DORA PEJACEVIC (1885-1923): Symphony in F Sharp Minor, Op. 41, Phantasie Concertante in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 48.

Catalogue Number: 06M001

Label: CPO

Reference: 777 418

Format: CD

Price: $15.98

Description: Daughter of a count who later became governor of Croatia, Pejacevic grew up in Slavonia and no expense was spared in her education when she proved to be musical, being sent to Munich and Dresden when the Croatian Musical Institute was outgrown. Her symphony dates from 1916-17 and, along with Franjo Lucic's symphony of 1917, was the first Croatian work in the genre. In four movements, lasting over 47 minutes, it is conservative in that it takes account of Impressionist but not Expressionist musical currents: the second movement has elements of an Impressionistic seascape and there is a four-note motif here and in the finale which will immediately remind you of the famous one in Howard Hanson's Romantic symphony. She doesn't stint on orchestration, using large forces and showing the ability to build up and manage quite large climaxes while contrasting their density with more lightly-scored, translucent sections. Her rhythmic drive is "masculine" for lack of a better term and the whole work is quite memorable. As is the 15-minute Phantasie Concertante of 1919 (Pejacevic's Piano Concerto of 1913 was the first Croatian piano concerto too), which contains formal elements of a three-movement design and has much of the same large-scale feel of the symphony. I wonder if we'll ever hear her concerto? Very unfortunate that she died of kidney failure after the birth of her first child... Volker Banfield (piano), Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Ari Rasilainen.

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