Choral music

Format: CD

Šifra: 112034

EAN: 3838898112034


RADOVAN GOBEC (1909-1995)

Gobec family originates from the surrounding of Rogatec and is in all probability related to famous peasant rebel Matija Gubec. Dragotin Gobec, Radovan’s father born in Zagorje ob Savi got married to Nežika from Šmihel near Pliberk in Carinthia. They had four sons. Radovan was the youngest; in the family circle they called him Radko.

All four sons were born in Podgrad near Ilirska Bistrica, where their father worked as a secretary in the loan and savings bank and was renowned as nationally conscious Slovene, as founder of Gorska vila, a local choral and tamboura society. Radovan’s mother originated from a family of singers and was a good singer as well. She worked as a caretaker of the National Hall. His parents’ view of life and their work had a significant influence upon Radovan’s life. After the World War I Gobec family lived in Celje where Radovan attended grammar school and learned piano in music school. He was a member of Celje tamboura orchestra. Meant to become a teacher, in 1924 he entered the college of education in Maribor, where he took violin and most probably also organ course. He tried himself in choir conducting and in the last term he became a leader of students’ choir. Hinko Druzovič and Emerik Beran, both renowned musical pedagogues, were among the most important professors who acknowledged Radovan’s musical talent and encouraged him to continue his education. From 1926 Radovan Gobec was a member of the Music Society choir and he was a leader of tamboura orchestra. In this period he composed two of his early song-plays Pomladne cvetke (text by Isaije Mitrović/R. Gobec) and V bratskem objemu (text by R. Gobec). Besides composing choir compositions, he was especially fond of musical theatre works; both genres remained his most favourite creative forms throughout his life. As early as in 1928 he composed Kresniček, (Marija Jezernik/R. Gobec) a song-play for youth based on a fairy tale, written for youth choir, solo singer and piano, which was in 1980 adapted for a youth choir, solo singer and orchestra and has remained popular until this day. A fragment of the composition with the text Ta moja lučka…became very popular throughout Slovenia. The most important among his original compositions for children and youth choirs is the composition Čira – čara (Neža Maurer), composed in 1964, which was frequently performed at choir reviews and competitions. Distinctive features of this composition are the composer’s sense for musical narration of the text and an effective synchronisation of the contents and piano accompaniment.

Gobec took his first official post in Griže in Savinjska dolina (from 1929 to 1934). During this period he wrote a number of choir compositions with labour subject for youth and adult choirs as well as the compositions Kristus je vstal (text by Filip Terčelj) for adult choir and male cast, Tam na vrtu (text F. Albreht) and Kaj bi te vprašal (text A. Aškerc). Before the war Gobec was occasionally playing the organ and wrote some church choir compositions which reveal the influence of his professor Hinko Druzovič. The composition Kristus je vstal was conceived in the alternation of homophonic and polyphonic mode and has a characteristic triplet theme, a frequent composition element seen in Gobec’s works; it concludes with a melismatic hallelujah. Already in his prewar opus certain basic characteristics of Gobec’s musical style can be observed, such as a thorough tonality and traditional approach in both melodics and rhythm. Just a few of his compositions appear to be more audacious. He set into music the verses of many Slovenian literates of various generations and styles and as a rule he chose the texts for his compositions with utmost sensibility. Compositions for male choir Tam na vrtu and Kaj bi te vprašal, both from his early creative period, are the most popular and frequently performed of all his works. Both are recognizable for its sensible folk melodics although in their case the composer did not use his identifiable patterns.

Radovan Gobec was liberally oriented which was manifested in his active membership in Sokol gymnastics societies. He was an outstanding gymnast and he also composed music for the accompaniment of the so-called “free exercises”. He was renowned for his philanthropy.
While he was working in Griže he was the leader of factory workers’ assembly in Prebold and miners’ assembly in Zabukovica. He reached his first triumph with the operetta Hmeljska princesa, he was also the author of the text, which expressed his criticism about the exploitation of peasants by hops merchants. Such motif seems to be rather uncommon in operetta genre; however in this case it is evident that Gobec conceived it as a response to traumatic developments in the then local and other societies. Nevertheless, the story of Hmeljska princesa is concentrated upon the satire and love story with some erotic elements, entanglements and turn-abouts. The operetta comprises 20 musical pieces various in style and rhythm; two of them are in fiery tango style. The fragment Kakor kita cvetja is a lyrical tango with a passionate effusion of love; however, the performance recorded on an audio CD is an attempt of the then rendition that seemed to be a bit less fiery and more lyrical. The melody of this fragment was taken by Slovenian scouts. Equipped with a new text it was converted into anthem of the scouts’ organization. Popularity of Hmeljska Princesa did not have a chance to fade out as after World War II it became unwanted by the then authorities, like the other works of such genre. The catalogue of Gobec’s compositions comprises no less than twenty-five musical theatre works, including the individual stagings, insertion parts, plays for youth, operettas and operas. Beg iz harema, Hmeljska princesa, Planinska roža and Habakuk were defined as operettas. They were written between 1928 and 1938, when Gobec worked as a teacher and choir conductor for he had not managed to graduate from the academy until the first postwar years; in addition, the abovementioned decade represented the conclusion of the golden era of European operetta.

As a teacher, Gobec was transferred to Laško in 1934, where he took over the leadership of the Hum singing society, which operated under the auspices of Sokol gymnastics society that also had its orchestra. The new environment appeared to be very stimulating for Gobec, as he staged a singspiel Tremerski dukat (1935), which he adapted into opera in 1959. While living in Laško he also wrote the operetta Planinska roža which he equipped with a text (dedicated to his first wife, Sonja, 1937). The story of Planinska roža takes place in an idyllic alpine environment thus emphasizing the patriotic mood. It is composed of twelve pieces that present a humorous love motif with distinctive situation comedy elements. In this work Gobec tried to introduce some modern musical theatre approaches by adding revue music and characters of the performance which were skipping into live theatre atmosphere. In this period revue performances have gradually superseded the operetta. The main song of Planinska roža appears in variations throughout the operetta, revealing the composer’s tendency towards creating a popular tune. Before the war, the operettas by Gobec and their main melodies became very popular in the wider Slovenian cultural area. At the time his style has been publicly proclaimed as melodious and popular, so it was expected that Gobec’s music should have taken the place of foreign, especially German hit tunes.

Gobec family saw the beginning of World War II in Jurklošter. In 1944 Radovan joined the partisans where he was appointed to cultural work and leadership of Kozjanski odred choir. Soon after taking over the choir, he wrote Himna Kozjanskega odreda, which became popular under the title Bohor je vstal, and after that he composed a legendary Pesem o svobodi. The latter demonstrates Gobec’s individual form of composition; the first part is hymnal, while the second represents a melody in marching mode. Predominantly homophonic composition contains shorter polyphonic insertions and characteristic bass ostinati in the second part of the song. Despite the time distance, Pesem o svobodi remains one of the most popular of Gobec’s works and retains its persuasiveness in melodic invention. Gobec’s partisan years continued to reflect in his compositions as he focused his attention on partisan and revolutionary themes even after the war. In this period he composed some orchestral and vocal-instrumental compositions, massive choirs and choir compositions for various casts. Among the massive compositions, initially written for mass meetings and later for grand singing festivals, were the works Mladi bataljoni (1947) and Lepo je v naši domovini biti mlad (1964); both of them were written for various casts. Among other things he paid his respect to the wartime by setting to music the poem of Matej Bor Njene oči (1954), which became one of his most representative compositions for mixed choirs. In this composition Gobec used diverse expressing and harmonic means, some of the most distinguished being onomatopoeia, a rich harmonic structure, and strong gradation in dynamics, in order to express the poet’s heartrending pain about the death of his wife and to accentuate a painful sensation as realistically as possible. Love is a subject of three of his solo-songs composed upon the poems by Igo Gruden (1951), which Gobec dedicated to his second wife, Jožica. The composition Ljubim te reveals an obvious shift in melodics and harmony from Gobec’s characteristically smooth and flowing melodics. The songs Njene oči and Ljubim te came into being during his study at Ljubljana Academy of Music, where he perfected himself in musical sentence with professors Blaž Arnič and Lucijan Marija Škrerjanc.

Revolution is also the subject of Kri v plamenih (1969), the most extensive composition Gobec ever created and the only one of Gobec’s works, which entirely complies with the definition of opera, though Tremerski dukat (1934) and Trije muzikanti (1988) possess the characteristics of the opera genre as well. Libreto for Kri v plamenih was based on drama “Komisar Janez” he wrote during the war and related to factual events that occurred during the march of the Division XIV to Styria in 1944. The opera also contains some poems by Karel Destovnik Kajuh and popular partisan songs. Gobec managed to retain the documentary value of the subject despite the time discrepancy. The composition has a recomposed form, while its musical form approaches the characteristics of the late Romanticism with some elements of recent periods evident in periodical use of clusters and dissonance. The most effective elements are solos; likewise the orchestration they indicate the approach of an excellent and experienced composer. Gobec’s susceptibility to topical subjects as regards social developments expresses his cantata Poslednja rožica (1966), composed upon the text by James Thurber. Cantata treats the human race living in the Atomic Age, the time of perpetual forming of armies, and calls out for redemption. There were some surprisingly modern means of composition used in this work, such as spoken citation, noises, clusters, etc.

Choir compositions Jesenska (Marija Vogelnik, 1960) and Goski I (Gvido Tartalja, 1971) were among the most frequently performed of Gobec’s original compositions. Performed by youth or girls’ choir, they could have been heard on various occasions as well as at choir reviews and competitions. Gobec was an experienced choir leader, therefore he developed an outstanding perception about individual casts what is not manifested merely in ambitus, as he never exceeded the capacity of the singers, but above all, it is evident in sophisticated onomatopoetic representation of the text in all inherent dimensions and in his searching for the balance between melodiousness, mood and harmonic means. For girls’ or female choir he also wrote Dekletom (F. Prešeren, 1946) and Avemarija (Boris Pangerc, 1985). The first one came into being immediately after the war when he finally settled down in Ljubljana, started to study and became a conductor of the Academy choir as well as an indefatigable mentor and pedagogue in the sphere of Slovenian choirs. Dekletom is a sophisticated example of art song with a touch of folk song. He intertwined the song with chromatics, however its smoothness and flow captured the attention of a number of choir leaders and singers. Avemarija was written upon the request of a very successful Vitra female nonet from Ribnica. The text expresses a very susceptible impression of the arriving evening accompanied by the angelus bell, which Gobec inserted into a second or a cluster movement. Notwithstanding the dissonance, he managed to create an atmosphere of peacefulness of the afterglow, which he emphasized with the onomatopoeia of the bells. Two compositions for mixed choirs, Sen (Ivan Minatti, 1961) and Lepa moja si Koroška (Janez Pernat, 1975) belong to the golden period of Gobec’s creativity. They corroborate the composer’s wide artistic range as his compositions have always been up to date as well as faithful to perpetually interesting patriotic themes. He was profoundly dedicated to Slovenian national movement and choir singing. Therefore, it is not a surprise that he wrote a great number of folk songs arrangements of various subjects and dispositions; such as Venček slovenskih napitnic (1987) for male choir, two folk songs from Prekmurje for girls’ choir Ne ouri, ne sejaj (1987) and Speivaj nama Katica (1987) that without any doubt belong to the anthology of the Slovenian choir singing.

Radovan Gobec’s last choir composition was the work with a very meaningful title Minljiv si (Jože Plečnik, 1994).The composition reflects the author’s reminiscence of his life’s work and expectation of the approaching farewell. The composer conceived the song following the form of motet and Renaissance spiritual polyphony and complemented the work with expressiveness as well as with intertwining with the verse: “..only your works will retain memory.” He was right. Radovan Gobec was a respected musical expert, popular choir conductor; he was wholeheartedly devoted to music with only one intention: he wished that music would live amongst the people and that its echo would be heard everywhere.

Dr. Darja Koter

Compositions, songs, extracts,...

1. Radovan Gobec: …iz mojega življenja, odlomek (1989)
2. Kresniček (Radovan Gobec), pesmica iz otroške spevoigre (1928) Andraž Hauptman - glas, Silva Hrašovec - klavir
3. Mladi bataljoni (Zdravko Ocvirk) (1947) instrumentalna priredba Milan Ferlež, Ansambel Ferlež
4. Lepo je v naši domovini biti mlad (Radovan Gobec) za otroški zbor in klavir (1964)
OPZ OŠ bratov Polančičev Maribor vodi Majda Gorjup, Bojan Gorič - klavir
5. Čira - čara (Neža Maurer) za otroški zbor in klavir (1964)
OPZ OŠ Volče vodi Klavdija Rot, Mojca Bizjak - klavir
6. Jesenska (Marija Vogelnik) za mladinski zbor (1960) DPZ Akademije za glasbo Ljubljana vodi Valentina Dolinšek
7. Goski I. (Gvido Tartalja) za dekliški zbor (1971) DPZ Akademije za glasbo Ljubljana vodi Marta Štrucelj
8. Kristus je vstal (N N) za mešani zbor (1929) MePZ Akademije za glasbo Ljubljana vodi Marko Vatovec
9. Tam na vrtu (Fran Albreht) za moški zbor (1930) Slovenski komorni zbor vodi Mirko Cuderman, solist Tadej Osvald – bariton
10. Kaj bi te vprašal (Anton Aškerc) za moški zbor (1932) Slovenski komorni zbor vodi Mirko Cuderman
11. Pesem o svobodi  - Song about Freedom (Radovan Gobec) za mešani zbor - for the mixed choir (1944) Akademski pevski zbor Tone Tomšič vodi - conducted by  Stojan Kuret (
12. Dekletom (France Prešeren) za dekliški zbor (1946) Slovenski komorni zbor vodi Mirko Cuderman
13. Njene oči (Vladimir Pavšič) za mešani zbor (1954) Slovenski komorni zbor vodi Mirko Cuderman
14. Sen (Ivan Minatti) za mešani zbor (1961) Učiteljski pevski zbor Emil Adamič vodi Branko Rajšter
15. Lepa moja si Koroška (Janez Pernat) za mešani zbor (1975) Slovenski komorni zbor vodi Mirko Cuderman
16. Avemarija (Boris Pangerc) za ženski zbor (1985) DPZ Akademije za glasbo Ljubljana vodi Marko Vatovec
17. 1. venček slovenskih napitnic za moški zbor, odlomek (1987) Slovenski oktet, umetniški vodja Anton Nanut, solo Eva Novšak-Houška - mezzosopran, Silvo Mihelčič - harmonika
18. Ne ouri, ne sejaj (prekmurska ljudska) za dekliški zbor (1987) DPZ Škofijske gimnazije Svetega Stanislava Ljubljana vodi Helena Fojkar Zupančič
19. Speivaj nama Katica (prekmurska ljudska) za dekliški zbor (1987) DPZ Akademije za glasbo Ljubljana vodi Marko Vatovec
20. Minljiv si - Your LIfe is Transient (Jože Plečnik) za mešani zbor - for the mixed choir (1994) MePZ Akademije za glasbo Ljubljana vodi - conducted by Marko Vatovec (
21. Kakor kita cvetja (Radovan Gobec), odlomek iz operete Hmeljska princesa(1930)
Samo Ivačič - bariton, Tom Hajšek - klavir, napovedovalec Boštjan Romih
22. Planinska roža (Radovan Gobec), odlomek iz operete (1937) Orkester Slovenske filharmonije, Ljubljanski komorni zbor,
Vilma Bukovec – sopran, Drago Čuden – tenor, dirigent Jakov Cipci
23. Ljubim (Igo Gruden) za glas in klavir (1951) Martin Sušnik - tenor, Tanja Šterman - klavir
24. Poslednja rožica (James Thurber), odlomek iz kantate Memento vojni za mešani zbor, recitatorja in simfonični orkester (1966) Simfonični orkester in Komorni zbor RTV Ljubljana vodi Radovan Gobec, recitator Polde Bibič
25. Kri v plamenih (Radovan Gobec), odlomek iz 2. dejanja opere (1969) Janez: Jaka Jeraša – bariton, Mati Mirnikova: Božena Glavak - mezzosopran, Oče Mirnik: Ivan Sancin – bas, Slavka: Olga Gracelj – sopran, Kračman: Nace Junkar – bariton, Mladinski zbor GŠ Franc Šturm, Komorni zbor in Simfonični orkester RTV Slovenija, dirigent Milivoj Šurbek