in which you hear more of the melody than the rhythmic components, and in the end, as I said, everything comes together, it is all very hectic and exciting and it rounds up the piece. The Croatian Army Symphony Wind Orchestra has done an excellent job! You could hear they are not afraid of playing loudly when it’s necessary, and I really think the audience could hear those splendid sounds.
Julie Harting (USA), composer of Catacombs of Light I am very happy to be in Zagreb, and the XL Tuba Quartet was phenomenal! I played the tuba as a child, which would seem odd to you if you could see me – I am a tiny woman. My father played the tuba, so I did, too, and I developed an affinity towards the deep, heavy brass sound, a Wagnerian sound of sorts, I XL Tuba Quartet find it very exciting. This was one of the ideas for my work: dense, loud, deep clusters. The work develops very slowly, with a few gradual half-note motifs, then picks up speed in the middle, only to return to zen. I usually start to work on my pieces with a motivic idea – here, the motif only appears after everything else has happened, in a small epilogue, and it comes out with a real attitude. Article from interviews by Petra Pavić’s for the Izlog sadašnjice, Showcase of the Present programme on Croatian Radio.
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The Tamburitza Atmosphere Siniša Leopold, Chief Conductor of the Croatian Radio and Television Tamburitza Orchestra A short review of MBZ and the ISCM World New Music Days by Siniša Leopold, Chief Conductor of the Croatian Radio and Television Tamburitza Orchestra, which performed at the 2011 ISCM WNMD’s Festival. The Croatian Radio and Television Tamburitza Orchestra is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. The Orchestra was founded with the aim of systematically recording traditional Croatian music to serve the needs of the Croatian Radio and, later on, the Croatian Television, as well as to permanently archive music pieces by Croatian composers. In the Radio’s archives there are thousands of recordings by this notable ensemble. The wide and varied possibilities of tamburitza, the most widespread and the most popular traditional instrument in Croatia, as well as amongst Croats in neighbouring countries and all across the globe, are still the main focus of the orchestra’s work. In the past twenty years, the Croatian Radio and Television Tamburitza Orchestra has played concerts on all continents. The orchestra’s specific qualities are its high performance level and an original and varied repertoire – from folk music to transforming the traditional instrument into a consistent part of large show and symphony orchestras. The most often performed pieces are those by Croatian composers, originally written for a tamburitza orchestra. The orchestra has also been performing, with great success, both popular and classical music, as well as evergreens, film music, ethno music and jazz. The Croatian Radio and Television Tamburitza Orchestra is the only professional ensemble of its kind in the region, but it is also a rare example on a world scale. This has been proved at the ensemble’s many guest performances in North and South America, Australia, Africa, as well as in many European countries.
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Dic-Lun Fung, Josip Magdić, Dubravko Detoni, Tomislav Uhlik (composers), Siniša Leopold (Chief Conductor) and the Croatian Radio and Television Tamburitza Orchestra
At this year’s Biennale / ISCM World New Music Days, the orchestra performed the most recent pieces by Croatian composers. The program presented the tamburitza as a contemporary music instrument on which demanding new music is to be played with highest brilliancy. Each of the composers presented a characteristic piece composed especially for a tamburitza orchestra. At the end of the concert, a piece by a young Chinese composer Dic-Lun Fung was premiered. His multi-movement composition And the Strings Resound was well received by the audience, as well as fellow musicians. This performance was an event of historical significance for tamburitza music. It was for the first time ever that a tamburitza piece performed was written by a composer who does not come from Croatia or its region. With this concert, the Croatian Radio and Television Tamburitza Orchestra successfully entered the world of new music. The orchestra and Siniša Leopold, its Chief Conductor, are continuing their work on the preservation of Croatian musical heritage, as well as on systematically presenting contemporary music pieces by Croatian composers. 28 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Zagreb Soloists and contemporary music: 2011 WNMD Taking part in this year's World New Music Days in Zagreb has certainly been a special and interesting experience for the ensemble, considering that most of the ensembles repertoire consists of pieces that date back to the 18th century and the first decade of the 20th century while the new pieces fill up a smaller part of the repertoire. It is very rare that the Zagreb Soloists have the opportunity to present a concert programme exclusively with contemporary music. On the other hand, the experience of performing new music has in no way been a novelty; since founding the ensemble in 1953, special attention has always been given to performances and premieres of the works by Croatian contemporary composers, which is also the case today. Zagreb Soloists strive to actively promote Croatian culture, whilst presenting to audiences worldwide the most recent achievements in Croatian
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contemporary music. The tradition of commissioning new pieces by Croatian composers, which the ensemble used to promote the Croatian culture in their concerts abroad, was instigated by the ensembles founder and first artistic director, the famous Antonio Janigro, and it has been preserved until today. In this way, Croatian composers have been made known around the world. That was the case with the founder of the Music Biennale Zagreb, Milko Kelemen, whose concert improvisations, written at the initiative of Maestro Janigro during the year the ensemble was founded, have almost become a trademark of the Zagreb Soloists and are a core part of their repertoire. In respect to the desire to encourage work by our composers, whilst contributing to the richness of the Croatian musical culture, Zagreb Soloists have put into realisation their long awaited project called Six Zagreb Concertos. It features six new pieces by Croatian composers Mladen Tarbuk, Berislav Šipuš, Krešimir Seletković, Srđan Dedić, Davorin Kempf and Srećko Bradić. These composers were commissioned to write a new piece after J. S. Bach’s Six Brandenburg Concertos. The composers’ aim was to keep the instrumentation and number of movements from Bach's concertos, and the other elements of the composition were left to their creative forces and individual musical poetics. The result was more than satisfying. At each of the six concerts of the season in Zagreb, the ensemble performed one of the Brandenburg concertos and the corresponding Zagreb concerto. The project resulted in six pieces, very different in style, but fairly equal in quality, and the ensemble are certain they will remain a part of their repertoire, as well as the repertoire of other ensembles. This unique project does not end with the performances – as part of the ensembles next season, in collaboration with Cantus d.o.o. of the Croatian Composers' Society, they are planning to publish an edition of the Zagreb Concertos scores, as well as studio recordings of each work. Artistic Director, Borivoj Martinić-Jerčić comments on the performances of the Zagreb Soloists at the World New Music Days Festvial: “The World New Music Days were happening exactly at the time when we were working ‘full speed’ on the performances of the Zagreb Concertos.The concert on the 15th of April 2011 in Mimara Museum fitted perfectly with our activities. The eight pieces chosen for our ensemble by the jury were a challenge for us, because each of the composers had put a different interpretative and technical demand in front of us. Although we usually perform without a conductor, certain pieces were impossible to perform without such kind of guidance, due to their complexity. Thus, we are grateful to maestro Zoran Juranić who made the preparation and realisation of the pieces easier for us. Composers themselves were also a great help to us: Ji-Hyang Kim, Sungji Hong, Mirjam Tally, Matthew Hindson, Yassen Vodenitcharov, Tim Bowman and Shoryu Itazu. Most of them arrived in Zagreb two days before the concert and were present at the last rehearsals. Their suggestions and very pleasant collaboration have contributed to a successful concert.” 30 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
The New Sax Quartet, on their 2011 WNMD performance The New Sax Quartet (NS4) consists of four very successful young saxophone players – Nikola Fabijanić, Gordan Tudor, Goran Jurković and Tomislav Žužak. They each studied at conservatoriums in Paris, Vienna and Amsterdam, at the Zagreb Academy of Music and have attended many seminars with world renowned saxophone players. During their studies and in years following their graduation, along with other musical activities, they have been active as a saxophone quartet which over the past decade has presented a number of outstanding performances. The quartet gives preference to promoting the music of Croatian composers. Members of the quartet are also active as teachers and lecture at music schools in Zagreb, Jastrebarsko and Samobor and at the music academies in Zagreb and Novi Sad. They are active as mentors at master-classes in Croatia and abroad. The repertoire of NS4 consists of original scores, arrangements of world classics from baroque to the twentieth century. NS4 comments: “We are very proud of the fact that a member of our quartet, Gordan Tudor, is both a composer and music arranger, so, quite often, we also perform his music
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Zagreb Saxophone Quartet and the New Sax Quartet performing at the festival on 11 April 2011.
at our concerts. We are very active in collaborating with the young successful composers whom we motivate to write new music for saxophones. So, up until now we have premiered pieces by Frano Đurović, Matthias Kranebitter, Mirela Ivičević ... and some other projects are works in progress. Given that saxophone is an instrument of the 20th century, we are deprived of a great amount of original music of the old masters; with that in mind, we are trying to create as much new music as we can, so it could be there for the generations to come. It is very interesting at the concerts when we perform our standard repertoire in which we also include a ‘contemporary’ piece. When you have a positive approach to the piece and if you also explain it to the audience, if you educate them about what they can expect, from dynamics and effects to agogics, moods ... those are often the most attractive points of the concert because in this way the audience is turned into active listeners. At the World New Music Days in Zagreb we performed Sequences by JeanLuc Darbellay, Ophiuchus by Vytautas Germanavičius and, together with the Zagreb Saxophone Quartet, as an octet we performed Diapento by Uroš Rojko and As I Lay Dying by Mario Stern. All the composers were present at the concert and each of them took an active part in our rehearsals. The composers were very satisfied with the interpretation of their pieces, and they were specially impressed by the sound we nourish, as well as the technical skills we possess, without which we can't put into realisation all of the composer’s ideas. There were some suggestions by the composers concerning the way of performing certain situations, drawing attention to the ‘important’ parts. They gave suggestions on how to perform ‘clapping’ on the instrument, and have also warned us about the verticals – when we had to be together and when not (quite often this is not explicit in the score), so we had the opportunity of getting the composers’ ideas from themselves. With great passion and impatience we await each new performance.” 32 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Anything under the sun Petra Pavić, Zarez Magazine, May 2011 Zagreb played host to the World New Music Days for the second time (after 2005) and it brought thirteen concerts featuring pieces by over seventy composers, mainly from abroad. For the most part, there was a great interest among the Zagreb audience, along with the delegates of the International Society for Contemporary Music and the composers whose pieces were on the programme, for the afternoon concerts in the Mimara Museum and the Vatroslav Lisinski Hall. Some of those people don’t usually attend Biennale concerts, albeit thanks to the performance by the Zvjezdice Girls' Choir, whose family members and friends filled up the Mimara Musem audience seats. Nevertheless, that can surely be interpreted as a useful ‘breakthrough’ of the Biennale into wider circles. This year's World New Music Days musical selection made by the international jury that consisted of composers and musicologists offered a wide biNg bang Percussion Ensemble
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palette of thoughts, talents, skills, imagination and sensibility of composers' personalities. Special attention was given to composers aged up to 35 years who were candidates for the annual ISCM-IAMC Young Composers Award. The second week of April went by in a sort of atmosphere of a music fair, in the most positive sense possible. The festival buzz and ‘exchanges’ were related to music – new and only occasionally of questionable contemporariness, music written for all kinds of ensembles, and mostly for Croatian performers, who were encouraged, in the most direct way, to get recent information on new music trends in the world, directly from the scores on their stands during the last few weeks. The opening of the World New Music Days in the Lisinski Hall was focused on percussionists – the biNg bang ensemble and their mentor and artistic leader Igor Lešnik, while the closing ceremony finished with the announcement of the ISCM-IAMC Young Composers Award. We also heard the Austrian ensemble, already known to our audiences from the previous concert season of the Cantus Ensemble – Zeitfluss Ensemble conducted by Edo Mičić. Between and including this concert ‘frame’, what all the music happenings had in common, on one side, is the composers’ need for narrativity of the non-musical and secondary content that comes with the piece and, on the other side, the omnipresent questioning of sound possibilities of the instrument or ensemble in question. Sometimes this was imaginative and original, but in cases when it was the composer's only guideline, it was tiring and irritating – as was the case with the Dutch composer Marcel Wierckx’s Sense machine, a piece for an electric guitar and a DVD. Dramaturgy, musical structures, thoughts about a form of some kind seem to be left behind (due to a trend perhaps?), and that sometimes leads to interesting results in sound. For instance, in some of the composers’ notes on their compositions one can find ideas and inspiration derived from 34 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Zvjezdice Girls’ Choir and Chan Na Nin
space shuttle mechanisms (Sergei Khismatov: Cymbals quartet), astrological phenomena (Vytautas Germanavičius: Ophiuchus for saxophone quartet), enchanted islands from Shakespeare’s Storm (Viviane Mataigne: Caliban’s dream for solo voice), the sound of an archer drawing the bow (Chi-Hin Leung: Utmost attack for tuba quartet) and, of course, from artistic paintings, poems, novels and time-space relations. The fact that all of those pieces were carefully selected among more than four hundred entries does not guarantee there will be no occasional reading of some interesting stories from the festival’s catalogue whilst there is music happening on the stage. The concerts were, in fact, thematic – a display of the pieces composed for a certain kind of ensemble. Different ensembles and all kinds of combinations – from the already mentioned percussion ensemble biNg bang, that featured the Cymbals Quartet, through SONG String Quartet with soloists on electric guitars, vocal soloists with or without electronic music, wind ensembles (XL Tuba Quartet, Zagreb Saxophone Quartet and New Sax Quartet, Croatian Army Wind Orchestra), the Camerata Garestin baroque ensemble, and Zagreb Soloists to the Croatian Radio and Television Big Band and Tamburica Orchestra and the Zvjezdice Girls' Choir. With so many different sounds and ideas, in a tight schedule (every afternoon, two concerts in a row) it’s hard to be an unbiased listener of each piece. At such festivals, the audiences’ attention will mostly go to those who include a kind of an excess (artistically justified or not), and the quality of the performance will certainly have a great impact on listener’s reception as well. In that sense, composers who arrived to Zagreb had different reactions to the ensembles who performed their pieces – some were very pleased, even pleasantly surprised, but there were also those who just wanted to ‘drink a glass of wine’ after a disappointing performance. ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 35
Dian Tchobanov, Bent Sørensen
Consequently, the ensembles and soloists from Zagreb have had an opportunity to show their own level of professionalism or lack of it (and it wasn't possible to hide it in places where it is mostly present and standard), as well as the flexibility and interpretative readiness for a musical expression different from the one they encounter in everyday music making. Quality and imagination – the kind which is quite often utopian, a symbiotic– interpretative imagination – were some of the main qualities that made Music for Baroque Ensemble by Turkish composer Erman Özdemir rise above the other pieces we have had a chance to hear. The composer successfully managed to achieve a contemporary sound of a baroque ensemble, which had an effect of a brief refreshment within somewhat forced wanting of original sound sources. Elegantly and with lightness of expression, the piece Responsorium for solo voice and electronics by Akira Takaoka, was performed by mezzo-soprano Martina Gojčeta Silić. The excellent SONG String Quartet performed String Quartet nr. 1 by a young Taiwanese composer Chiu-Yu Chou which won the ISCM-IAMC Young Composers Award. The composer, who, in a somewhat ‘scholastic’ intention to explore the combinations of the instruments of a quartet, found strategies that the jury rewarded. Thanks to the SONG String Quartet, the idea was presented the way she had imagined it. The World New Music Days, this year’s music ‘fair’ where one could find ‘anything under the sun’, spontaneously pointed to a potentially interesting phenomenon. The musical products of the middle and the older generation of composers, covered in ethnic colours of continents, countries, climates and parts of the world the composers come from – whether in sound, instrumentation or rhythm – are something that is not heard in the works of the younger generation. Globalization and networking seem to be what the young composers are driven by. Whether it be a short trend followed by an entirely contrasting situation, or whether it develops in the same direction, is yet to be seen at the next World New Music Days 2012 in Belgium, with a hope that among the entries, and, eventually, among the chosen pieces, there will also be those by Croatian composers. 36 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Croatian Contemporary Music: An Insight Nikša Gligo
Whatever the view of Croatian contemporary music, it is impossible to ignore the influence of the Music Biennale Zagreb (MBZ), an international festival of contemporary music, which was first held in 1961 and has continued to exist to this day, on Croatian music. At the very beginning one should call to mind an absolutely anachronistic situation surrounding this international festival. In its reference to socialist realism and the ‘composing for people’, the 1950’s once again tried to restore the obsolete ideas endorsed in the former 'national ideology', propounded by Antun Dobronić (1878-1955). In the late 1940’s and 1950’s even the composers who participated considerably in the Biennale activities, such as Branimir Sakač (1918-79) and Natko Devčić (1914-97), still flirted with the national idiom of this provenance. This is exactly the situation which the Biennale founder, Milko Kelemen (1924), had in mind when he wrote in 1991 that ‘after the Second World War Yugoslavia developed in complete isolation coupled with primitivism and provincialism’ (Kelemen, 1991:10). Well, this may have been the situation in music, but certainly not in visual arts, for example! In the 1950’s and 1960’s this area of visual art displayed very cosmopolitan intiatives which kept up with the world trends. As early as 1951, the group Exat 51 issued a manifesto announcing ‘that their principal task is to orientate towards the synthesis of all the visual arts ... and ... to give the experimental character to their work, since the progress of a creative approach in visual arts cannot be considered without the experiment’ (quoted from Denegri 2000: 69). In the period from 1959 to 1966 Zagreb followed the activities of the group Gorgona which, ‘together with Fluxus, the group Zero, Happening, Manzoni, Klein, Fontana, and Reinhardt, anticipated and announced numerous phenomena found under different terms (Conceptual Art, Art as Idea, Post-Object Art) that dominate a new artistic period...’ (Dimitrijević ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 37
1977; also compare Denegri 2000: 511-531). Similarly, from 3 August to 14 September 1961 (the first Music Biennale Zagreb was held from 17 to 24 May 1961!) the Zagreb Gallery of Contemporary Art set up the very first exhibition of the New Tendencies, a movement initiated in Zagreb by Almiro Mavignier which continued to establish its international reputation until 1973 (see Denegri 2000: 193-376). However, it seems interesting to note that the strongest opponent of the shallow regional and national identity prevalent in Croatian music, based on the marginal imitation of folklore, was Stjepan Šulek (1914-86), also the leading opponent of the MBZ in terms of the festival’s concept and aesthetic. This position renders his opus in the given context quite a paradox. Through his music Šulek supports an international, cosmopolitan (hence antinational and antiregional) style, but as a composer he achieves this goal in an eclectic manner, thus assuming an anachronistic overtone. Although Šulek's controversial disputes with the MBZ have never been systematically analyzed, the fact remains that he had – according to his fanatical disagreements with contemporary music – detached himself consistently and deliberately from the Biennale activities. For example, if one considered the statistics related to the Biennale programmes, they may notice that in Šulek's lifetime only two of his compositions were performed at the festival, both of them in 1961 (Krpan 2000: 368). One could only assume that the composer simply did not allow his music to come into existence in, according to his opinion, such a hostile environment. However, Šulek’s influence on the progress of Croatian music after the Second World War is of utmost importance, which is once again a paradox in itself. During his educational career at the Academy of Music in Zagreb Šulek, as a composition professor, educated a number of composers (such as Milko Kelemen, Stanko Horvat, Dubravko Detoni, Igor Kuljerić, and Davorin Kempf ), thus having contributed considerably to the establishing of the Croatian contemporary music which had drawn on the Biennale experience. Does this example also imply a reach for the new and the unknown as resistance against Šulek’s eclectic and anachronistic views? The answer might be a very satisfactory one if we were not looking into the evidence regarding its accuracy. However, this evidence would be impossible to provide precisely due to the fact that the compositional constitution displayed by the students in Šulek’s composition class differs to such an extent (even opposing each other at intervals!) that any search for a single common denominator in terms of aesthetic and compositional/technical features turns out to be illusory. *** Of course, it is absolutely impossible – even futile – to establish the precise indicators of the influence which the activities related to visual arts in the second half of the 20th century have had on Croatian contemporary music. It would also be an exaggeration to say that the Croatian contemporary music 38 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
influenced by the Biennale experiences of the 1960’s would have not come into existence without Šulek's composition class at the Zagreb Academy of Music and its above mentioned exponents. Nevertheless, I personally consider an insight into the general situation incomplete if one does not take into account these two, if only paradoxical, coordinates. But it is beyond dispute that there must have existed a specific spiritual climate, which had created an opportunity for Šulek's composition class to establish their position as well as for co-existence of the Biennale aspirations and developments in visual arts. Although nowadays the ‘spirit of the times’ and ‘spiritual climate’ are not as popular conceptual categories as they used to be, none more suitable can be provided, so we have no choice but to present the development of Croatian contemporary music from the 1950’s to this day. In comparison with the first half of the 20th century, the major change happened in the attitude to folklore as the material supposed to assure the national identity of Croatian music. In the first half of the century this ‘ideology of the national movement’, especially in the opus of Jakov Gotovac (1895-82), produced the works still considered the classical pearls of the Croatian 20th century music, such as the Simfonijsko kolo [Symphonic Wheel Dance] (1926; see Gligo 1998) and the opera Ero s onoga svijeta [Ero, the Rascal] (1935). However, after the Second World War this function of folklore became distorted through the ideology of socialist realism, thus having resulted in a search for new, more modern and appropriate courses of national identity. It should be noted that folklore was not entirely abandoned, the only change refers to the attitude to its function in terms of identity. Let us illustrate this with several examples. Kelemen's Koncertante improvizacije [Concertante Improvisations] (1955) provide important evidence of this new attitude to folklore due to a specific manner employed in the composition which points to the composer's flirtation with Bartók. Kelemen thus indicates the potential of folk music from quite a different perspective which had obviously escaped the attention of the Croatian composers between the two wars. In 1964, at the Yugoslav Music Festival in Opatija, Ivo Malec (1925) accused in his famous speech these same composers of not having found inspiration ‘based on the essentials of Bartók's music, but rather on his folk marginality’ (Malec 1972: 138). The Koncertante improvizacije appear to be aimed at the repair of this oversight. On the other hand, unlike Kelemen’s contemporaries who had resolutely detached themselves from folklore (Malec himself being among them!), Kelemen did not deny his interest in it (and what’s more, the folklore of Bartók-like provenance), ‘I used to imagine my future music as a certain kind of ‘distilled’ Bartók.’ (Kelemen 1994b: 87). However, having been influenced by the forthcoming perception that music could also be 'national' without its relying on folklore, Kelemen had gradually given it up due to ‘technical reasons’, ‘I have been convinced that the music conditioned by folklore does ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 39
From top left: Croatian composers Stanko Horvat, Natko Devčić, Dubravko Detoni, Rubin Radica, and Mladen Tarbuk.
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not enable further progress in terms of material organization and texture differentiation.’ (Kelemen 1994b: 88). Twenty years later (that is, in 1979) Kelemen explained the (repeated) appearance of folklore in his music through the changes in views emerging from the experiences acquired during his studies in Paris (1954-55) and in Freiburg (1959-60): ‘I have gradually started to notice that the areas I had mastered lacked my interest in the long term, thus making me feel an irrepressible urge to move towards the goals ahead. It seems to me today (i.e. in 1979 – a note by N.G.) that this feeling of necessity results from spiritual isolation I had lived in over a long period of time and to which I have now reacted by starting to experience an almost adventurous type of freedom in music. I felt very close to the aesthetic which would make room for spiritual flexibility, provide an opportunity for creative shifts and visits to the distant areas of the musical entity. Today, when I look back at the ‘Departure from Folklore’, I become aware of the fact that it was only temporary. In the more recent musical syntheses I again used to elaborate previously hidden folk elements at a higher level.’ (Kelemen 1994b: 89) Croatian music provides various aspects of such an attitude to folklore, but neither one of them will ever treat the folk material as an indisputable guarantee of the national identity in music (compare Mežnarić 1998). a) In the older generation, Milo Cipra (1906-85) almost began as a member of the ideology related to the national movement, which is proven, for example, by his String Quartet No. 1 (1929-30) as well as by all the other major guidelines of his opus until – roughly speaking – the late nineteen fifties. However, the tendencies displayed in Cipra’s later works, which must have resulted from the influence of the Biennale, completely erased the traces of folklore in his music. At that point, Cipra’s music very frequently explores various opportunities to apply the new sound in accordance with a specific perception of the programmatic quality, such as in the composition Musica sine nomine (1963), which draws on the paintings of some Croatian painters in terms of its programme (see Andreis 1969: 428), or in Aubade (1965), based on the atmosphere of a Mediterranean morning (see Kovačević 1966: 60). A characteristic feature of Cipra’s contemporary, Boris Papandopulo (190691), refers to the fact that he was never particularly inclined to endorse any ideology, style or school, thus applying the same rule to the ideology of national movement accordingly. On the contrary, some of his works occasionally touch upon the contemporary techniques (see Riman 1988) and styles, e.g. in the works Boje i kontrasti [Colours and Contrasts] from 1964 and in Koncertantna muzika [Concertante Music] from 1965. In the latter piece Papandopulo evidently flirted with stylistic pluralism1, which is a distinctive feature of his 1. The movements in Koncertantna muzika [Concertante Music] are entitled as follows: Malo dodekafonike, Malo romantike, Malo avangarde, Malo folklora [Some Dodecaphony, Some Romance, Some Avantgarde, Some Folklore]. ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 41
entire opus, but still kept that typical distance, thus having earned a special position in Croatian contemporary music. The compositions Istarska suita [Istrian Suite] (1948) and Labinska vještica [A Witch from Labin] (1957) by Natko Devčić are distinctly critical composer's comments on the ideology of national movement and as such also represent his specific departure from this ideology (see Gligo 1985: 24-37). However, in the mass songs composed by Devčić in the period from 1943 to 1964, folk patterns cannot be avoided since they were required by the aesthetic of socialist realism. In view of this, it is very interesting to observe how folklore would be reflected in Devčić's later, more rational innovations which helped him to establish a prominent position in Croatian contemporary music, especially among the older generation of composers. His composition Ševa [The Lark] (1960) already indicated that Devčić considered the folk material to be a group of definite structural features expressed through a specific exploitation of small intervals, which are only conditionally of folk provenance and devoid of the original context through their usage in terms of composition and technique (see Gligo 1985: 37-45, 58-71, passim). In some of his earliest compositions Sakač employed popular lyric poetry to compose in a distinctly folk idiom (compare Gligo 1979a: 37 – footnote 3) and partly embraced the programmatic features of socialist realism, e.g. in the Simfonija o mrtvom vojniku [Symphony on a Dead Soldier], composed in 1951 (compare Gligo 1979a: 39-48), and in the symphonic triptych Sluga Jernej [Servant Jernej] from 1953. Since his entire opus from the early 1960’s was profoundly imbued with aspirations towards the most advanced idioms of New Music, such a compositional orientation (which indeed makes Sakač a unique figure in Croatian music) rendered any flirtation with folklore impossible. Nevertheless, in 1970 he began to re-evaluate the archetypical layers of folklore as compositional material in his works Sial and Bellatrix-Alleluia with an attempt at a theoretical explanation (see Sakač 1980). This shift towards folklore as an archetype might be understood as an announcement of Sakač's specific compositional ‘comeback’ which reaches its peak in the piece Gentle Fire from the Matrix-Symphony, composed in 1972 (see Sakač 1980b). b) Rondo for string quartet (1967) by Stanko Horvat (1930) is a very distinctive re-interpretation of Bartók's transformations of folk material displayed in his string quartets. Horvat, for example, employs certain types of articulation which bear no direct resemblance to Bartók's quartets whatsoever, but follow along the same lines in terms that his quartet sounds might be perceived as a model established in the first half of the 20th century and prolonged until the 1960’s. On the other hand, Horvat's opus also displays a more specific attitude to folklore which is – in the sense of the previously mentioned Sakač's sublimation as well – inspired by extramusical contents, in particular by the poetry of Mak Dizdar forming the basis of his several compositions (Kolo bola 42 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
[A Wheel of Pain] from 1977, Zapis o vremenu [A Note on Time] from 1979, Slovo o slovu [A Letter about the Letter] and Zapis o očima [A Note on Eyes] from 1980, S podignutom rukom [With the Arm Raised] from 1985). In the stage work Prazor [Primordial Sight], ‘a mystery in ten scenes for musical stage based on the poem of the same title by Jure Kaštelan’ (1990), Ruben Radica (1931) transforms the folk material through ‘structural actions’ which he always expects to blend into the adequate ‘psychological actions’ (see Mežnarić 1998: 155). The result of such a transformation would thus emanate a particular atmosphere which only allows for a glimpse of the folk models, provided that they examined the composer’s drafts and their transposition into the score of Prazor thoroughly and analytically (compare Mežnarić 1998: 157-159; Siriščević 2001). *** In the following lines I would like to exemplify some of the features displayed in Croatian contemporary music which must have emerged under the influence of Biennale experiences and therefore have aroused various interesting comments. a) Ivo Malec is a composer who did not want to have anything to do with folklore. On the other hand, he had assumed a critical attitude not only to the ideology of national movement (compare Malec 1972), but also to the knowledge acquired at the Academy of Music in Zagreb, where he studied composition with Milo Cipra (compare, for example, Malec 1990). From 1959, when he became a permanent resident of Paris, where he embraced the aesthetic of the Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrète by Pierre Schaeffer, Malec's contacts with Croatian music were maintained at the almost symbolic level, which raises a doubt about his actual position in this area. However, one cannot ignore some of his works composed in the 1950’s (for example, Maketa [The Maquette] from 1956 and Mouvement en couleur from 1959), among which Radovanove pjesme [Radovan's Poems] (1952), based on the collection Tanke [Tankas] by Radovan Ivšić, quite an unusual figure in Croatian poetry of the time (Gligo 1984: 136-148), might be perceived as a specific anticipation of his Cantata pour elle (1966), a masterpiece produced in his early Paris period. When reflecting on the reasons for Malec's absence from the new Croatian music, the comparison with his contemporary Kelemen simply suggests itself. Kelemen's dynamic readiness to embrace the most diverse influences (compare Kelemen 1994) clearly accounts for distinct pluralism in his opus, which quite easily and vividly integrated into the Croatian contemporary music in those days (in which process a certain role might have been played by Kelemen's educational activities at the Zagreb Academy of Music, since Ruben Radica, Bogdan Gagić and Silvio Foretić graduated from his class). On the other hand, Malec’s reflection and subtle advancement of the aesthetic fostered by Schaeffer's circle, in contrast, resembles a fine filigree work which simply cannot be positioned within the context of Croatian contemporary ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 43
music. However, this may not have to be the case unless the subtle sonority of some (especially chamber) works, based on the Klasični vrt [Classical Garden] (1976), by Marko Ruždjak (1946-2012), a student of Malec and Schaeffer’s in Paris, be interpreted as having partly resulted from such an influence. It could be noticed that the aesthetic of Schaeffer’s circle did not have an invasive influence outside France anyway – which is true! However, it is a great pity that this orientation, with the help of Malec, had not left more profound traces in Croatian music. b) A typical feature displayed by some Croatian composers is the nonreflected adoption of the new, such as in Milo Cipra’s String Quartet No. 5 (1972) whose G section (‘four free cadences’) explores certain aleatoric principles, which are objectively totally alien to Cipra’s compositional constitution, especially due to quite a vague relationship between these principles and the composer’s inclination to improvisation (compare Cipra 1979; Davidović 1996: 23-28, passim). At this point we should also mention the Sakač's unexpected shift from the 1950’s into the 1960’s in his Aleatorički preludij [Aleatoric Prelude] (later renamed Prizme [Prisms]), composed in 1961, where he imitated inarticulately the aleatoric groups in Stockhausen's Klavierstück XI (1956) (Gligo 1980: 18; Gligo 1985: 12 and footnote 9 on p. 183; also Stockhausen 1964). Indeed, Sakač as a composer clearly showed an attachment to new technologies (Sakač 1965) already in his electronic pieces (the first such works in Croatian music!) entitled Tri sintetske poeme [Three Synthetic Poems] (1959), Svemirski pejzaž [Space Landscape] and Jahači apokalipse [Apocalyptic Riders] (1961), and he believed that Croatian music could establish its genuine position in the world only by applying the most advanced compositional techniques and devices and, finally, argued strongly in favour of the status of modernity in this community in a series of his enlightening articles back in the nineteen fifties (Sakač 1980a; Sakač 1958). Having in mind the qualities outlined above, it seems natural that such a composer embraces the new at all cost – that is, without any rational consideration. Sakač epitomizes a composer-outsider who, nevertheless, employs the strategies atypical of an outsider in order to establish something which denies a need for any such action through its risky tenets. The only other opus which could stand on an equal footing with that produced by Sakač are still the insufficiently studied works of Krešimir Fribec (1908-1996), who plunged into the new with the courage typical of a self-educated person back in 1955 by having composed music for the ballet Vibracije [Vibrations]. Similar audacity related to the treatment of the spatial component in music was also shown by Zlatko Pibernik (1926) in some of his opuses dating back to the nineteen seventies. c) It is quite natural that the pluralism in Croatian contemporary music has challenged its homogeneity. But this should not be perceived as something negative or particularly atypical! There is no point in advocating homogeneity 44 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
if the 20th century music in its entirety is supposed to be viewed through the prism of historiographical ‘nonconcurrence in the concurrent’ (Dahlhaus 1977: 223-227; Gligo 1987: 21-22), whereas the aligned pluralism of styles and techniques is, in fact, its most determined guideline in terms of aesthetics. The below given examples illustrate this pluralism of styles and techniques in Croatian contemporary music. Horvat’s attitude to tradition, which he tries to follow closely, is reflected in the perception of music as ‘an artistic, humanistic ... and psychological fact’ (see Horvat 1972: 303) as well as in the corresponding reliance on various models, ranging from Bach to Berg (compare Fabrio 1997: 567-568). Consequently, ‘the diversity of sounds as the dominant characteristic of Horvat’s music ... is subordinate to the same goal, the expression. The arrangement of sounds is thus eminently contemporary regarding music, while Horvat's reliance on tradition and the resulting dialogue with it are perhaps mostly reflected in the expression at which Horvat aims as his continuous aspiration.’ (Gligo 2000) In Radica’s opus, by contrast, almost the only condition for the selection of a certain type of sound arrangement, even when works are based on extramusical, literary models, is stated through a rigid and precise alignment of structure. As a result, in Pasija [Passion] (1981) a baritone sings the poetry of Dubravko Škurla, in 19&10 (1965) a reciter speaks excerpts from the statements of mental patients, and in Tri sonetne bagatele [Three Sonnet-like Bagatelles] (1997) a reciter can, but does not have to speak three sonnets on which the composition’s three movements are built (compare Gligo 2001). Such an ad libitum presence of the text is possible to be employed due to the fact that the Tri sonetne bagatele result from the ‘composer’s longtime research into the correlation between accentuation in the Croatian language and motivic material in music’ (compare Vojković 1997: nonpag.). This sentence indicates clearly an extent to which the expression as a goal (the composer would use the term ‘psychological action’) in Radica’s music is conditioned by polished composition and technique and, consequently, by aligned structure! If we define a space between Horvat and Radica’s perception of the musical as a framework characteristic of this generation of Croatian composers, some specifically individual divergences on the part of composers would still appear within its boundaries. Therefore, the opus of Bogdan Gagić (1931) calls to mind some of Radica’s structural actions, but at the same time introduces completely different psychological actions, if only due to his specific dedication to the piano music (see Gagić 1972). On the other hand, the opus of Adalbert Marković (1929) shares Horvat’s aspiration to the expression, although this music has been created by the author ‘who borrowed from the avant-garde... sporadically, without any particular order or system, as he would find it convenient’ because ‘the core of his compositional oeuvre emerged from... some other source, drew on different models and predominantly followed some other paths, which only at intervals pursued current compositional ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 45
trends' (Špoljarić 1999: 5). The opus of Anđelko Klobučar (1931) seems to completely ignore 'the current compositional trends', despite the fact that his interpretative activity of an organist proves that he was very much aware of those trends (Gligo 2001a: 8). Boris Ulrich (1931-83), who was largely a self-educated composer, used some of the reminiscence techniques (collage and quotations, for example), thus having resorted to the material selected from a plentiful panoply found in a great store of history, which seems to be easily within his reach. As a result, his works composed in the early 1970’s introduced an unusual innovation in the new Croatian music (Gligo 1977a; Gligo 1983) which pointed to the compositional comebacks and the right to adopt an entirely individual idiom that should not necessarily be based on proving one's awareness of the new at all cost. In the following generation, also including Šulek’s students Dubravko Detoni (1937) and Igor Kuljerić (1938) as well as Kelemen's student, Silvio Foretić (1940), Detoni strives to establish the modernity in the most radical manner without any compromise. His broad interests are further evidenced by the texts he has written on music (e.g. Detoni 1981; Detoni 1989), while his opus has developed within interestingly interpreted experiences of the Polish school, experiments with the graphic features of notation and flirtation with the dadaistic views of John Cage. Already in 1969 Detoni spoke of music as his only device in ‘a struggle against the Void lost in advance’ (Supičić 1969: 52; also compare Detoni 1981: 121, passim). Kuljerić’s opus is based on several heterogeneous constants: on the sound resulting from a particular type of improvisational interaction between soloists (or a group of soloists) and an ensemble (e.g. in the works Figurazioni con tromba for trumpet and string orchestra from 1971, Solo-Tutti for piano and symphony orchestra from 1972 and Les échos II for symphony and jazz orchestras from 1976), on the exploration of Croatian musical heritage with the aim to reinterpret its features within a contemporary context (for example, in the compositions Quam pulchra es... (Ommagio a Lukačić) for mixed choir and percussion from 1972, Kanconijer [Canzoniere] for two actors, mixed choir and symphony orchestra from 1983 and Hrvatski glagoljaški rekvijem [Croatian Glagolitic Requiem] for soloists, mixed choir and symphony orchestra from 1995), on re-examination of the folk material (e.g. in the electronic composition FolkArt from 1978), on composing a special kind of didactically-oriented applied music, adapted to the performing skills of amateur musicians (for example, in the composition More [The Sea] for female choir a capella with tape ad libitum from 1978), and on his lively interest in music theatre (operas Moć vrline [The Power of Virtue] from 1977, Richard III from 1987, opera-fable Životinjska farma [Animal Farm] from 2003, ballet Riky Levy from 1991). Back in his student days Foretić appeared as an enfant terrible of Croatian contemporary music, which became particularly prominent when he founded and participated in the work of the Ensemble for Contemporary Music with an 46 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
aim to subject the flaws of musical institutions and various trendy novelties in the so-called avant-garde to severe criticism (Gligo-Foretić 1974). In his music, predominantly based on his own texts, Foretić assumes a very criticial attitude to deviations in the activities related to contemporary music, whereas in terms of composition and technique he, in fact, aspires to a completely non-homogeneous mixture of styles subject to self-ironization through the parabolic allusions to various and disparate models (Gligo: 1979; Gligo 2001b). The generation consisting of Marko Ruždjak (1946-2012), Davorin Kempf (1947) and Frano Parać (1948) particularly feels that they may compose in the manner they would find the most convenient (compare Kagel 1966: 310; Gligo 1987: 77-78), which is a right reflected in differently oriented opuses. Among these composers, Ruždjak has certainly produced the most consistent opus which revolves around his previously mentioned composition Klasični vrt [Classical Garden] (1976) and comprises a series of superbly differentiated chamber works, making up the major part of his opus. As far as Kempf ’s opus is concerned, he seems to preserve Šulek's perception of musicality as a wide gesture reminiscent of new romanticism by using sounds frequently combined with electronic technology to great effect. As regards Parać's work, he has increasingly inclined towards the ideal of pure (vocal) melodiousness, especially after Collegium vocale (1979), which is then gradually transposed into his instrumental opuses, thus turning him into the most distinctive composer of a comeback to the new Croatian music (compare Gligo 1986). *** Horvat’s students Ivo Josipović (1957), Berislav Šipuš (1958) and Mladen Tarbuk (1962) have decided on their aesthetic positions without any particular consideration of the contemporary guidelines in Croatian music which draw on the Biennale experiences and their prominence, especially in the nineteen seventies. A survey on the aesthetic tendencies in the youngest generation of Croatian composers (consisting of Sanda Majurec-Zanata, b. 1971, Frano Đurović, b. 1971, Vjekoslav Nježić, b. 1973, Krešimir Seletković, b. 1974, Ivana Kiš, b. 1979, and Ivan Josip Skender, b. 1981), conducted by Valentina Badanjak, reveals that the preoccupations of these composers do not differ whatsoever from those expressed by their peers anywhere in the world. ‘Today, the major problem seems to be the unrestricted freedom of choice. Flouting convention is also out of the question since there is none. We are floating in a vacuum and it is enormously difficult to find any rules because one can start moving from any point and go in whichever direction they want. The composer should engage in his work having in mind their motive, medium, instruments, as well as the parameters involved – they are responsible for the entire process. Guided by their own astute subjectivity within such a quantity of unanswered questions, they may stumble upon harmony, a constellation ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 47
of a unity with certain technical qualities. Still, once again we shall not be able to recognize its good features. In a manner of speaking, this generation has been left to their own resources; their activities are invisible within the mechanism of a certain society. They are well-aware of the fact that nobody needs them. Perhaps they could occupy given positions as composers working in particular genres of applied music, but the classical market does not require such professionals, and they are aware of this. However, they display the same need for an emotional contact with the musical entity just as much as the generations which treated the structure of their profession as a category beyond dispute, the category which fixed the boundaries of their freedom and thus enabled their progress. This freedom does not allow for such progress, it imposes restriction.’ (Badanjak 2004: 69)
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“Ruben Radica 1931-2001” (a commentary in the programme booklet of the composer's evening concert given on 5 June 2001 celebrating his 70th birthday and acceptance into the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences as a regular member). Zagreb: Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences – Croatian Composers’ Society – Zagreb Concert Management. Nonpag. “Anđelko Klobučar 1931-2001” (a commentary in the programme booklet of the composer’s concert given on 14 December 2001 celebrating his 70th birthday). Zagreb: Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences – Croatian Composers’ Society – Croatian Association of Musicians – Zagreb Concert Management. 7-8. “Silvio Foretić: Valse Macabre” (a commentary with the author’s CD entitled Valse macabre). Zagreb: Cantus – Croatian Composers’ Society. 4-8. “Deset godina Ansambla za suvremenu glazbu”. Prolog. [‘Ten Years of the Ensemble for Contemporary Music’. Prologue.] (6)21, 11-58. “Ispitivati osvojeni teren. Stanko Horvat u razgovoru s Evom Sedak”. U: Selem, Petar (ur.). Novi zvuk. Izbor tekstova o suvremenoj glazbi. [‘Exploration of the Mastered Field. Stanko Horvat interviewed by Eva Sedak.’ In: Selem, Petar (ed.). New Sound. Selected Texts on Contemporary Music.] Zagreb: Nakladni zavod Matice hrvatske. 303-309. “Fünf Antworten auf fünf Fragen”. Melos. (33)10. 305-310. “Muzički biennale Zagreb, zašto?”. U: Krpan, Erika (ur.). Muzički biennale Zagreb 1961-1991. [‘Music Biennale Zagreb, Why?’. In: Krpan, Erika (ed.). Music Biennale Zagreb 19611991.] Zagreb: Music Biennale Zagreb – Music Information Centre of the Zagreb Concert Management. 10-14. “U razgovoru s Joachimom Kaiserom”. U: Labirinti. [‘Talking to Joachim Kaiser’. In: Labyrinths.] Zagreb: Music Information Centre of the Zagreb Concert Management. 19-28.
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Kelemen, Milko 1994b
“Dvadeset pitanja Freda K. Prieberga” (1974). U: Labirinti. [‘Twenty Questions of Fred K. Prieberg’ (1974). In: Labyrinths.] Zagreb: Music Information Centre of the Zagreb Concert Management. 39-49. “Oproštaj od folklora” (1959/1979). U: Labirinti. [‘Departure from Folklore’ (1959/1979). In: Labyrinths.] Zagreb: Music Information Centre of the Zagreb Concert Management. 8790.
Kovačević, Krešimir 1966 Muzičko stvaralaštvo u Hrvatskoj 1945-1965. [Musical Activity in Croatia 1945-1965.] Zagreb: Society of Croatian Composers. Krpan, Erika (ed.) 2000 Muzički biennale Zagreb. Međunarodni festival suvremene glazbe 1961-2001. [Music Biennale Zagreb. International Festival of Contemporary Music 1961-2001.] Zagreb: Croatian Composers’ Society. Malec, Ivo 1972 “Stanje naše glazbe” (1964). U: Selem, Petar (ur.). Novi zvuk. Izbor tekstova o suvremenoj glazbi. [‘Situation in Our Music’ (1964). In: Selem, Petar (ed.). New Sound. Selected Texts on Contemporary Music.] Zagreb: Nakladni zavod Matice hrvatske. 137-145. Malec, Ivo 1990 “Zagreb za mene nije imao sluha” (razgovor s Bosiljkom PerićKempf ). [‘Zagreb Did Not Show Any Interest In Me’ (an interview with Bosiljka Perić-Kempf ).] Nedjeljni vjesnik. 29 July. 11. Mežnarić, Aleksandra 1998 “Neki aspekti korištenja folklorne građe u hrvatskoj glazbi u drugoj polovici XX. stoljeća”. [‘Some Aspects of the Usage of Folklore Material in Croatian Music in the Second Half of the 20th Century’.] Arti musices. (29)2. 139-208. Riman, Marija 1988 Dodekafonski postupci u djelima Borisa Papandopula. [Dodecaphonic Procedures in the Works of Boris Papandopulo.] Rijeka: Publishing Centre Rijeka. Sakač, Branimir 1958 “Novi putovi i sinteze suvremene muzike”. [‘New Courses and Syntheses in Contemporary Music’.] Narodni list. 9 January. 12. Sakač, Branimir 1965 “Muzika u klimi tehnike”. 15 dana. [‘Music in the Technical Climate’. 15 Days.] (8)5-6. 8-11. 52 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Sakač, Branimir 1980
Sakač, Branimir 1980a
Sakač, Branimir 1980b
Siriščević, Mirjana 2001
“Visoko razvijeni muzički oblici i primarni muzički izraz (arhetip)” (1962). U: Ariel. Izabrani spisi. [‘Highly Developed Musical Forms and Primary Musical Idiom (Archetype)’ (1962). In: Ariel. Selected Essays.] Zagreb: Music Information Centre of the Zagreb Concert Management. 43-60. “O suvremenoj muzici” (1953). U: Ariel. Izabrani spisi. [‘On Contemporary Music’ (1953). In: Ariel. Selected Essays.] Zagreb: Music Information Centre of the Zagreb Concert Management. 61-63. “Zabilješke uz simfoniju ‘The Matrix’”. U: Ariel. Izabrani spisi. [‘Notes on the Symphony “The Matrix”’. In: Ariel. Selected Essays.] Zagreb: Music Information Centre of the Zagreb Concert Management. 87-89.
R. Radica: “Prazor – glazbeno scenski misterij u deset prizora prema istoimenoj poemi Jure Kaštelana” [‘Prazor – a theatre mystery in ten scenes based on the poem of the same title by Jure Kaštelan’] (manuscript) Stockhausen, Karlheinz 1964 “Nr. 7: Klavierstück XI (1956)” (1957). In: Texte zu eigenen Werken, zur Kunst Anderer. Aktuelles (= vol. 2: Ausätze 19521962 zur musikalischen Praxis. Köln: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg. 69-70. Supičić, Ivo 1969 “Estetski pogledi u novijoj hrvatskoj muzici. Pregled temeljnih gledanja četrnaestorice kompozitora”. [‘Aesthetic Views in the Recent Croatian Music. An Overview of the Principal Positions of Fourteen Composers’.] Arti musices. 1. 23-57. Špoljarić, Borko 1999 “U znaku vodenjaka” [‘Under the Sign of Aquarian’] (a commentary with the authored CD of Adalbert Marković). Zagreb: Croatian Composers’ Society - Music Biennale Zagreb – Croatian Radio and Television. 5-7. Vojković, Sanda (ed.) 1997 19. muzički biennale Zagreb, međunarodni festival suvremene glazbe: 4. travnja 1997. – 12. travnja 1997 (programska knjiga). [19th Music Biennale Zagreb, International Festival of Contemporary Music: 4 April 1997 – 12 April 1997] (programme book). Zagreb: Croatian Composers’ Society – Music Biennale Zagreb. 1997. Nonpag.
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The Modern, Modernism and Modernist Classicism in Croatian 20th Century Music Eva Sedak
When the local (at that time, Yugoslav) section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) was established in Zagreb just three years after the society’s founding (Salzburg, 1922), it was a sign that sensibilities open to such a venture already existed here. Today, of course, we know that the Society did not, neither at the time it was founded nor later, pursue a ‘progressive’ agenda, that it did not serve to promote radicalism in new music, nor even to conjoin alternative or experimental tendencies in music. On the contrary, from the very beginning it nurtured an extremely conciliatory attitude toward all forms of contemporary expression (Stuckenschmidt 1951: 222-232; Haefeli 1973: 20/21), which equally comprised ‘music of the avant-garde movements, the New Music of the first generation (after 1908), the ‘mainstream music’ of the younger generation (after 1918) and the music of the new functionalism (mainly after 1925)’ (Danuser 1984: 116). In this country in 1925, however, the ISCM was primarily perceived as international and contemporary, equating the latter (as the German rendering of the Society’s name – IGNM – also did) with the new in music, which might, in and of itself, have been the sign of a certain boldness. In those years – following the first cataclysmic war of global proportions and the collapse of a multi-national state in Europe – the dynamism evident on the Croatian music scene, as in other segments of Croatian social life, stemmed from the optimism of newly-acquired independent statehood and the prospects this seemed to offer in the cultural sphere, as well as from the benefits of the predominantly Central European standards of culture it had inherited from that lately disbanded community of nations. The former was reflected, among other things, in the independence of institutions, above all state administration and education, while the latter was seen in the care taken 54 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
that such independence should not be accompanied by concessions to local criteria. Thus, for example, the Zagreb Academy of Music had already been institutionalized under state administration in 19201, while the invitation to Blagoje Bersa (1873-1934) – one the most significant Croatian composers of the 20th century, who, along with Josip Hatze (1879-1959) and his verismotinged one-act opera Povratak (The Return, 1911), heralded the new era in the modern dramaturgy and orchestration of his opera Oganj (Flame, 1906) – to become founder and head of the modern composition class at the Academy, rather than further his professional career in Vienna, continued the tradition of internationalization in higher musical education in this region, which had already been marked at the beginning of the century by, among others, several Czech musicians: the violin teacher Václav Huml, a student of Ševčík; composer Fran Lhotka (1883-1962), a pupil of Dvořák; and the conductor Milan Sachs. Besides Bersa, an impressive number of composers returned to Croatia from study or work in various parts of Europe during the Twenties: Krsto Odak (1888-1965) from Munich; Božidar Širola (1889-1956) and Jakov Gotovac (1895-1982) from Vienna, whence Krešimir Baranović (1894-1975) had already returned six years earlier; Oskar Jozefović (1890-1941) from Paris; Ivo Parać (1890-1954) from Florence, Rome and Pesaro; Svetislav Stančić (18951970) from Berlin; and Josip Štolcer Slavenski (1896-1955) from Budapest and Prague, whence Dragan Plamenac (1895-1983) also returned following his studies in Vienna, as had the much older Antun Dobronić (1878-1955) eight years prior. Their work or study in these centres of European culture had taken place in an atmosphere characterized by the prevailing ‘moderate’ aesthetic tendencies exemplified by such composers as D’Indy, Busoni, Schreker, Vítězslav Novák, Kodály and Pizzeti. Following their return, this fact eased their integration into the practical reality of musical life in an environment where efforts were being made to adapt the experience and reverberations of the Modern to changes in stylistic and aesthetic expectations which gradually began appearing after 1920. These may be seen in such tendencies as the new tonality of modernist classicism or mainstream functional music, which, modified and transformed in various ways, ideologized and subject to utilitarian degradation, thrived in this country until well after the middle of the century. In the case of such minor musical scenes as Croatia’s, or any in which, as was the case here, the strong atonal and dodecaphonic influence of the Second Viennese School was lacking, such a process of adaptation lasted longer – in certain aspects even up to the beginning of World War II – and involved 1. The Zagreb Academy of Music was the direct successor of the Croatian Institute of Music’s music school, which was established in 1829 and expanded into a conservatory in 1916. On 8 January 1920 the Yugoslav Royal Government assumed its administration. Two years later the conservatory changed its name to the Royal Academy of Music. ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 55
several consecutive generations of composers with heterogeneous aesthetic and stylistic orientations; and so it is much harder to define as an ideal type within the opaque stylistic pluralism of the time, with regard both to the general topography of music history and the individual topography of a given composer’s opus. In this country, the experience and reverberations of the Modern, as in European music generally (albeit of lesser intensity and concentration and somewhat later appearance, yet therefore enjoying an influence extending far into the third decade of the century), may be recognized in both the innovatory potential of certain merely sketched-out impressionistic and expressionistic forays, and those restorative efforts which, by reverting to certain traditional paradigms of compositional technique, sought, among other things, to compensate for certain moments which had not sufficiently found expression in local music history. We find the former in, for example, the dissolution of formal, tonal and generic paradigms in the tone poems of Božidar Širola (Nokturno (Nocturne) for soprano and orchestra (1915), text by Vladimir Nazor) or Oskar Jozefović (Na Nilu (On the Nile) for soprano and orchestra (1919), text by Vladimir Vidrić), where the literary source has a decisive influence on the music’s formal procedures; in the orchestral rhapsody Nocturne (1921) by Štolcer Slavenski; or in the symphonic poems of Blagoje Bersa, the earlier of which – Dramatska uvertira (Dramatic Overture), Idila (Idyll), Capriccio Scherzo – have been persistently interpreted in traditional Croatian music historiography as parts of a (unfinished) symphony, rather than as typifying the Modern in their abandonment of the symphonic concept, while the later ones (Sunčana polja (The Sunny Fields) from 1919 and Sablasti (Ghosts) from 1926) provide the best examples in Croatian music of the influence of Richard Strauss’ instrumentation and Gustav Mahler’s programmatic symbolism (see: Sedak 1999a: 315-322). Innovations of the expressionist type may be found in several choruses by Krsto Odak (Radosna noć u gradu (Joyful Night in the City), a 1922 setting of an expressionist text by Antun Branko Šimić, or the five-voice Madrigal, a setting of the French Parnassian poet Catulle Mendès which attracted favourable notice at the 1929 ISCM festival in Geneva), and most especially in the solo songs of Dragan Plamenac (Trois poemes de Charles Baudelaire, 1915) and Dora Pejačević (Drei Gesänge op. 53 (1920), with texts by Nietzsche and Verwandlung op. 37 (1915), to a text by Karl Kraus) (see Kos 1982: 51-71). The early works of Antun Dobronić, such as Karneval (Carnival) for orchestra (1913), and in particular Krešimir Baranović (Concert Overture (1916), Symphonic Scherzo (1921), Poeme balcanique (1926)) may also be viewed in light of a certain ‘Slavic’ derivative of expressionism. As Baranović was to show in his later ballets and operas, and especially his song cycle for voice and orchestra Z mojih bregov (From My Native Hills, 1927), based on poems by Fran Galović, he was the only composer here with the powers necessary for a synthesis of Stravinskian proportions. 56 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
In Croatian music, the restorative tendencies that existed side-by-side with the aforementioned, albeit antinomic characteristics of the Modern may be found in the neo-Baroque counterpoint of the organ works and certain chamber compositions by Franjo Dugan (1874-1948) and Franjo Lučić (1889-1972), as well as in the historicizing programmatic outlines for the orchestral scores of Slavomir Grančarić (1878-1941) and Lujo Šafranek Kavić (1882-1940), as their titles alone sufficiently indicate: Pad carstva (Fall of the Empire, 1928), Kraljević Marko (Prince Marko, 1930), Medvjedgradska kraljica (The Queen of Medvjedgrad, 1925). However, these only repeat, much later and much less successfully, Bersa’s historical visions from the turn of the century, such as Hamlet (1897) or Una notte in Ellade (1902), to which he himself would return again during the Twenties in the form of that classic suite of piano pieces entitled Po načinu starih ‘Airs de ballet’ (In the Manner of the Old ‘Airs de ballet’, 1924), which may almost be said to represent a convergence of modernist historicism and neoclassical reminiscences of Rameau and Couperin. One of the very latest echoes of these restorative tendencies was Krsto Odak’s 1938 Passacaglia (in both its organ and orchestral versions), which quite openly displays the influence of Max Reger (see Flotzinger 1997: 80-89), and thereby deviates from the basic stylistic colouring of the composer’s other works of that period. Although, by introducing the term (or concept?) of modernist classicism, international musicologists have only recently begun trying to eliminate, or at least reduce, the negative connotation assigned to the term neoclassicism (in the sense of a retrograde reaction to the avant-garde breakthrough of the Second Viennese School), as a stylistic formation due to a concurrence of (primarily extramusical) circumstances (see Danuser 1997: 11-13), in those situations where this avant-garde breakthrough did not occur neoclassicism has not been, or did not even need to be, rehabilitated. Without entering here into a discussion of whether this new term/concept is justified, we shall make use of it in the following part of this text, primarily because, rather than differences, it seeks to emphasize common features among stages of music history in the first half of the 20th century, and thus better corresponds to the reality of the milieu we are examining here. In following, more by the natural inclinations of their musical sensibility than a declared aesthetic orientation, the impressionistic rather than the expressionistic implications of the Modern’s innovative potential, a number of composers born at the very start of the century, such as Stanislav Preprek (1900-92), Rudolf Matz (1901-1988), Ivo Prišlin (1902-41) and Božidar Kunc (1903-64), who were later joined by younger ones such as Milo Cipra (1906-1985) and Bruno Bjelinski (1909-1992), as well as older composers like Jozefović, adopted neoclassicism primarily as a form of compositional handwriting whose additive formal schemes (Jozefović, Uvertira veseloj igri (Overture to a Comedy, 1920); Cipra, Sinfonietta (1934); Božidar Kunc’s early ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 57
L to R: Boris Papandopulo and Stjepan Šulek
piano miniatures), distinctive ‘motivic dynamism’ (Kunc, Capriccio, op. 38; Jozefović, Sonata for Violin and Piano (1913); Prišlin, Second Symphony (1939)), modal deviations (Cipra, First String Quartet (1930); Kunc, Second Piano Sonata (1936)), and agglomerated thirds on the vertical plane (Prišlin, First and Second Piano Sonatas (1928, 1931)) would contribute to a ‘defunctionalizing’ of harmonic space and a rationalization of formal frameworks, as the precondition to a regenerative shift away from Romanticism. The majority of these composers were also not averse to using folkloric material stylized to various degrees (Jozefović’s symphonic poem Osvit (Daybreak, 1928), Cipra’s early song cycles and Second Symphony (1952), Kunc’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, (1927)), which, with regard to the overall aesthetic and stylistic position of these composers, may be interpreted as a more or less pronounced exoticism unconnected to any sort of nationalist orientation. Besides this, for most of the aforementioned composers, as well as for some younger ones like Ivo Lhotka-Kalinski (1913-1987) and Ivo Maček (19142002), or the even younger Anđelko Klobučar (1931- ) and Petar Bergamo (1930-) – whose deeply personal awareness, compressed in expression and virtuosic in technique, of the totality, simultaneity and availability of the historical stock of musical material grants him a special place in recent Croatian music – a certain neoclassical constant would also serve as a kind of shield against the influences of the new, which were unavoidably encountered during the second half of the century. Such was the case with Bruno Bjelinski, whose Prokofiev-like transparency of structure yielded its finest results in the song cycles Pjesme za bezimenu (Songs for a Nameless Woman) and Bez povratka (No Return), both from 1953, and Gitanjali (1957), as well as in 58 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
numerous concertos and symphonies, some of which, following Mahler’s example, were augmented by vocal parts (the third movement of the Second Symphony (1960), parts of the Fifth (1969), the entire Sixth (1974), the second and third movements of the Seventh (1982), the second movement of the Fourteenth (1987) and the third movement of the Fifteenth (1988)). Bjelinski’s compositional style did not change over the course of the years, although in later works he was perhaps more inclined toward playful experimentation (Gumpis Trio for oboe, bassoon and clarinet (1979), Festival Sinfonietta for accordion orchestra, bass, tympani and snare drum (1980), Concerto Grosso for saxophone quartet and string orchestra (1990)), while at the end of his creative life (the final chorus of his Fifteenth Symphony) his style was poeticized in a way that verged on a much broader sense of spatiality and tone colour. This same undeniable neoclassical constant was found in the work of Milo Cipra and Boris Papandopulo; there, however, it led in quite different directions. The cautious constructivism with which Cipra approached the sonic tissue, combined with his sensitivity to the visual dimension of melodic designs and the literary (philosophical?) associations and symbolism of selected intervallic structures, regularly provided an occasion for the rational, anti-Romantic aspects of his compositional style to come to the fore. Apart from this, his reliance on the extramusical significance of the chosen material led back directly to Debussy. The ‘sun theme’ which forms the nucleus of the super-thematic series of 11 notes serving as the foundation of his Sunčev put (The Sun’s Path, 1958/59), freely based on certain elements of the twelvetone technique, begins with the tones d and g (or re and sol, interpreted as ‘king’ and ‘sun’) – the same interval of a fourth which, ever since Scriabin and Debussy, had been liberating music from the tyranny of thirds, of major and minor, and with which Cipra, in the first four sections of his Fifth String Quartet (1976), designated by the letters A to D, defined the structural point of departure for the entire work; the same magical tone d (Meditation sur re, 1974), that is, the first letter of the name Debussy, the composer whom Cipra, in musical and verbal testimony alike, cited as the father of all the essential impulses in the development of contemporary music. Yet Cipra himself was to become part of this development only in the Sixties, as the oldest among Croatia’s composers. It was also due in part to the neoclassical constant that Boris Papandopulo, in his opus numbering more than 400 works, was able to overarch most of the aesthetic as well as ideological schisms lurking along his way as a composer, and to avoid most of the stylistic labels offered to him. Examples include the postexpressionistically agitated sonority of his Piano Sonata (1929) and the obsessive dynamism of the asymmetrical, non-periodic thematic groupings of its first movement (Gaćeša 1992: 16), which are directly (even illustratively?) linked ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 59
to the composition’s (socially critical, programmatic?) motto2; the composer’s experience with archaic folklore – for example, Slavoslovije (Laudamus) for soloists, choir and orchestra (1927) or Muka gospodina našeg Isukrsta (The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ) for male choir a cappella (1936) – in which, as in the popular liturgical singing of Dalmatia, quite different traditions (Orthodox oktoechos, Glagolitic chant, Gregorian chant) met to produce a peculiar musical polyglotism, a possible extraterritorialization of the national; the less radical, yet lifelong interest in folklore with whose aid Papandopulo was able to dissolve traditional forms and circumvent the dramaturgy of the sonata in favour of freer cyclical structures (Svatovske (Wedding Songs, 1924), Fourth String Quartet (1950), Čakavska suita (Chakavian Suite, 1955), Istarske freske (Istrian Frescos, 1973) and so on); and the virtuoso classicist, as well as classical, syntheses of his best works, such as his Sinfonietta (1938) or Concerto da Camera for soprano solo, violin and seven woodwind instruments (1929), whose acerbic sonority and motoric drive partake at once of the neoBaroque and – in terms of the new functionalism, accessibility and social utility of art music then current in Europe – the New Objectivity. And while it would be quite inappropriate today to link the note of social criticism present in the 1929 Piano Sonata (that same year, in fact, also saw the composition of a symphonic picture, tellingly entitled Rad (Work), for male choir and large orchestra) with the programmatic orientation of some of Papandopulo’s politically ‘engaged’ (pro-regime?) vocal-instrumental and orchestral output following 1945 (such as Stojanka, Majka Knežopoljka (Stojanka, the Mother of Knežopolje, 1950), Poema o Neretvi (Poem of the Neretva River, 1951), or Legende o drugu Titu (Legends of Comrade Tito, 1960)), the composer’s use of archaic folklore should be studied in greater detail, since it, like the New Objectivity, formed an integral part of the aforementioned transformation of stylistic and aesthetic expectations in European music at that time. This involved an essentially different approach to folklore which, instead of viewing it within the context of 19th century Herderian exoticism, began to perceive it as a possible source and starting-point for an authentic renewal of musical material and syntax, scalar and metrical-rhythmic systems, sonic simultaneities, speech melodies, specific instrumental and vocal colourings, and so on. In such endeavours, composers like Bartók and Janáček, for example, contended that it was possible to penetrate down to those layers of the folkloric material where its identifying traits would be lost, thereby revealing, in its fullest clarity, a pure structure freed of all cultural overlay, one able to spark the genesis of some new systematic principle that would ensure a new sort of musicality. Without entering here into a discussion of the 2. At the opening of the first movement of the sonata stand the words: ‘The worker is mortal, work lives eternal; machines sing, man dies!’ It is interesting that Papandopulo also composed his symphonic picture Rad (Work) for male choir and large orchestra in the same year and using the same motto, as well as verses by Ra-Zem (Bela Pečić). See: Krpan, 1986, I MS. p. 6 60 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
destiny and significance of such tendencies in the development of European art music, it may be argued that they also began to enjoy a theoretically-based reception in Croatian music of the first half of the 20th century, primarily in the work of Pavao Markovac and some early texts by Boris Papandopulo, which were followed up on, after World War II, by Ivo Kirigin and Slavko Zlatić. Papandopulo’s analysis of the ‘musical territory between East and West’ is especially interesting in this regard. Contrasting the characteristics of Byzantine melismata with Gregorian chant, Papandopulo’s analysis, which highlighted distinctive harmonic features, homophonic traits, peculiarities of scale, intervallic alterations and so on, was the fruit of the composer’s lively experience, and equally lively creative treatment, of the ‘national’ as musical material first and foremost (Papandopulo 1934: 374). At the same time, we find a number of compositions (to be sure, not an especially large number) which attest to various forms of latent or implicit reception of such basic theoretical precepts among composers. What these works have in common is the fact that they emerged within a relatively short time span (1920-30), and that they differ substantially from the ‘national identity’ music of the following decade. One such work is Koleda (Carol), a folk rite in five parts for male choir and instrumental ensemble written in 1925 by Jakov Gotovac, a work whose reduction of the intervallic and rhythmic structure and its symbolic use of instrumental sound and vocal colour achieves, despite the lack of direct quotation, an effect of archaic folk music. In a similar context, Božidar Širola’s oratorio Život i spomen slavnih učitelja, svete braće Ćirila i Metodija, apostola slavenskih (The Lives and Memory of the Celebrated Teachers and Slavic Apostles, the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius) for soloists and a cappella choir (1926) also deserves mention. The asceticism of its material, its repetitiveness, and its dryness of expression create an atmosphere of primitive musicality which is hard to pinpoint geographically, yet which symbolically traces the geographical and cultural arc described by the text of the oratorio. While in general these two composers nonetheless fit the conventional pattern of a utilitarian and functional national trend in music during the interwar period, especially in their later work (after 1930), Josip Štolcer Slavenski’s entire opus, and in particular his most significant early works (the piano suite Sa Balkana (From the Balkans, 1910-17), the Sonata Religiosa for organ and violin (1919-25), the choruses Voda zvira (Water Springs, 1916-21) and Romarska (Pilgrims’ Song, 1922), and the First String Quartet (1923)), bear witness to the persistence of a certain aesthetic idée fixe that sought in folklore a “third and final ‘answer’ to the question: ‘how to go on’” (Mitchell 1976: 109). Of course, Štolcer Slavenski’s interest in folklore derived from his ethnomusicological pursuits, probably as a result of his brief collaboration with Bartók at the time of his studies with Kodály in Budapest, but he was soon to radicalize its archetypally-ingrained structural characteristics exclusively by the force of his own creative imagination, so as to align it with his own quite ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 61
irrational concept of an essentially new sonic sensibility. To this end, Slavenski intuitively mixed techniques and styles (the neoclassical formulations of his Second String Quartet from 1928, the expressionistic assaults of his Muzika harmonije i disharmonije (Music of Harmony and Disharmony) from 1936, folkloric languages and sources (Slavenska sonata (Slavic Sonata) for violin and piano (1924), Balkanofonija (Balkonophony) for orchestra (1927), Simfonija orijenta (Symphony of the Orient) for soloists, choir and orchestra (1934)), and technologies and instruments (Muzika za četiri trautonija i timpane (Music for Four Trautoniums and Tympani) and Muzika za Bosanquetov harmonij (Music for Bosanquet’s Harmonium), both from 1937), disregarding musical orthography, traditional systems (experimentation with quarter-tones and untempered tuning) and scholarly disciplines (his speculations in Astroakustika, or Astro-acoustics), all with the aim of attaining an imaginary ‘sonority of the spheres’ (unrealized projects such as Ur-symphony, Cosmogony, Heliophony), whose most radical realization was perhaps in the chromatic totalities of his 1932 orchestral work Chaos (see Sedak 1999: 219-227). This reckless visionary quality also made Slavenski the only musician in the 1920s who was ready and able to take part in those brief flashes of futurism in Croatian literature (the works of Janko Polić-Kamov or Antun Gustav Matoš) and criticism (the Zadar periodical Zvrk (1914), ‘the voice of the Croatian futurist movement’) and – as part of that controversial local version of the strategies of Marinetti’s manifestos, which, under the name of zenitizam, mobilized some literary and visual arts activities in Croatia – to ‘collaborate’ on the magazine Zenit (Zenith) by contributing some printed music (the movement entitled ‘Zagorje Tamburitza Players’ from the piano suite From the Balkans) whose visual as well as sonic aspects might lend support to the aesthetics of the ‘barbarogenius’ promoted by this magazine (see Sedak 1999: 226-227). It is interesting that the attention shown by international scholars to music from this region during the period under examination here, however sporadic it was, tended to focus precisely on works representing this aesthetic of radicalized folkloric archaism. This was demonstrated by the success of Slavenski’s First String Quartet at the 1924 Chamber Music Days in Donaueschingen, and of his choruses two years later; the positive reception accorded Širola’s oratorio at the 1927 ISCM festival in Frankfurt; or another success for Slavenski two years after this, when Balkanophony was performed in Berlin. The vocabulary used in critical notices on these performances clearly reveal, first and foremost, a fascination with an idiom experienced as something elemental, authentic, even primitive, in which the Central European music scene of the late Twenties perceived certain useful vital impulses (see Sedak 2004: 22-27). Ten years later, the emphasis would be on the foreign and the other, and one segment of musical production in this area was to recognize an opportunity here, replacing radicalized folkloric archaism with 62 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
more accessible forms of representative and recognizable national artefacts, sufficiently different from those of the outside world to be interesting and, at the same time, enough akin to them so that this difference could be noticed. The work of Ivo Brkanović (1906-1987) was on the borderline between these two tendencies. Even in his earliest works, which a certain Stravinskian fascination with the folkloric, the mythical and the ritual freed from every form of determination by the Central European tradition (his choruses Konavosko pirovanje (The Wedding Feast in Konavle, 1933) and Krijes planine (The Mountain Bonfire, 1942), or Triptihon, a folk funeral ritual for soloists, choir and orchestra from 1936), he was developing the question of formal cohesion as the consequence of a motivating energy and exploring the balance contained in an originating and omnipresent motivic nucleus (e.g. the b-a-c-h motif as the intervallic focal point of his Second Symphony from 1946, or the ballet-oratorio Heloti (The Helots) from 1960). Brkanović searched intensively for a system (one rooted in a national idiom?) that would ensure the structural yet also spiritual unity of the tone structure, wherein he, like Bartók, demonstrated a fascination with the stability and (biological?) universality of the palindromic form – examples include his First and Third String Quartets (1933 and 1983, respectively), Stabat mater for soloists, choir and orchestra (1981), and Kantata o sv. Križu (Cantata of the Holy Cross, 1982). As in the case of Štolcer Slavenski, the emotionality characterizing Brkanović’s relationship to the archaic and folkloric indicates a rootedness in the expressionistic sphere of the Modern, something which is particularly clearly demonstrated by his monumental vocal-instrumental works, which demand an added scenic dimension: the music drama Ekvinocij (Equinox, 1945), the opera-oratorio Zlato Zadra (The Gold of Zadar, 1954), and the scenic oratorio Hod po mukah Ambroza Matije Gupca, zvanog Beg (The Tormented Path of Ambroz Matija Gubec, Called the Bey, 1972). Although it could be said that the folkloric characteristics of Brkanović’s opus made him an almost ideal representative of the nationalist trend in Croatian music of the interwar period, this was not, in fact, the case. For, in accordance with the aesthetic of mainstream functional music as articulated by the contemporary Central European Zeitgeist, it was desirable that such music should show a more temperate and more decorative face – and, of course, an unproblematic one. Between 1924 and 1942 hits for the musical stage meeting these criteria came one after the other: ballets like Krešimir Baranović’s Licitarsko srce (The Gingerbread Heart, 1924), Cvijeće male Ide (Little Ida’s Flowers, 1925), Imbrek z nosom (Long-Nose Imbrek, 1934) and Fran Lhotka’s Đavo u selu (A Devil in the Village, 1934), the success of which was due in large part to exceptional choreographers like Pia and Pino Mlakar or the Russians Margareta and Maksimilian Froman, whose importance for the development of the art of dance and the composition of ballet scores in Croatia was comparable to that of Diaghilev in Russia a decade earlier, ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 63
as well as operas like Baranović’s Striženo-košeno (Sheared and Mown, 1932), Odak’s Dorica pleše (Dorica Dances, 1933) and Gotovac’s Ero s onoga svijeta (Ero the Joker, 1935). With the help of these works (but of course not only them), there arose a uniform preconception regarding the stylistic (folkloric) characteristics of this period in music, irregardless of the great differences as to how, and how much, folklore was incorporated and transformed (as well as sometimes avoided!) in these works, and despite the fact that these same composers wrote works showing quite different tendencies, even in the same genres (e.g. Lhotka’s ballets Balada o srednjovjekovnoj ljubavi (Ballad of a Medieval Love) from 1936 and Lûk (The Arch) from 1937). Also overlooked was the fact that such hits were even written by composers for whom folklore was, and remained, only a type of exoticism inherited from the 19th century and to be treated as such – as was the case with the opera Adel i Mara (Adel and Mara, 1932) by Josip Hatze (see Bezić 1982) – and not at all a means of the (musical) construction of a national identity, or the structural regeneration of musical material, such as was the aim in the aforementioned works by Širola and Štolcer Slavenski. The ideological quality of mainstream functional music thus conceived adapted itself almost ideally to the ideological atmosphere following World War II and the aesthetics of ‘socialist realism’, within which folklore was, of course, employed not as a space of national identity but as a language of artistic communication (one that was simplified and familiar to the common people), with whose help the ideological content could more easily reach those for whom it was intended. This was shown by the music of ‘politically engaged’composers from the second half of the 1930s to the first decade after the war. From the primarily folklore-oriented opus of Slavko Zlatić (1910-1993) and the works of Ivo Kirigin (1914-64), whose Hindemithian Five Movements for Strings (1958) or the ballet Susreti (Encounters, 1963), with its Bartókian instrumentation, achieved in their day a fairly effective counterbalance to his programmatic, ‘politically engaged’ compositions such as the cantata Pjesme o zemlji (Song of the Earth, 1952) or Symphonic Poem (1955), to Silvije Bombardelli (1914-2002), one of the few composers who (paradoxically?) had an ear for more radical atonality in his works from the late Thirties such as the Piano Sonatina (1937) or Second String Quartet (1939) – composers sought in quite different ways to respond to the demands of the moment. Although it would seem that the most significant of all of them, Stjepan Šulek (1914-86), strived fanatically throughout his artistic career to defend the dignity of the autonomous creative process and its result, the work of art, in his own quite specific manner he, too, sought to respond to the demands of the (historical) moment. In his monumental, albeit not particularly extensive opus, in which there were no ‘minor’ works, Šulek primarily attempted to defend tradition – and this, despite an external lack of development in style 64 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
and technique, within several mutually interconnected spheres of creativity in which change occurred quite discreetly. In one of these, crowned by the opera Oluja (The Tempest, 1969), we may include his first six symphonies (1944-66), the three classical concertos for orchestra (1944, 1952, 1957) and the two piano concertos (1949, 1951), as well as most of his other solo concertos. The neo-Baroque and neoclassical elements in this sphere of creativity lent his work an expressive energy, but also a certain hermetic quality. Beginning with the Third Piano Concerto (1970), the Concerto for Organ and Orchestra (1974), the orchestral work Epitaf (Epitaph, 1971) and the Concert Etudes for piano (1971), the presence of Rimski-Korsakov, Liszt, Ravel and Richard Strauss was, alongside classical models, ever more frequently felt in matters of musical craftsmanship. Strauss’ influence was particularly evident in Šulek’s radiant final work, the set of five string quartets called Moje djetinstvo (My Childhood, 1985), which not only radicalized the softer side of Šulek’s Romantic phraseology, but also increasingly subjected form to a discursive, extramusical narration. In his middle creative period Šulek’s dramatic perception of life was practically obsessive. From his Second Symphony ‘Eroica’ (1946) and his Fourth (1953-54), with its motto ‘Desperans Pacem, Spero’, this was to sublimate itself in the cantata Zadnji Adam (The Last Adam, 1964), a setting of verses by Silvije Strahimir Kranjčević, the orchestral Epitaph (‘to a lost illusion’), the Organ Concerto (Memento) and the Concert Etudes for piano, with its subtitle S.O.S. Here Šulek’s thematic work plunged ever deeper into the interiority of the musical fabric, and was ever more frequently interrupted and broken, as in late Mahler, by symbolic motifs that disturbed a hitherto immaculate architectonics of form; the latter abandoned the normative features of its classical archetypes, whose elements, taken as models, it arranged into unforeseeable yet clearly-joined series, in accordance with an extramusical discourse which was to ensure them a cohesive content. In such works Šulek was increasingly fascinated by pure sound, and increasingly susceptible to rhetorical musical gestures in the service of a ‘message’. In the synthetic traditionalism of his symphonic and concerto works above all, Šulek’s position was somewhat comparable to that of Ralph Vaughan Williams or William Walton, composers who, despite their difference in orientation from one aspect of the Zeitgeist in European new music, contributed to the continuity and authority of the symphonic genre in their country through to the second half of the century. In the dramatic and, at the same time, contemplative nature of its contemporary Weltschmerz, Šulek’s work was akin to the ‘laments and accusations’ written in internal exile during the late Thirties, and in protest against the inhumanity of the times, by yet another great symphonist, Karl Amadeus Hartmann. Šulek’s presence in 20th century Croatian music – as teacher, composer and performer – was impressive, and the declared antimodernism of that presence made him, by a paradoxical reverse logic, a sort of ‘pioneer’ of Croatian ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 65
contemporary music. His contrary stance toward the trends of the time – the folklore of the 1940’s, the ‘socrealism’ of the 1950’s, and new music from the Sixties onward – as a controversial and, at the same time, authoritative public act, as well as the extensive critical reception accorded thereto (see BalogPetrović 2004), played an active part in forming the physiognomy of Croatian musical modernism as we still perceive it today in the work of some of the youngest composers. In this regard, it is perhaps revealing that Milko Kelemen, one of the most important representatives of contemporary music in Croatia even outside its national borders, has stated that the most important thing he learned from his teacher was an expansive self-consciousness, an excitable artistic pride, even haughtiness, of spirit which, borne by great talent and skill, believes in the infallibility of its ways, even when more than just talent and skill are in question. Such a quality is welcome in every small nation (and not just in music). Postscript The Yugoslav section of the International Society for Contemporary Music was established in Zagreb on 2 December 1925, as part of the Croatian Institute of Music. The Initiative Committee, made up of Fran Lhotka, rector of the Royal Academy of Music in Zagreb, Petar Konjović, director of the National Theatre in Zagreb, composer Zlatko Grgošević and Croatian Institute of Music secretary Artur Schneider, met at the suggestion of internationallyrenowned soprano Maja Strozzi and her husband Bela Pečić following their return from the third ISCM festival in Prague that same year. At the section’s constituent assembly, the following were elected by secret ballot to its Head Committee: Petar Konjović (chairman), Slovenian composer Anton Lajovic, the Serbian composers Kosta Manojlović and Miloje Milojević, Croatian composers Krešimir Baranović, Fran Lhotka, Antun Dobronić and Božidar Širola (treasurer), cellist Umberto Fabbri, and Artur Schneider as secretary. That same day the initiators of the constituent assembly received a letter from Zlatko Grgošević (one of the initiators) and composers Jakov Gotovac, Marko Tajčević and Rade Ivellio, explaining their refusal to join the section as follows: ‘The idea of musical nationalism, which has been the guiding principle of all our work thus far, is unlikely to find its fulfilment in this association, due to insurmountable differences in the understanding of this idea on the part of the gentlemen who have joined together to form this society.’3 Disagreements of this kind, which were by no means limited to the local section (see Haefeli 1973: 22-24), accompanied its work for the entire five-year period during which it was based in Zagreb, through which all correspondence between interested composers and the London central office 3. See the documentation of the Yugoslav section of ISCM preserved in the Croatian Institute of Music’s archives under file number III-DO/11. 66 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
and, to an even greater extent, the organizers of local festivals in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, was necessarily channelled. This intermediary role was imposed on the Zagreb office due also to the fact that it proved impossible to convene a Yugoslav jury whose selection would then be distributed from a single location. As the chief secretary, Artur Schneider kept the section’s mechanism running with exemplary precision, occupying himself primarily with its administrative functions and never-ending financial difficulties. That part of the documentation relating to the section’s program and professional activities may be summarized here by reference to two basic topics: the attempt to initiate activities promoting modern music within its own territory; and the attempt to secure a place for Croatian, Slovenian and Serbian composers on the ISCM’s regular annual concerts in Europe. The results of the first endeavour were not considerable. The idea of organizing private concerts had been present from the very beginning, but there was no success in realizing it, so that Schneider could only conclude, in his annual report for 1926, that the section had merely developed ‘preparatory activities’. As for the results of the second endeavour, these could be seen in efforts to give composers from this part of the world international exposure, culminating in the aforementioned performance of Božidar Širola’s oratorio The Lives and Memory of the Slavic Apostles, the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius at the 1927 ISCM festival in Frankfurt, and of Krsto Odak’s Madrigal at the Geneva festival two years later (Sedak 1992: 195-200). At the end of the decade the Yugoslav section of ISCM ceased its activities in Zagreb, and all the documentation was moved to Belgrade, where efforts were made to re-establish the section’s activities only some time later, and with certain difficulties (Živković 1932: 267-271).
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Sedak, Eva 2004
Sedak, Eva 2005 Stamać, Ante 1997
Glazba pedesetih [The Music of the Fifties]. In: Maković, Z., Janković, I. R. (ed.), Pedesete godine u hrvatskoj umjetnosti / The Fifties in Croatian Art /. Zagreb: Hrvatsko društvo likovnih umjetnika, 190-201. Znakovi moderne u djelima hrvatskih skladatelja. Pokušaj tipizacije. [Signs of the Modern in the Works of Croatian Composers. An Attempt at a Typology.] In: Sedak, E., (ed.) Između moderne i avangarde / Between the Moderne and the AvantGarde. Croatian Music 1910-1960 /. Zagreb: HMD, 11-36. Dugi dan Stjepana Šuleka [The Long Day of Stjepan Šulek]. Cantus, no. 130, 15-19.
Odakovo doba: duh umjetnosti vs. Duh zemlje [Odak’s Era: The Spirit of Art vs. the Spirit of the Earth]. In: Sedak, E. (ed.) Krsto Odak, život i djelo / Krsto Odak, Life and Opus /. Zagreb: HMD/HGZ/HAZU, 9-13. Stuckenschmidt, Hans Heinz 1951 Neue Musik. Berlin: Suhrkamp. Šaban, Ladislav 1982 Škunca, Mirjana 1996
Šuvaković, Miško 2004 Žmegać, Viktor 1967 Živković, Milenko 1932
150 godina Hrvatskog glazbenog zavoda [150 Years of the Croatian Institute of Music]. Zagreb: HGZ. Tragovi impresionizma u skladateljskom opusu Ive Paraća: Musiche Pascoliane: Povod za (re)valorizaciju skladatelja. [Traces of Impressionism in Ivo Parać’s Collection Musiche Pascoliane: An Attempt at a (Re)valorization of the Composer.] In: Majer-Bobetko, S., Weber, Z. (ed.), Recepcija glazbe Claudea Debussyja u Hrvatskoj / La reception de la musique de Claude Debussy en Croatie /. Zagreb: Muzička akademija Sveučilišta u Zagrebu – Institut Francais de Zagreb, 109-129. Theoretical Models of Modernist Ideology in the 1950s. In: (no editor) Art & Ideology. The 1950s in a Divided Europe. Zagreb: Društvo povjesničara umjetnosti, 13-20. “Zenit”, eine vergessene Zeitschrift. In: Die Welt der Slaven XII, no. 4, 353-362. Međunarodno društvo za savremenu muziku [The International Society for Contemporary Music]. Muzički glasnik, Beograd, V/10, 265-274.
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From my WNMD diaries Dubravko Detoni
Warsaw, May 1992 In the darkness below deck of the Church of the Holy Cross, Chopinâ€™s heart swings and tinkles, in the form of a miniature piano. And in the church, in the middle of the Old Town, a shattering, deadly lucid self-requiem by Tomasz Sikorski is being played; always the same words of L to R: Sorin Lerescu, Dubravko Detoni and Helmut W. Erdmann swear-prayers of strings are lamenting, always unimportantly different barking of the camp guards-winds, everything is a bleak, sorrowful whirl of everyday life. In the overall crackling and the flickering of candles, in the irremovable bad odour of weakness or fear, the burning wooden cross from the altar is constantly bending and hovering above us, the crucified, dead Tomek himself, wrapped in all of his misfortunes, ugliness and impudence that have occurred from wisdom and inspiration. This tiny piece defeats and, at the same time, makes all of its musical surroundings unnecessary and cloying. Today I have succeeded, after many hours of doubt, wrangling, scraping off the sediments of crestfallen scorn and malevolence: Croatia is a regular member of ISCM. Congratulations, smiles, temporary fame. On the topic of the Croatian triumph I start a diagonal quarrel with a respected Swiss colleague who, in the final discussion at the congress, almost ruined everything by making some inappropriate political allusions to the current position of Croatia. After the victory everything seems better: shopwindows wave at me, pavements are pliably springy, parks bounce ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 73
screamingly around the monuments that benignantly lean forward and roguishly spin around like brandished carousels. I am intercepted by a joyful gentleman who, bending and enthusiastically gesticulating, rushes towards happiness; it is I! At the estuary of the Krakow suburbs and the Old Town the sun is turning on and off like an artificially sped-up traffic light. Here in the valley lies the royal castle like a fed sow and hides beneath it nameless royal piggies that suck its lukewarm juice of history until the very last drop. The Amadeus orchestra is sitting across the festival square and fixing compositions like a debauched gypsy tinker. Silence does not even work on Sundays. Great stone echo is galloping over the square of Warsaw rebels; it is my stone l1ion that has escaped from the torn down wall in the StanisĹ‚aw Moniuszko Street, where two and a half decades ago, during windy nights, it was swinging over the head of a provincial stroller like a dramatically shivering, Chopin-like nocturnal harmony. Churches still stand like neurotic percussionists before a premiere, in a solemn orchestra of the city, announcing the crucial change of melodies by the clattering of the mountain bells. Hotels stick out like during an escape scattered petits fours glacĂŠs in a broken shopwindow of a magnificent pastry shop; vehicles joyfully drive off from the loop into the underground; a better world awaits them there.
Mexico City, November 1993 In the early evening, around the pyramids, malicious drumming from the sky begins â€“ the spectacle of the opening ceremony. Poisonous coils of recently awakened ancient sounds are flying around; only the pyramids themselves can successfully resist them, lying stone camels, weirdly tattooed with silent largeheaded symbols. Going back at midnight, endless hilly settlements of brightly illuminated, yet hungry little peripheral houses look like large, in despair sadly torn down Christmas trees of the poor. The cathedral in the night is like an imaginary sum of all walls and shadows that have so far been built in the whole world, an endless spiral of huge, somewhat messed up buildings that are still emerging and disappearing, with no reason. Above it, amidst the somewhat frowning sky, inclines a violently sewn in, demon-like profile of the last, tragicomical priest of cold indifference and solitary oversensitive spleen, the Moon. At noon, honouring the last independent music genius, the ancient miracle called Conlon Nancarrow. The trembling, wrinkled, crumbling old man, accompanied by a little girl, is sitting next to me, frightened to death facing the fame that came too late, while neurotically wild claws of invisible monsters of his youth music spin indented rolls of secret instructions comprehensible only to the mechanical brain of the machine. With no cause and human initiator, they are rooting out the keyboard, putting the keys up and down, scattering hammers everywhere and in the air, taking apart and 74 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
again putting together the hopping greenish player piano, which responds in tiny ravished, hysterical exclamations like a mare that lost its way into a drunken John Ford-like party of present, yet by miracle unnoticeable cowboy savages. Along with the small movement, there is also a big one: parts of furniture start to move up and down, as well as the walls of rooms and the roofs of palaces, everyone starts, even against their will, to clatter their halfopen organs, snouts and feelers. At the very end, the whole Ciudad de México flutters in hundreds of rebellious, independent times, clatters and squeals, wails like a siren and spins like a top, excitedly giving important, deciding signs to the sky with no inhabitants, a sky frightfully blue and amorphous.
Stockholm, October 1994 Grey and ruffled sky shakes its hair out of which, occasionally, torn apart stumps of unknown animals and skipped days come floating. Long time ago, in its battles with the waters of the Iron Sea, the city lost its legs and it is now, supported by old pains, crawling around everywhere like a half-petrified worm. The air is a brilliant, cleaned, but sharp-edged artificial glass, seethrough only on one side. Our ship glides through beauties-houses, their legs apart, and, with a quick movement of tongue, it licks each of their genitals, which are empty and cold. Hidden in a dark hole of the museum, the littleold worm-eaten Swedish king sleeps in a sitting position for 200 years already, fearing that his chemistry might spill over and mix up in his body; in his theatre he had forbidden Mozart because he was told that, in the night, he stares at trees impolitely, and he also touches water, which he is unexplainably and ambiguously close with, with his weirdly corrupt finger movements. In the meanwhile, Michael Jarrell tears music’s vital organs away and ominously fertilizes them, alone, outside of it. Dmitrij Janov-Janovski creates a naïve paradisiacal pastorale, a wonderful tonal landscape that only lacks a little bit of oddness in the middle. Luca Francesconi irritates and warms up the sound with ugly movements; but his tones jump over to the ceiling in elastic rebounds, where they observe the landed, extramusical action with an unseen calm. Almost out of nothing, a vessel of crystal clarity and superhuman order dives out, an amazing anthem of female naturalness hidden amongst sounds of Nomeda Valančiūtė. Six holy, sordined trumpet hermaphrodites sing a spookily vulgar, yet silverly wonderful choral by Ruggles; just 21 bars of warmed-up silence managed to say it all, while some half-hour mishmash do not even manage to open their mouth.
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Essen, June 1995 This is a male area. Hundreds of insanely enlarged stone tubes have grown out of earth and they stalk the thousands of giant, grand-steel phalluses, vertically spread all over the sky; it would only take one word to flip over the world with a loud crash. But there is not a single valid word in the word anymore, and even if maybe the last one of them would be found, all these grandiose mechanisms would fall apart into ashes on its very first touch. In the old theatre, Anthony de Mare is grasping and swallowing Monahem’s piano with terrifying movements, like a starving octopus. On the other hand, Edgar Varèse performs a lobotomy on music with noticeable skill; but the coded result, due to its superiority, is not discernable to human ears. Henry Cowell’s Piano Concerto is an unattractive, yet interesting (although not rare) example of an avant-garde that is, in its core, even more old-fashioned than the most hard-core tradition. And 18 blind Wolman’s players, pegging long with their white sticks, still knock and, imprisoned, hopelessly wander around; realizing the situation, a desperate double bass player, after everything, tries to escape by knocking on himself. At the same time, Ana Lara elevates the player and moves her around the heights, so that somewhere out there she could meet angels of pure sonar beauties that do not doubt themselves. It is still only silence that appears here as the only constant, eternally ideal tonal chord. Joshua K. B. Chan: music with thousand hands has gently laid down all over the clouds, like a sick grass; animals in it produce sounds of words that have been cast away by humans; good manners are warming each other up, they are politely pleasing one another, nicer and nicer, softer and softer; the world is joyfully bouncing like a big ball in dust. Srđan Hofman: on the basis of an immense space, which can not even be grasped, let alone spoken, an extramusical anthem is being performed to a speech that will never be spoken and still defeats. Ronald Alford: something got broken in the mechanism of allbeing; not knowing where the things have escaped to, suddenly Nothing started spinning as well. Gilles Gobeil: the sky got sick because it is still lasting out side of our comprehension. Erhard Grosskopf: pieces dried in time, children’s mouths of chords. Kyu Yhung Chin: to sleep while walking through music and near the exit from the dream carefully passing through people with bodies and without them. Ton-That Tiêt: musical feathers joyfully rustle, growing around the not completely recognizable spine in the shape of a harp that goes blacker and more bowed. Robert HP Platz: capricious skipping over the hills of harmony without any order; the timbres change, in their fear of heights, already at the very thought of a touch. Trevor Wishart: another representation of a black life and a piece of dove; from the ceiling still hang only black walls of sounds from an interior that has been taken out; the voice is the last white remnant of the world, the vomiting of time. Eric de Visscher: a promising 76 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
decaying of shrieks and greenish signs without a human system. Volker Heyn: a demonstrative meeting of unbuilt pillars and broken parapets on the bridge that music has driven over tonight. George Crumb: a great show of small sound. A true composer brilliantly contemplates on silence, which has always faithfully supported and filled the sound that can rise up without her, the further away, the harder it gets. The avant-garde has always, to be honest, ruined the role of silence; only great maestros of any epoch were truly able to talk to it and use it. Sam Hayden: points are the only spoiled part of a line, because the line is actually a deadly metastasis of points.
Oberhausen, July 1995 A giant, buzzing chimney, an upside-down beehive of darkness whose exit kneels right in front of the gates of heavenly hell. In this perfidiously-wormy hole of malicious gas breath, all deserted echoes of the last two millenniums have met and blended, and with every sigh of the sound they crawl and climb up the smooth and sweaty walls of infinity. In the webs of laser flashes captured screams, occupied with crawling upwards, although getting longer and thinner, can never get lost nor arrive anywhere; and so they spin and climb in ever looser spirals, thus becoming, even against their will, the last (in)coherent music will, a limp graph of life that is drying and irrevocably dying out.
Copenhagen, September 1996 Tivoli: here, deadly iron snakes rise from the ground and assault the sky, a dead harlequin performs his merciless pranks on living things, Scheherazade scatters around the air down-sized and petrified pieces of tearful lovers; here, the big-band of morose crocodiles lies in mud and tiresomely chew on its stinking chords; here, the time lazily-benevolently remelts from a coloured drawing into a black painting; here, the Sun screeches like a parrot and, dashing with its claws clenched, hysterically shakes the fence of the cage.
Seoul, September 1997 Introductory Klangmobile: colourful small bells â€“ gently driven around on ice-cream tricycles and nurtured like newborn kittens â€“ gradually infect the whole world with their irresistible silliness. Every morning, the city wakes up rearranged differently with at least one piece more; then, spinning its spikes, it starts a journey, leaving behind it a starlike, yellow trace. Liviu Danceanu: reversely reproduced music, or a third, extramusical creature. TomĂĄs Marco: the named sound dies out before the unnamed one. Ayaka Murakumo: the ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 77
shortness of articulation speeds up the music, the length slows it down; time, the blood enemy of psychology, does not pay attention to such nuances. Koreans experience art collectively, Europeans individually. Rhythm and harmony, in the European sense, have for them been replaced by places; what comes out of it is the advantage of their horizontal slowness at the expense of our vertical speed. In contrast to that, timbre is for them a prerequisite like breathing, and for us just an addition and ornament. And if we turned the vertical and horizontal in music upside down? Would that not turn into just a slightly more refined form of a mutually cruel and deadly striptease? JosĂŠ Evangelista: how to end a sentence that just will not start? I imagine this Korean land as a small and yellow, fast centipede which pushes away with hundreds of its tiny oars onto a warm-soft pad of nothingness and, overcome by a strong will, it rushes into the unknown. Its inhabitants are not familiar with being tired or old; fury is for them just air became lumpy during saving, collected from the emptiness between words. Upon our arrival to the ancient temple, impressed by the massiveness and dimensions of its bells, gongs and tam-tams, we expected a slow and solemn playing on them â€“ in our honour. After long and secret preparations, the ringing of bells finally started. But what ringing! Frantic, fast and wild ringing that was almost impossible to follow, hysterically upset and extremely tense, and then even more fast and more cruel, more openly threatening and yet, at the same time, smilingly evil, brilliantly naked and sweaty, looking into itself with its eyes closed, and still all-knowing and all-present, winning admiration, and yet causing unhidden fear, by its terrible power. It was a ringing that can never stop, a ringing that is still echoing, years later, in each of those who were present there; only the players have suddenly dried out and became smaller, fell of a tree with the sound on and somehow fell into the ground, disappeared. The bells, gongs and tam-tams have seemingly turned off, but they remained to shine in the darkness, glowing hot; they had touched the very heart of furious earth and the soul of seemingly indifferent universe.
Manchester, April 1998 Accordion as the child of the heavenly harp, a runaway echo of an incomprehensible sound vault. Magnus Lindberg: from the bud of modest lyrical shyness, a lascivious dramatic flower opens up. Valdis Zilveris: only heights, with time, reach the real depths and touch the roots themselves. This is a city under water; houses have fish faces, long, slim bodies; they gently move away along the current, with the help of their ice-slippery, soft fins. The water toothlessly chews on walls of decaying palaces; it drinks time from a rusty can, silently grunting. All that is left from some ex-houses are pieces of walls hanging in the air: invisible levers have blown up their roots in the 78 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
dark, and voracious water has eaten them up. Some of the most resistant walls were already long time ago arranged as streets; but people and vehicles still move along them twice as slow. Elliott Carter: a singer made of glass, a ball of bend pipes. Always more sounds enter it then they come out of it. All other bodies try in vain to take its shape away from her; she gets even more out of it, and they regularly lose, gradually becoming smaller. Karen Tanaka: the echo spends away and empties the music material; although it seemingly revives it, the repeating destroys it. The local speech here definitely has an underground sound to it: gases blow up words and at the same time successfully talk them into ugly actions. Along with that, explosions also occur: inappropriately lumpy words suddenly burst and what is left after them are only stinkywhite, indented, fake lacquered little clouds. Older men, like cigarette butts scattered around the streets or hotel halls, have faces of forbidden verbs. Luciano Berio: perhaps the biggest music adventure lies in, with the help of seemingly ungovernable metrical looseness, accomplishing until then hidden rhythmical unity and unreachable structural firmness. James Dillon: of the million written and performed duos, more interesting are those that â€“ like interferences â€“ audibly or imaginarily reflect in always a different instrument. Luke Bedford: grieving over a dead girl-note, a light in music is left turn on all night long. Louis Andriessen: after all, one can still find former beauty on this ugly old lady Music. Rosas Dance Company: people-things, peopleairs and people-waters, despite of their indescribable power, do not even try to penetrate into the everyday human world. Their gesture is heavier than a human word, but gravity, dependent on different laws, still directs it upwards. They pluck petals off of drums, one by one, cordially and wickedly, forcing them to remain floating around in the middle, neither in the sky nor on the earth, like a deformed bug. Mary Finister: screams of separated angels, filled up, but at the same time decapitated by their own light. Shinuh Lee: music louder than sound. James Wood: painful cries are heard while incompatible musics are being put together. Mauricio Kagel: this music is strong only in its mocking and clown-like ridicule; seriousness restrains and limits it, scares and rejects it, like thymion and cross affect the devil. Michael Tippett: a movable monument to music made of boiling, cut up melody tails, wrapped in barbed harmony wire. Andrzej Panufnik: a superiorly funny, deeply inspired and brilliant little piece of music, a soft-gentle picture torn out from the sweetest dream.
Bucharest, September 1999 Enescuâ€™s castle: burning birds in glasses, dragons of blooming tongues imprisoned in magnificent walls, these are the sounds swallowed up from a infanticide glory that are still only pompously to be seen, but not to be heard ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 79
anymore, not even in the most modest chips. It is easy, but also difficult to understand the rule that all these externally luxurious palace-wonders mostly have a stintingly tight and slightly anxious interior. Ceauşescu’s castle-killer of pockmarked face and bleating voice has spread its legs on a hill of crumbled streets, with protruded window panes directed na gotovs, and is watchfully taking care that none of them peaks out from the grave and deforms it with its beauty. On its sides are, like sleeping guards, dressed up, overly symmetrical stone yokels, ready to betray it for just a little bit of spirit and humour. In the middle of this street, the most insipid street in the world, endless legions of dried-out fountains are dying of thirst and they will never even try to wash out the stains of criminal intentions blooming on the bodies of the surrounding, sad shapes.
Luxembourg, September-October 2000 Luxembourg is a patchwork made of small cloths kidnapped from the earth: a little bit of mud, a little bit of laughter, a little bit of water. The birds here have only one eye split into half by their heads; they all rush into one side so that the vault does not come crumbling down. People-statues secure the square in place like pins, so that the wind does not lift it up as a carpet and spread it over the heights. Three introductory compositions in a dressed up City Hall: some angry, corpulent harmony woman constantly slams doors in this music full of old, screeching closets, unwashed glass and spider web hidden between half-destroyed shelves. Their melody holes have not yet managed to look into their own bottom. Jean-Luc Darbelly: the player crawls into her gelatine-cello and it, quickly slipping on her dress, flies out of the window, into the clouds. The obsession with old-avant-garde and ancient-melody platitudes; but, in their repetition and malevolent insisting on hidden corruption lies a structural consistency of the piece. Footsteps of history inaudibly walk always the same paths, but, with sedimentation of memories, they become higher. There is no real middle in art; some wrong side always pulls stronger. And nature as if made a mistake while counting and stopped. Henri Pousser, Marcel Reuter: shortness gives depth, loudness hides the truth. There is no history in Kagel, there is only oblivion left; in moving upwards, Seletković’s music still cannot hide gestures and grimaces of a downward movement. Julian Yu: to make your way to the other side of the music mirror, touch the unutterable and come back invisible and inaudible. Ian Wilcock: the greatest tonal increase can not measure against the danger of the quietest noise. The more the nature undresses, the more people dress and, at the same time, lose against nature in the competition in naturalness. Greenness is the underage blueness: lead by wrong suppositions, it will never grow mature. Sky is a runaway-prodigal son of the sea that will never again return to his father. 80 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Hong Kong, October 2002 Just like hours that are inevitably passing by, static and invisible crocodiles make hungry noises, yearningly expecting our entrance into the Chinese Sea. Luxuriant greenery crawls and runs over each others back. From distant forest ditches, heads of natives are peaking out, gone yellow from all the waiting. Every millimetre of ground has been carefully cultivated and conserved; every obeying spot of the space is carefully subordinated to something. Ships rush in the air like insects gone mad. Skyscrapers are shockingly thin and seethrough, and at bigger heights they are bending like rubber, getting entangled in inextricable secret embraces. The hot and moist air wraps around us in its hundreds limbs that are impossible to unglue. The city harbour in the night is a masterfully decorated, and then right away ignited Christmas tree. New music is a stranger driven mad by something, got lost by miracle in this only recently tamed natural wilderness. In the meanwhile, Tom Johnson with the help of inaudible cubes (out of which each one represents one tone) persistently puts together and takes apart the sound of himself, and then cleverly and effectively (although in the musical sense worthlessly) presents all the worthlessness and misery of a human being. Thomas Adès: accidentally found harmonic fragments of death, pieces cunningly stolen from a melodic beauty, rhythmically uneven, yet strong assertion of the scents of scentless flowers. Dubravko Detoni (Križevci, 1937) graduated in piano (Svetislav Stančić) and composition (Stjepan Šulek) from the Zagreb Academy of Music, and continued with further studies in Siena (Guido Agosti, Alfred Cortot), Warsaw (Witold Lutosławski, Graźyna Bacewicz, the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio), Darmstadt (György Ligeti and Karlheinz Stockhausen), and in Paris (John Cage). His oeuvre includes 133 orchestral, chamber, soloist, vocal, and electronic works, a number of multimedia projects and experiments, nine books of fiction and essays, series of radio and television programmes, as well as numerous commentaries on concerts and sound recordings. He has received many awards and honours in Croatia and abroad. His works have been performed on all continents and at the most important international festivals, they have been published in Croatia and abroad and released on 50 recordings. The author writes his music drawing on both classical instruments and electronic music devices, whereas his efforts to enrich the sound and expand the expressive potential result in his combining of the two sources of sound. With the ACEZANTEZ ensemble, of which he is the founder (1970) and artistic director, Detoni performed in most European countries as well as parts of America and Asia. ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 81
World New Music Days in Zagreb, Croatia
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The ISCM 2011 World New Music Days Festival took place as part of the 26th Music Biennale Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia from 7 to 17 April. The theme for the Festival was Mirabilia Memorabilia the Memorable Marvels.
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The ISCM World New Music Days Festival Reports Report No. 1 Frank J. Oteri, USA The 2011 ISCM World New Music Days in Zagreb: Impressions from a 1st Time Attendee As a first time attendee to an ISCM World New Music Days, I was treated to an extremely rewarding as well as exciting week of contemporary music concerts as well as productive meetings and stimulating music discussions in Zagreb, Croatia from 10-15 April 2011. Although I cannot speak to any of the previous years' gatherings, I believe that there were several factors which made this year's festivities particularly noteworthy and successful. For starters, since the 2011 WNMD was presented as part of the Zagreb Biennale—one of the most prestigious music festivals in Eastern Europe— and this year marked the Biennale's 50th anniversary, there was a builtin audience beyond the intrepid new music cognoscenti plus there seemed to be further weight as well as an overall celebratory atmosphere to the proceedings. Of course, ISCM has been around since 1922 (it is therefore an even older tradition than the Zagreb Biennale), so maybe the weight of this event is something that attendees always feel. Then again, maybe there was something particularly special about holding the event in this 84 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
emerging capital for cultural within the new Europe, a place that less than 20 years ago was a battle ground in the worst conflict on European soil in generations. However, this too was not a first—the World New Music Days were held during the Zagreb Biennale only six years ago! Perhaps then what made the 2011 WNMD so exciting is how thoroughly international it was, even though it all took place on the European continent. What began in the 1920s as an overwhelmingly European new music gathering has since the dawn of the 21st century become a truly world new music event. This larger new music purview is in large part thanks to the efforts of ISCM's board of directors whose current President, John Davis, hails from Australia, as well as the result of having had four of the WNMD gatherings already take place in countries which border the Pacific Ocean only a decade into our current 21st century. This year’s festival was attended by representatives not only from all over Europe but from folks who travelled from five other continents to get to Zagreb. (There’s still a shortage of new music activity in Antarctica.) And as a result of ISCM's new way of handling submissions— e.g. if chapters submit six works in at least four categories at least one is guaranteed for performance—that meant that music by composers from
many countries beyond Europe were heard throughout the week. In fact, the winner of the 2011 ISCM-IAMIC Young Composer Prize was Taiwanese composer Chiu-Yu Chou whose String Quartet No. 1 was performed by the Song String Quartet during one of the 14 WNMD concert programs. However, what was probably truly a first for the WNMD in 2011 was that this year marked the first time that there ever has been the participation of a sitting head of state in this international new music gathering. It turns out that the current President of Croatia, Ivo Josipović, is also a significant composer of chamber and orchestral music. Since Josipović actually used to head the Zagreb Biennale, as well as the Croatian Composers Society, he has remained very much interested in being part of this scene and the delegates attending this year’s festival were invited to a private audience with him at the Presidential Palace. In addition, two of his compositions were performed during the week including an orchestral piece conducted by none other that Krzysztof Penderecki. Overall the repertoire chosen for the 2011 ISCM WNMD was extremely varied. It was spread across a total of fourteen concert programs scored for a wide range of ensembles, and in addition there were several fascinating sound installation pieces set up in various venues which attendees could experience throughout the week. After a brief ceremony in an upstairs lobby of the Lisinski Concert Hall (named after the 19th century Croatian operatic composer Vatroslav Lisinski) which
featured some delicious traditional Croatian food and wine, the World New Music Days’ first concert started, literally, with a bang. This opening concert was an all-percussion extravaganza featuring six different works, all performed by the very aptly named biNg bang Percussion Ensemble. I quite liked Couple by Norio Fukushi from Japan. The composition began as an extremely austere and introspective duet for unpitched percussion and gradually morphed into flamboyant, over-thetop zaniness with balloons popping, various children’s toys making animal sounds, and additional percussionists appearing in the audience seemingly out of nowhere. But the work that has still stayed in my mind, now many months later, is Sergey Khismatov’s Cymbals Quartet, though it might be even better as a memory than a real-time experience: the piece is a rather methodical exploration of what happens when the sides of cymbals are bowed—a powerful sonic phenomenon that is frequently harsh, sometimes excruciating, and definitely not for the faint of heart. From there we were bussed to the studios of HRT, the Croatian national radio and television broadcasting network, to hear a concert of music for ‘tamburitza orchestra’. The tamburitza is a plucked stringed instrument, somewhat akin to the mandolin, which is common in the folk music of Croatia. Orchestras of them, which usually perform folkoriented material, are plentiful. It was a real ear opener, however, to hear experimental new music performed by such an ensemble. And it was truly ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 85
brave for a composer from somewhere else in the world, Dic-Lun Fung from Hong Kong, to try his hand at writing for this typical Croatian ensemble—all of the other works on the program aside from Fung's And the Strings Resound…were by Croatian composers, including a particularly delightful work by President Josipović. The second day's concerts began with a program featuring the Zagreb Saxophone Quartet—this wonderful combination has fast become the wind answer to the string quartet. The concert ended with a pair of works for double saxophone quartet—which is as exciting visually as it is aurally— although Mexican composer Mario Stern and Slovenian composer Uros Rojko mined the sound world of this octet quite differently from each other. Next was a concert of works for voices, with and without electronics, the highlight of which, for me, was Responsorium by Japanese composer Akira Takaoka for soprano and electronically altered vocal sounds. Since this concert took place very soon after the tragic Tsunami in Japan, this mournful work undoubtedly had an even deeper—albeit probably unintended—emotional resonance as a result. The first concert of the third day featured new pieces for a less likely ensemble—tuba quartet. As might be expected, there was some pretty deep and low music here. Then there was a performance by the Croatian Armed Forces Symphonic Wind Orchestra who showed a keen idiomatic awareness of a very wide range of idioms including the very vernacular 86 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Cadence Fantasy by B.J. Brooks, a U.S. composer based in Texas. The symphonic wind orchestra has proven itself to be a really viable alternative to the traditional symphony orchestra for composers, especially since wind groups are more open to doing new music than many orchestras, but the day was rounded out by a program of all new orchestral music performed by the Plovdiv Philharmonic from Bulgaria. I am a huge fan of new music written for old instruments so I was very excited about the first concert of the fourth day of the WNMD—a performance by the Camerata Garestin, an ensemble of featuring wooden flute, strings, and harpsichord. Turkish composer Erman Oydemir threw in some brass as well in his Music for Baroque Orchestra which created a fascinating cross-century sonic clash. Croatian composer Ante Knesaurek’s Four Croquis showed how effective period instruments can be in conveying counterpoint, even if not based on standard tonal harmonies, but Icelandic composer Hugi Gudmindsson’s ravishing Handelusive, which twisted Baroque dance forms into very 21st-century sounding music, was perhaps the most surreal sonic experience of the afternoon. My only disappointment was that the concert was so brief (well under an hour)—those three short pieces were the only submissions chosen for this ensemble. The next concert featured works for electric guitar with or without string quartet. One of the electric guitar players was even named Elvis. It was great to
hear the electric guitar presented in contexts ranging from rocking out to introspective experimentation, but perhaps the most effective work on that program was scored solely for string quartet, the work by Chiu-Yu Chou which was awarded the 2011 ISCM-IAMIC Young Composer Award. After the shortest of breaks which allowed attendees to run across town to a different concert venue, there was a concert by the Croatia TV/Radio Big Band. These guys can groove! I particularly enjoyed Texas composer Steve Wiest's Vonnegut inspired Ice-Nine, perhaps even more because I'm a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan than because I'm an American. I thought that one of the soloists even resembled Vonnegut—although I admit that was probably just wishful thinking on my part. On the fifth day there were also three programs with virtually no time to catch your breath in between them—a program for girls’ choir, as well as additional electronic and orchestral concerts. The young girls seemed to particularly enjoy singing The Clock Wants to Sleep by Israeli composer Tsippi Fleischer. Breach by young South African composer Angie Mullins—a tape piece filled with the sounds of banging things, panting, and screams—was frightening beyond belief. The program performed by the Croatian Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra combined two impressive new works selected by the ISCM both by women composers— Katarina Leyman from Sweden and Milica Ðordevic from Serbia—with important 20th century Croatian
orchestral works such as Dubravko Detoni’s 1968 Likovi i plohe and the late Natko Devcic’s Fibula, from 1967, which required two conductors. There were only two WNMD concerts on the final day of the festival—both devoted to large ensemble works which were performed by the Zagreb Soloists and Ossian Ensemble respectively—but most of the delegates, myself included, also attended an additional Zagreb Biennale produced orchestra concert by the Zagreb Philaharmonic which was the concert I alluded to at the very beginning of this essay conducted by Penderecki which featured a work by President Josipović alongside two of Penderecki’s own works. At the final concert, Chiu-Yu Chou was presented the ISCM-IAMIC Young Composer Award by IAMIC’s President Olga Smetanová. There was also a performance of a work with a strong anti-war message by last year’s ISCM-IAMIC Young Composer Award winner, Katia Beaugeais from Australia which was commissioned expressly for this year’s final concert. As action packed as the above narrative might already seem, the week consisted of a lot more than these concerts. Every day began with a meeting of the ISCM General Assembly which can best be described as a new music equivalent of the United Nations, and infinitely less contentious. Maybe that’s because, as one of the participants pointed out during one of the meetings, ‘networks of composers work more efficiently than networks of officials and administrators’. In fact, throughout ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 87
the week many measures were voted on by the assembly and every single vote was unanimous. That will probably never happen at the U.N. During the course of the General Assembly meetings, the Faroe Islands was officially approved to become a full member of the ISCM and Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina was unanimously voted an Honorary Member; shockingly despite the ISCM’s 89 years of existence, she was the very first woman ever granted this honor. Most of the panelists who chose the works that were presented in the 14 concerts—a group of four composers and a musicologist—were on hand to discuss how they put this extraordinary week together. Unfortunately one of the members of the panel, Flemish composer Luc Brewaeys was ill and was unable to attend. But another member of the group, by Slovene composer Lojze Lebič confessed that there were particular problems coordinating the electronic music concerts since there were no scores and not enough time to get through all the submissions—there were over fifty. Spanish composer Benet Casablancas, another 2011 panelist, claimed that ‘choosing the music for the Festival was like solving a sudoku’. Despite their high quality, some works could not be chosen since they did not fit any of the categories. All tolled, there were 420 works that needed to be sifted through, this number includes all the works formally submitted by ISCM sections as well as independent submissions by composers from around the world. In the end, 69 works 88 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
were chosen representing a total of 42 countries. There were many planning conversations for WNMD events in the coming years. A great deal of momentum and excitement was built up which hopefully can sustain itself during the rest of the year as the 2012 ISCM WNMD in Belgium begins to take shape. The 2011 ISCM WNMD will be hard to top for me at least, as my first experience with this one-ofa-kind gathering it will always hold a special place in my memories, but nevertheless I can’t wait to return to next year’s ISCM WNMD in Belgium! Frank J. Oteri is an ASCAP award-winning composer and music journalist based in New York City where he serves as the Composer Advocate of the American Music Center, soon to be New Music USA, and as Senior Editor of its web magazine NewMusicBox (www. newmusicbox.org).
Report No. 2 Angie Mullins, South Africa The ISCM World New Music Days 2011: A Perspective from the Invisible Continent Writing a report on the 2011 ISCM World New Music Days Festival is a daunting task due to the enormous scale of this event. I tried to make the most of every opportunity to hear new music, but despite my best efforts, I did miss a few concerts. For this reason, what I present here is not an all encompassing report
but rather a written account of my experience as a first time attendee and only representative from the African continent at the 2011 ISCM World New Music Days. The festival, which was coupled with Zagreb’s 26th Music Biennale took place over 11 days and featured 40 varied concerts. I have done my fair share of concert organizing – but never to this extent – and was astonished by how smoothly and professionally everything ran. Mirna Ores and her team were as friendly and helpful in Zagreb as they had been in the months leading up to the event where they assisted with everything from scheduling to helping organize a Croatian visa (no small task on a South African passport!). Composers and delegates were accommodated in the beautiful Westin Hotel in Zagreb and the concert venues were a pleasant walk or short tram ride away. Each morning began with an expansive buffet breakfast and lively debate amongst composers and delegates. This quickly became one of my favorite times of the day, and not just because of the remarkable assortment of pastries. Ideas were exchanged, experiences shared and guidance offered. I did not come across a single attendee who was not open and available for discussion and I felt a growing sense of camaraderie with each meal we shared. Time not spent in concerts, meetings and breakfast could be used to explore the city. I found Zagreb truly magnificent, steeped in a fascinating history and full of interesting people who were passionate about new
music. I befriended two young girls during my stay in Zagreb. The sisters, 4 and 6 years old, attended nearly every concert with their parents and listened with extraordinary intent and concentration. All concerts were well attended and audiences seemed open minded and accepting of all genres and aesthetics. Despite all of the excitement of the city, the highlight of the festival, as you would imagine, was the music. I live in Johannesburg, which probably has the most vibrant new music scene of all of South Africa’s cities. I had, however, never been exposed to the volume of music I was able to hear in these 11 days. During my first 3 days at the festival I attended 10 concerts featuring pieces by Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Boulez, Lutoslawski, Adams, Kagel, Ligeti, Berio and Messiaen. I had not had the opportunity to hear this much live new music throughout both my undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Five new music concerts would have made an exceptionally good year in Johannesburg – the first 10 I attended in Croatia were just the warm up before the World New Music Days officially launched. The WNMD pieces were presented in 15 concerts interspersed with other Music Biennale concerts. A wide and interesting variety of genres, styles and aesthetics were presented. As I mentioned before, I was not able to attend every concert and therefore unable to hear every piece but, of those I did hear, there were some that stood out for me: ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 89
Sergey Khismatov created a bold and interesting soundscape in his Cymbal Quartet which was presented by bing Bang Percussion Ensemble – a group of performers who were as much fun to watch as they were to listen to. Marcel Wierckx’s Sense Machine incorporated electric guitar, live electronics and video images. This vivid performance was mesmerizing and stayed with me long after the performance. Several orchestral works were presented by The Choir and Orchestra of the University of Zagreb Music Academy, The Symphony Orchestra of the Witold Lutoslawski Philharmonic, the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra and the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra. The stand out orchestral work for me was Milica Dordevic’s evocative The Journey of a Weather-Beaten Skeleton. Katia Beaugeais, winner of the 2010 ISCM-IAMIC Young Composers Award presented a new work entitled Manifesto pour la Paix which dealt with the Iraqi War. I found this performance exhilarating and I look forward to hearing more of Katia’s music. There were numerous other pieces that caught my attention and each new piece, whether I found it enjoyable or not, offered interesting ideas and prompted many hours of discussion. It would be negligent not to give due recognition to the musicians who performed the new works. I have already mentioned the orchestras who tackled a series of new compositions. They were joined by the aforementioned bing Bang 90 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Percussion Ensemble, the Tamburitza Orchestra of Radio and Television, the Zagreb Saxophone Quartet, the XL Tuba Quartet, the Croatian Armed Forces Symphonic Wind Orchestra, the Song String Quartet, Camerata Garestin Ensemble, the Croatian Radio and Television Big Band, the Zvjezdice Girl’s Choir,the Zagreb Soloists and the Zeirfluss Ensemble – each ensemble working alongside the composers to polish the new working. The Music Biennale concerts also boasted some exceptional performers. Sonja Loncar and Andrija Pavlovic who made up The LP Piano Duo gave two wonderful performances, first of Stockhausen’s Mantra and the following evening a more varied, but still highly enjoyable program. They were joined by another piano duo – D&B Duo, who performed Messiaen’s Visions of the Amen. Damir Greguric gave a wonderful concert of Boulez’s Third Sonata, while Katarina Krpan and Vlasta Gyura performed Ligeti’s Piano Etudes. All performances were of a very high standard and it was a pleasure to listen to musicians who obviously put a great deal of time and effort into preparing the repertoire and who take such pride in their craft. Each morning the ISCM General Assembly took place. Here the representatives of each country or organization belonging to the ISCM debated important issues pertaining to the organization’s future, heard presentation on future events and other projects the ISCM will be involved in the coming years.
Attending the World New Music Days Festival was a fantastic opportunity and a very enjoyable experience, but I did feel rather uneasy about my position, and that of the organization and country I represent, within the ISCM. The ISCM presents itself as an international organization, but there is an entire continent missing: Africa. In this case, Africa is not the Dark Continent but the invisible continent. NewMusicSA, the South African branch of the ISCM is doing its best to cling onto its ISCM affiliation, but due to increasing membership fees we have had to downgrade our membership status to associate affiliate membership, thereby relinquishing our voting rights. I know that finding arts funding is becoming increasingly difficult throughout the world, but South Africa has not enjoyed decent funding programs for the arts for decades, and now the small amounts we used to rely on is all but gone. I would call NewMusicSAâ€™s future with the ISCM precarious at best and once the financial burden of our membership fees becomes too much to bear (once we have paid these fees we have very little left for music activities), the final tie between the ISCM and the African continent will be severed altogether. Please do not misread this statement as a call for free membership for all African countries. The ISCM offers valuable opportunities and networks and I believe it would be wrong to expect charity or a handout. I am merely stating the facts of Africaâ€™s position within the ISCM and the global new music scene. It is an
unfortunate state of affairs for all parties involved: African composers not only have so much to learn through this type of festival, but also so much to offer. With little or no resources but unencumbered by art music traditions, many African composers are seeking to forge new paths and develop new styles that adapt to their restricted resources but express the complicated post-colonial societies in which they live. There are burgeoning new music scenes throughout Africa that have a great deal to contribute to the international new music scene. I wish I could conclude this report with some solution to the problem, but no such solution seems apparent at this time. I do hope that, in the future, we find some way to make Africa a more visible (and audible) presence in the ISCM, and the ISCM a stronger presence in Africa. I believe that a mutually beneficial collaboration could bring a new energy and perspective to the organization and the festival.
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ISCM Addresses ISCM Executive Committee John Davis, President c/o Australian Music Centre PO Box N690, Grosvenor Place NSW 1220 Australia 61-2-92474677 61-2-92412873 firstname.lastname@example.org www.australianmusiccentre.com.au Peter Swinnen, Vice-President c/o Muziekcentrum Vlaanderen Steenstraat 25, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium 32-(0)2-5049096 32-(0)2-5028103 email@example.com www.iscm-vlaanderen.be Olga Smetanova c/o Music Centre Slovakia Michalská 10, SK-815 36 Bratislava 1 Slovakia +421-2-54434003 +421-2-54430379 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.hc.sk
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ISCM - IRISH SECTION c/o IMRO Dr. John McLachlan, AIC Copyright House, Pembroke Row Dublin 2, Ireland 353-74-9383734 353-74-9383734 email@example.com; www.composers.ie
ISCM - ISRAELI SECTION The Israeli Composers’ League Dan Yuhas, Chairman ISCM - GOTLAND SECTION 55 Begin Rd, TEL AVIV 68138, Israel Visby International Centre for Composers 972-3-5621287 Sten Melin, Executive Director 972-3-5621282 Skeppsbron 18, SE-621 57 VISBY, (Gotland) firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com Sweden www.israelcomposers.org 46-498-249900 46-706-249907 firstname.lastname@example.org www.centreforcomposers.org
ISCM - ITALIAN SECTION Società Italiana Musica Contemporanea Davide Anzaghi via Domenichino, 12, I-20149 MILANO Italy 39-02-4694839 39-02-468157 email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org www.novurgia.it ISCM - JAPANESE SECTION c/o Japan Society for Cont. Music Yama-Ichi bldg 501, 2-5-7, HigashiGotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-0022 Japan 81-3-34463506 81-3-34463507 email@example.com; www.jscm.net ISCM - KAZAKH SECTION Association of Composers of Kazakhstan Aktoty Raimkulova, Secretary General Kazakh National Conservatory 86, Abylai Khan Avenue, Almaty, 05000 Republic of Kazakhstan firstname.lastname@example.org ISCM - LATVIAN SECTION Latvian Composers Union Ugis Praulins, Chairman Baznicas iela 37 - 3, LV-1010 Riga, Latvia 371-7293059 371-7293059 email@example.com; www.komponisti.lv ISCM - LITHUANIAN SECTION c/o Lithuanian Composers Union President: Vytautas Germanavicius Vice-president: Ruta Staneviciute Mickeviciaus 29, LT-08117 Vilnius, Lithuania 370-52120939 370-52349634 firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com www.mic.lt ISCM - LUXEMBOURG SECTION Luxembourg Society for Contemporary Music Marcel Wengler P.O. Box 828, L-2018 Luxemburg 352-225821 352-225823 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.lgnm.lu ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE 93
ISCM - MEXICAN SECTION c/o SACM Saul Juarez Mayorazgo 129, COL. XOCO C.P.03330 MEXICO D.F., Mexico 52-56-01-41-30 52-5-6047923 email@example.com; www.sacm.org.mx ISCM - NETHERLANDS SECTION Gaudeamus Music Week Henk Heuvelmans, director c/o Gaudeamus Muziekweek Loevenhoutsedijk 301 3552 XE Utrecht, The Netherlands +31-6-29069173 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.muziekweek.nl ISCM - NEW ZEALAND SECTION Composers Association of New Zealand Michael Norris, President P.O. Box 4065, Wellington, New Zealand 3-355-1325 3-355-1315 email@example.com; www.canz.net.nz
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ISCM - SPANISH SECTION Musica Moderna Joan Cerver贸 c/o Grup Instrumental de Valencia C/ Conde de Altea 27, 2 Apta 5 46005 Valencia, Spain T 34-963-163-723 F 34-963-163-724 firstname.lastname@example.org www.grupinstrumental.com
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ISCM - NORWEGIAN SECTION c/o Ny Musikk, Kristen Danielsen Platous Gate 18, 0190 Oslo +47 21996800 firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com ISCM - SLOVAK SECTION www.nymusikk.no Ivan Siller, President Meden谩 29, SK-811 02 Bratislava 1, Slovakia ISCM - POLISH SECTION +421-908046735 c/o Polish Society for Contemporary Music +421-2- 45248597 Maciej Zoltowski, Anna Dorota Wladyczka firstname.lastname@example.org ul. Mazowiecka 11, PL-00-052 Warsaw, www.iscm-slovakia.org Poland 48-22-8276981 ISCM - SLOVENIAN SECTION 48-22-8276981 Society of Slovene Composers email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org Pavel Mihelcic www.ptmw.art.pl Trg francoske revolucije 6/1 SL-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia ISCM - PORTUGUESE SECTION 386-31-656260 Miso Music Portugal 386-1-2415664 Paula Guimaraes 386-1-2415666 Rua do Douro 92 - Rebelva, 2775-318 email@example.com Parede, Portugal www.dss.si/?spada=1&lang=en 351-21-4575068 351-21-4587256 ISCM - SOUTH KOREAN SECTION firstname.lastname@example.org Shiyong Kim www.misomusic.com Myong-ji University Division of Music San 38-2 Namdong, Cheoin-Gu, Yongin, Gyeonggido, South Korea 449-728 email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org www.iscm.or.kr 94 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
ISCM - SWISS SECTION Nicolas Farine, President Rue des Prels 7d CH-2036 Cormondrche, Switzerland 41-32-7306755 email@example.com ISCM - TAIWAN SECTION Tzyy-Sheng LEE, President 175, 3F-7 Min-Sheng E. Rd.Sec.5 Taipei 105 Taiwan 886-921-125-321 886-2-2769-8011 firstname.lastname@example.org http://taiwanesemusic.blogspot.com ISCM - TATARSTAN SECTION c/o Tatar Union of Composers Rashid Kallimoullin Post Box 12, Telman str., 29, Kazan, 420111, Tatarstan 7 8432 383900/383910 7-8432-383901/388114 email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org www.rashidkalimullin.com ISCM - TURKEY SECTION Borusan Kocabiyik Vakfi Kultur ve Sanat Isletme, Ahmet Eren Istiklal Cad.213, 34433 Beyoglu- Istanbul, Turkey 90-212-2920655 90-212-2524591 email@example.com; www.borusansanat.com
ISCM - UKRAINE SECTION Association New Music Karmella Tsepkolenko 48 Bazarna str. Ap.1, 65011 ODESSA Ukraine +380-487225283 firstname.lastname@example.org www.anm.odessa.ua ISCM - USA SECTION League of Composers/ISCM c/o David Gordon 609 Warren Street Brooklyn, NY 11217, USA 1-617-9011677 email@example.com www.leagueofcomposers.org ASSOCIATE MEMBERS ARFA Mihaela Vosganian 83 Aurel Vlaicu Street, Sector 2 Bucharest, Romania 4021-2122574 firstname.lastname@example.org; JSelimkhanov@OSI-AZ.ORG www.cimec.ro/muzica/inst/arfa BEIJING MODERN MUSIC FESTIVAL Beijing Modern Music Festival Central Conservatory of Music Max YIN, Executive Director 43 Baojia Street, Xicheng District, Beijing 100031, China T +8610 6641 4052 F +8610 6641 4052 M +86 13466661950 email@example.com; www.bmmf.org.cn CHENGDU, SICHUAN CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC Sichuan Conservatory of Music Prof. Ao Changqun #6 Xinsheng Road, Chengdu, Sichuan 610021, China 86-28-85430297 86-28-85430712 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.sccm.cn
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY The School of Music Florida International University Orlando Jacinto Garcia, University Park Miami, FL 33199, USA 1-305-3482896 1-305-3484073 email@example.com www.fiu.edu/~garciao/Miami_ISCM_ Information.html
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE UNIVERSITY School of Music, Texas Stephen Lias P.O.Box 13043, SFA Station Nacogdoches TX 75962, U.S.A. 1-936-4684056 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.sfasu.edu SOC .VENEZOLANA DE MUSICA CONTEMPORÁNEA Marianela Arocha, President Av. Rio Manapire, Res. Alberto 1, Apto 6A CARACAS, Terrazas del Club Hipico Baruta Venezuela 58-212-9795539 email@example.com www.musica.coord.usb.ve/svmc
JFC, JAPAN FEDERATION OF COMPOSERS Izumi Miyoshi #101,1-19-4 Hatsudai, Shibuya-ku 151-0061 Tokyo, Japan 81-3-6276-1177 81-3-3376-3371 firstname.lastname@example.org ALLIED ASSOCIATE MEMBERS www.jfc.gr.jp/contents/jfc/AbouttheJFC.html FESTIVAL L’ART POUR L’AAR LE FORUM DES COMPOSITEURS c/o Jean-Luc Darbellay Bruno De Cat Englische Anlagen 6 39 Rue Lebeau, 1000 Brussels, Belgium CH-3005 BERN, Switzerland 32-497-64 46 62 41-31-3511658 32-10 84 21 12 41-31-3517951 email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org www.compositeurs.be www.jean-luc-darbellay.ch/pdf/l_art_ pour_l_aar_07.pdf MACM, MALTA ASSOCIATION FOR CONTEMPORARY MUSIC AFFILIATED ASSOCIATE MEMBERS Ruben Zahra 23, Qrempuc Street, Marsaskala, MSK 2205 ISCM - SOUTH AFRICA Malta NewMusicSA T +356-79308412 Dr. Cameron Harris - President email@example.com PO Box 473, Wits 2050 www.maltacontemporarymusic.org South Africa 27-(0)84-0205465 SOCIETY FOR CONTEMPORARY MUSIC, firstname.lastname@example.org RUSSIA, c/o Centre for Contemporary email@example.com Music, Moscow Tchaikovsky Cons. www.newmusicsa.org.za Vladimir Tarnopolski B. Nikitskaya str. 13, of 316 RUS-125009 Moscow, Russia 7-095-2905181 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ccmm.ru
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ISCM HONORARY MEMBERS Louis Andriessen Milton Babbitt Béla Bartok Sten Broman Ferruccio Busoni John Cage Elliott Carter Alfredo Casella Friedrich Cerha Chou Wen-chung Edward Clar Paul Collaer Aaron Copland Luigi Dallapiccola Edward Dent Franz Eckert Oscar Espla Manuel de Falla Michael Finnissy Sofia Gubaidulina Vinko Globokar Alois Hába Ernst Henschel
Paul Hindemith Arthur Honegger Klaus Huber Sukhi Kang Zoltán Kodály Charles Koechlin Zygmunt Krauze Ernst Krenek György Kurtág André Laporte Doming Lam György Ligeti Witold Lutoslawski Walter Maas Gian Francesco Malipiero Yori-Aki Matsudaira Arne Mellnäs Olivier Messiaen Darius Milhaud Conlon Nancarrow Arne Nordheim Per Nørgård Viteslav Novák
Reinhard Oehlschlägel Krzysztof Penderecki Goffredo Petrassi Willem Pijper Maurice Ravel Hans Rosbaud Hilding Rosenberg Albert Roussel Antonio Rubin Paul Sacher Hermann Scherchen Arnold Schönberg Roger Sessions Jan Sibelius Igor Stravinsky Karol Szymanowski Toru Takemitsu Chris Walraven Ralph Vaughan Williams Yannis Xenakis Joji Yuasa Isang Yun
The festival would like to thank the 2011 MBZ-WNMD Team MBZ Programme Committee Berislav Šipuš, Artistic Director Krešimir Seletković, Artistic Adviser Nina Čalopek, Head Producer
Petar Milat, Producer of the projects carried out in co-production with the MAMA Multimedia Institute Seadeta Midžić, Image Library Exhibition Selector MBZ Team – Organization and Petra Pavić, Image Library Exhibition Technical Implementation Co-ordinator HDS – Croatian Composers’ Society, Zagreb Dina Puhovski, Print Content Editor Antun Tomislav Šaban, Secretary General Ana Nikolić Baće, Designer Darinka Ilić, Info Counter The HDS Team Robert Milevoj, Dispatcher Sanda Božić Vjekoslav Nikolić, Webpage Dubravka Ožura Finka Brčina Press Office CANTUS d.o.o., Festival Co-organizer, Zagreb Jana Haluza, Manager Mirjana Matić, General Manager Jure Ilić, Dina Puhovski, Karolina Rugle Producers Nina Čalopek Srđana Vrsalović Mirna Gott, WNMD Producer 96 ISCM : WORLDNEWMUSIC MAGAZINE
Festival Photographers Petar Janjić, Vedran Metelko
Student Helpers Boris Babajko, Niko Barbić, Lucija Bodić, Marija Dražančić, Tomislav Fašaić, Frane Marić, Ivan Katona, Marko Pejković, Nikola Pušonjić, Iskra Stanojević, Istvan Szomi, Nina Šala, Eva Tralle Translations and Language Editing Sonja Bašić, Marijana Janjić, Vlasta Jelašić Kerec, Nina Jukić, Aidan O’Malley, Marina Petrić, Andrea Petković, Dina Puhovski, Ankica Žarnić Thanks also to Andreja Barbanov, Slaven Bot, Nenad Bitunjac, Igor Dražić, Mirjana Gligo, Renata Glojnarić, Milena Jerneić, Martina Munivrana, Siniša Pušonjić, Marija Saraga, Mara Vidučić
WNMM is an annually published magazine on contemporary music published by the International Society for Contemporary Music [ISCM]. World New Music Magazine is published in connection to ISCM’s annual festival World New Music Days, hosted by one of ISCM’s national sections. World New Music Magazine is distributed worldwide by way of the membership organisations of ISCM and by ISCM.
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ISCM World New Music Magazine, 2011, nr. 21 - The Croatian Edition