Choral music

Format: CD

Šifra: 113741

EAN: 3838898113741

1. Damijan Močnik: AMOR ET BACCHUS 6:39 (
2. Gustav MAHLER/transcr. Nana FORTE: LIEBST DU UM SCHÖNHEIT 2:45

4. Gašper JEREB: LOVE IS MY SIN 4:31
5. Andrej MAKOR: PAISAJE 4:07
6. Tadeja VULC: VODOMETI 3:14
7. Tadeja VULC: KIP 4:23

10. Arr. Katarina PUSTINEK RAKAR: TI-DI-DI DRAJSA 3:40
11. Arr. Andrej MAKOR: ENA PUNCA 3:41
12. Arr. Andrej MAKOR: ČEZ TRI GORE 3:26
13. Arr. Nataša KOCJANČIČ: KAJ TI JE, DEKLICA? 3:13
14. Arr. Mojca PRUS: ADAM IN EVA 2:27
16. Prir. Tomaž HABE: HOD'TE K NAM NA KRES 3:13
17. Arr. Lojze LEBIČ: KAKO KRATEK JE TA ČAS 3:54



Music is the art of time –
it waits for time to remember it,
it is to ”hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,”
or is merely sensed by time.

Večni čas v hip ujet/Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand is a collection of Slovene composition paths, a diverse kaleidoscope of musical expressions, but a crossroads of equality: in a thick pastiche of audible layers, which Slovene ears have grown accustomed to. These ears are also accustomed to folk music, although it rarely sounds in its original form: adaptations and arrangements give it a new lease of life, sometimes even a resurrection of the past – if a composer is able to define the ‘folk’ in folk music and if the words are understood in their mother tongue. Almost all of the compositions herein were written with the choir APZ Tone Tomšič Univerze v Ljubljani in mind – an ensemble consisting of a large number of young voices, university students from all across Slovenia and beyond its borders, and at the same time, one of the best – and as far as competitive acclaim is concerned, the very best – choir in Slovenia.

Damijan Močnik (1967) is an accomplished composer and choral conductor who likes to add musical elements of days gone by into his compositions; this contributes a level of mystique to his music. His music sentence is tailored to fit the human voice: well thought through so as not to cause singers unnecessary troubles. His song Amor in Bakhus/Amor and Bacchus is an example of encorporating highly secular medieval rhythmic stanzas: the first contains the passion of two lovers, the second the inebriety of a drunkard, with both parts underlined with percussion instruments. The two-piece composition is akin to the cantata Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, because they both have the same source – the illuminated medieval Codex Buranus. Damijan Močnik had so many ideas left over from his piece Immoralia, set to the text of the Freising manuscripts that it was enough material to write a new composition, Amor and Bacchus (2011), which he described as “lively, with a firm dance rhythm, modal melodies and full-sounding, colourful chords.”

Nana Forte (1981) managed to effectively capture the longing caught in the poem Liebst du um Schönheit/If You Love for Beauty by Friderich Rückert and set to music by Gustav Mahler into a composition for double choirs, which so far, many choirs have put on stage. The composer, herself a former member of APZ Tone Tomšič, also astounds us with her musical adaptation of William Blake’s To See a World in a Grain of Sand (2011). The endless meaning of words is caught into the pulsing of voices and everlasting time, a moment in time similar to and as elusive as air: “The idea behind the composition was the playful combination of the sounds of the accordion and of the choir – two colours of sound that I find are very close. They complement each other and coexist marvellously. The accordion sometimes distorts the audible image of the choir, sometimes it supports and enriches it harmonically, and towards the end it contrasts it rhythmically and tries to break free from regularity, while at the very end, the two sounds converge completely. The game of two elements metaphorically also speaks of the possibility of different views of the world – it all comes down to how we sense and perceive it.”

Gašper Jereb (1985), a composer and a master of tickling the ivories was driven to compose by one of William Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, namely Sonnet 142, turning it into the composition Love is my sin (2012), “in admiration and respect” for the verses “where the author spent (probably his whole life) describing the strife between love and time. As Shakespeare spends his late sonnets describing the duality between love and hate for the so-called Dark Lady, so have I divided the choir into a smaller group, consisting of few singers and the rest of the choir, with the two sections intertwined rhythmically and semantically.” The composer adds that his music sentence was influenced by “harmonies and polyphony of the Renaissance and early Baroque”, whereas it sends the listener to contemplate English music masters in the shadow of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Andrej Makor (1987) from the town of Koper combines the best practical predispositions a choral composer can possibly have: a degree in music pedagogy, and expert knowledge of solo singing and composition. His scores still reflect the influence of his first mentor, Ambrož Čopi in the development of the musical material, and his current mentor, Jani Golob in the purpose of and approach to composing. This is by no means saying that Andrej Makor is not adroit in finding his own musical expression, governed in particular by the selected texts. Paisaje/Landscape by Federico Garcia Lorca is similar to our landscapes found in the Slovene Littoral, where the composer comes from, which is exactly why the poem touched him with “stunning textual imagery that ensnares you into its timelessness in a heartbeat. I tried to emulate my sensations of reading the poem and diving deep into the sounds of individual words with the sound and colour of the choir. The piece (2013) could be compared to an audible aquarelle, where the colours of voices, harmonies and tensions ceaselessly pass from one into the other.” Choral arrangements by Andrej Makor are quite popular nowadays, a popularity backed by the arrangement of a folksong from the Istra peninsula with Venetian roots Ena punca/A Girl (2014), and the ever popular Čez tri gore/Across Three Peaks (2013), but at the same time set to the not so very known setting to music by Janko Žirovnik, which “gives the piece a calmer, more melodious character and it was its dissimilarity” that attracted the composer to a distinctly original, gutsy-sounding adaptation.

Tadeja Vulc (1978) is one of those artists in Slovenia who also incorporate the avant-garde mentality into their musical creations – more so into her instrumental than vocal arrangements; maybe because of her ever greater experience as a choral conductor?
The composer’s highly sincere thoughts were ‘made audible’ in the composition Kip/The Statue, set to the lyrics by Anton Funtek: “... when reading the poem I immediately felt its sound image. I heard musical thoughts while at the same time feeling enough freedom to begin playing with the text.” Tadeja Vulc has taken material from Funtek’s poetry titled Epsko-lirske slike: Smrt, so she assumes that the composition The Statue (2011) will be joined by another sometime in the future. The composition Vodometi/Fountains was sparked by a popular poem by Niko Grafenauer from his collection Stara Ljubljana. The collection was weaved by the composer into a cantata with the same name for a choir, soloists, narrator, and orchestra: Fountains are the only a capella piece featured in it.

Time sometimes covers the roots of folk tradition with new coats of life, while sometimes revealing them from under the layers of oblivion. Slovene composers treat folk music with dignity, sometimes even exaggerating with it; because most keep their distance to the treasures that folk music has to offer. Composers, more often than not, limit their music sentence to melody, rhythm, and harmony concealed within the folk song itself. They are willing to go further geographically, since composers come from all over Slovenia and from beyond its borders: with them comes their local folk music.

Katarina Pustinek Rakar (1979) is very close to folk tradition with her vast choral opus, containing works for all types of ensembles. Not only does she arrange and adapt folk tunes: she also brings them to life, sings them with her own family – just like her father did before her. The songs she arranged come from the northern and eastern parts of Slovenia.
As she herself pointed out, her adaptation of the song Nocoj je edna lüšna noč/Tonight’s a Merry Night (2009) from the region Prekmurje “keeps the original basic melody, I’ve only accompanied the lyrics in the last stanza with a minor sound, which may even be more at home in this part of Slovenia. This section does not end with a cadence but remains unfinished, opening up into a major, symbolising longing and hope.” She heard the melody of Kak žalostno/So Wistful (2013) from the village Krog immediately, while the meaning of the lyrics struck her only while arranging the piece, and it “shook [me] terribly and without warning. I was fully engulfed by the lament of this unknown troubled girl and I got the feeling that I was writing to all unknown miserable women, wishing that these kinds of confessions would become a part of the past and not the future.” Medleys of folksongs arranged so that one song is the response to another or that the men in one section are playfully answered by women in another can still be heard in some well-tuned, merry, and joyous group of Slovenes. This is how Katarina Pustinek Rakar arranged folk motifs in her composition Ti-di-di drajsa/A-Whoop-De-Do-Do (2012): the songs were sung to her by her father-in-law, and they are sung in the same sequence today around the town of Kamnik, where she lives. “I gave the tunes a fresh, richer, and more modern sound image. All the motifs are presented in their entirety, except for ‘Vsi so prihajali’, where I chose to cite two measures of the song carrying the same name, written by one Slovenia’s best composers Emil Adamič, who also lived and worked in Kamnik.”

Nataša Kocjančič (1990) is herself a member of APZ Tone Tomšič, which guided her choice of musical study. The very popular song Kaj ti je deklica/What’s the Matter, Maiden Dear is sung by many in the arrangement written by Rado Simoniti, while making countless excursions into lighter musical tones. The arrangement composed by Nataša Kocjančič sounds polyphonic and transparent: it captures the melody in one voice and passes it onto another, and a third... sixth, seventh. “The song was written last year on Sebastjan Vrhovnik’s incentive specifically for APZ Tone Tomšič. I started working on it with utmost respect in an attempt to preserve the folk element in both the sound and feel. Allow my perspective of the song to introduce itself – we can let ourselves be sad once in a while.”

Mojca Prus (1982) was “catapulted” onto the Slovene choral scene in 1999 by none other than APZ Tone Tomšič with her very first composition, the passionate adaptation of the folk song Šürka je Tisa. Maybe it was the roguish character or the grain of truth contained in the lyrics that led her to arrange the song Adam in Eva/Adam and Eve (2014, from St. Stefan im Gailtal, to the record of Oskar Dev)? “The song begins with a short, reserved prologue, which is repeated in the second stanza. The stanzas are structurally and melodically similar, with the tune escalating in melody, tempo, and dynamics - reaching the dramatic conclusion of the first stanza when God casts Adam and Eve from paradise, and the most critical finding of the second stanza: that us women can seduce even the most prudent men.”

Andrej Misson (1960) is a composer, choral conductor, an expert in music theory, and the author of countless vocal-instrumental compositions. He is certain that “Slovenia has an immeasurable wealth of cultural heritage in our folk songs. Many of them resonate from the depths of our memory, and composers like to dress them up in varying polyphonic costumes, thus rendering them in a series of rich audible images. One of these costumes with a larger number of threads and colours was woven by me in 2003. And I am happy to say that the singers of APZ Tone Tomšič, under the sensitive guidance of Sebastjan Vrhovnik, wore it beautifully.” Andrej Misson, coming from Škofja Loka, looked to the east of Slovenia to find the tune from the village of Črenšovci: the sad song Spievaj nama Katica/Sing for Us, Dear Katica. The yearning contents of the love song talking about separation were made even sharper in his musical adaptation with the use of dissonance, while giving it hope in the meaningful central modulation, in the light of “the sun, the moon, and the stars”.

Tomaž Habe (1947) is, in the minds of Slovene musicians, first and foremost a pedagogue and solfeggio expert, and a highly practical composer, who brings to life the wishes of even the oddest ensembles. Vocal music is a staple in his opus, and the arrangement for Hod’te k nam na kres/Come to Our Bonfire was set to several motifs from the Bela krajina region: “Along two folksongs from Bela krajina, Mara županova/Kresna pesem and Oj, Ive, k nam na kres, and a song from Črnomelj Al’ je kaj trden ta vaš must, I wanted to create a uniform, well-rounded piece. I start out with a call and an invitation to a bonfire celebration, which develops into a feast containing intermissions of the original call, all in a major-scale allegro. The Ive part is an answer to that call in a minor, and Ive then joins the dance until the final introductory motif. I kept the tunes unchanged and I tried to avoid a 4-voice melodious harmony, since it is not typical of Bela krajina. There are several recurring motifs and ostinatos.”

Which brings us to the end – or to the beginning.
Because music is the art of time –

it sounds, when time remembers it,
it is to ”Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
or is a prophetic seer of times ahead.

Lojze Lebič (1934), the alpha and omega of Slovene composition has seemed to slip through the illusiveness and relentless passing of time. After all, he himself claims that “man has not changed significantly in the last few millennia, only the circumstances have changed.” The composer is certain that the mother tongue and music contain the same spirit and that belief if perhaps the source of his numerous adaptations of folk songs arranged for choirs. “The folksong from the valley of the Zilja river Kako kratek je ta čas/How Short This Time, written down over a hundred years ago by Oskar Dev, attracted me with its text: a dialogue between the living and the dead, as well as with its melody and the harmony contained therein. I wanted to preserve all of it while composing my arrangement. Some alterations were made to the shape: the central part – the second stanza – is a musical variation, extended and pointed towards a dynamic summit, which echoes out into a solemn cry. A short coda has been added to the third part, which is identical to the first.”

Brigita Rovšek