DEJAN BRAVNIČAR

ANTOLOGIJA - DEJAN BRAVNIČAR: BEETHOVEN, HINDEMITH

Resna

Format: CD

Šifra: 115172

EAN: 3838898115172

Violinist Dejan Bravničar (1937–2018) is one of the most important Slovenian performers of the second half of the twentieth century. His family environment had an important influence on his personal and artistic development, as his mother Gizela was a ballerina and his father Matija Bravničar was a composer and violinist. The latter is regarded as one of the leading Slovenian composers of the mid twentieth century, and made an important contribution to shaping the cultural and social life of that time with his work as an artist, writer and teacher, not least as a professor and dean of the Ljubljana Academy of Music. His son Dejan became acquainted with the violin at an early age. On the secondary school level, his father entrusted him to Fran Stanič, and at the Ljubljana Academy of Music he studied with Karl Rupel. After graduating, he continued his studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, with one of the greatest violinists of the twentieth century, David Oistrakh. During his stay in Moscow, he met a number of the world’s greatest musicians of the time. This was followed by a year of additional studies with renowned violinist Pina Carmirelli at the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome.
After completing his studies, Bravničar settled in his homeland as a freelance soloist. In addition to numerous appearances at home, he performed in England, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, Bulgaria, Switzerland, the former Soviet Union and elsewhere, collaborating with top conductors such as Kurt Sanderling, Kirill Kondrashin, Paul Kletzki, Carlo Zecchi, Jean Martinon and others. He was also active in the field of chamber music, where he collaborated with cellist Ciril Škerjanc and pianist Aci Bertoncelj in the Tartini Trio, performing both in Slovenia and in world cultural centers such as Vienna, New York and Paris. In the mid 1960s, he began teaching at the Ljubljana Academy of Music, and later served as the institution’s dean for eight years. He educated generations of violinists who play in professional Slovenian orchestras and teach at music schools.
In his solo career, Dejan Bravničar performed more than fifty violin concertos. His repertoire extended from Vivaldi and Bach to Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Paganini, Brahms, Lalo, Tchaikovsky, Wieniawski, Sibelius and Szymanowski, as well as the most important works of this genre from the twentieth century, such as the concertos of Bartók, Khachaturian, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. With his work, he left an indelible mark on the Slovenian musical landscape. As a soloist, he introduced new and higher standards of musical performance to the domestic music scene. At a time when firstrate art was accessible only in rare centers, his numerous concerts around Slovenia enabled a wide audience to become acquainted with works of the world violin literature in superb performances. His contribution to the promotion of Slovenian music was also invaluable. As a soloist, he performed violin concertos by Lucijan Marija Škerjanc, Danilo Švara, Matija Bravničar and Primož Ramovš, as well as a number of other Slovenian works, many of which he also promoted aboard, either as a soloist or with the Tartini Trio. His pedagogical activities were enhanced with his editions of important world and domestic repertoire. He received numerous state awards and recognitions for his work, including the Prešeren Fund Award and the City of Ljubljana Award. He was appointed as a professor emeritus of the University of Ljubljana and as an honorary member of ESTA Slovenia.
Dejan Bravničar was one of the most distinguished figures of Slovenian music and left an enduring mark with his artistic and pedagogical contribution.
 

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) wrote his Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 in 1806 and it was presented to the public in the same year. It is not the composer’s first work for violin and orchestra. He had already written a violin concerto in C major, although it is not known whether the earlier work was actually completed, as only a fragment of the first movement has been preserved. This was followed by the celebrated romances for violin and orchestra in F major and G major, and finally the D major concerto, which was written for the composer’s friend Franz Clement, the then leading Viennese violinist, who also helped Beethoven with his opera Fidelio. Clement performed the concerto for the first time at a concert on 23 December 1806 in Vienna. However, the performance was not a success. It is difficult to identify the cause of this failure with any certainty. Perhaps the fact that Beethoven revised the composition right up to the performance resulted in the soloist being poorly prepared. It may be that the poor reception was because Clement played some of his own compositions between the movements to display his skill on the instrument. He was known for playing the violin turned around the wrong way, which was especially pleasing to the audience. In any case, Beethoven’s concerto disappeared from view for almost forty years. It was revived by violinist Joseph Joachim, who was barely twelve years old at the time but later became one of the key figures in the development of the form of the violin concerto. He performed the concerto in London under the baton of Felix Mendelssohn. Subsequently, the work gradually established a place for itself on concert stages and is today considered to be a fundamental work in this genre. Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major is regarded as a milestone in the development of the form of the violin concerto, as in many respects it departs from everything written up to that time. Although Beethoven retained the classical three-movement structure and the usual sequence of tempi, the composition is much more extensive than previous concertos. The composer’s approach to the orchestration and the role of the orchestra in relation to the soloist is also different, but, above all, the solo part was extremely demanding technically at the time of its creation. Franz Clement undoubtedly contributed to the creation of the solo part, and there is a certain similarity with the French models on which Beethoven had based the two romances. Written in sonata form, the opening Allegro ma non troppo is the most extensive movement, bringing a number of ingenious innovations. The initial rhythmic motif of five solo timpani strokes stands out immediately. In the continuation, this motif turns out to be more than merely an introductory figure; it is the connecting tissue of the entire movement. The formal scheme of the second movement, Larghetto, is based on a series of lyrical variations on a ten-bar theme, which the composer upgrades with additional thematic material. The Larghetto is organically linked to the concluding third movement, Rondo: Allegro. Bringing a “folk” flavour, it has a symmetrical rondo form with a sonata harmonic structure. In this concerto from Beethoven’s mature period, it is above all the composer’s gentle side that comes to the fore. Perhaps this is precisely why it was for a long time overshadowed by the composer’s “stormy” compositions, which were more suited to the taste of the time.
The horrors of the First World War irrevocably changed the old “Romantic” Europe. The turbulent times of radical social change that followed demanded a new, different art. Composers sought the successor of Romantic music in various directions. Some continued the Romantic tradition, but with an expanded orchestra and a search for new orchestral and harmonic effects. Others sought inspiration in folk music, through which they introduced new ideas in the areas of rhythm and harmony. Paul Hindemith (1895– 1963) chose a different path. Between 1920 and 1927, he wrote a series of seven compositions entitled Kammermusik (Chamber Music), which represent a transition from his Expressionist phase to his Neoclassical or Neo-Baroque period. The compositions are not chamber music in the classical sense, but are works for reduced instrumental forces. In them, the composer relies on both Baroque and Classical models, while at the same time playing with elements of jazz and allusions to the works of his contemporaries. Hindemith wrote Kammermusik No. 4 for his friend Licco Amar, the leader of the string quartet in which Hindemith played the viola. The most ambitious work in the series, number four is the longest and has the most movements. It retains many features of a violin concerto. The solo violin part is extremely exposed in relation to the orchestra, which is further emphasised by the absence of violins in the orchestra/ensemble of twenty-five musicians. On the other hand, the introductory movement is entirely an ensemble composition, without the appearance of the soloist. In the work, we find a number of characteristics of Baroque music, used in an original and new way. This is primarily reflected in the formal design of the movements, the rhythmic characteristics and the reliance on counterpoint, while the harmonic dimension is dominated by dissonance, with the interval of a fourth being particularly emphasised. Kammermusik No. 4 has five movements. The first, which the composer named Signal, with the tempo Breite, majestätische Halbe (broadly, strong half notes), is characterised by a fanfare motive that appears rhythmically unchanged throughout, alongside dissonant chords. The movement has the function of a prelude, leading without interruption into the motoric and distinctly dissonant second movement Sehr lebhaft (very lively) with two themes. It is here that the soloist appears. The central part is the slow third movement entitled Nachtstück (night movement), with the tempo Mässig schnelle Achtel (moderately fast eighth notes). It is a cantabile movement with an extremely dark, almost tragic mood. This is followed by the virtuoso movement Lebhafte Viertel (lively quarter notes), which is a kind of march, and the concluding So schnell wie möglich (as quickly as possible), in which the composer flirts with jazz and in some places parodies Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat (The Soldier’s Tale).

dr. Borut Smrekar

 

Tracks:

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827):
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
*
1 Allegro ma non troppo 24:34
2 Larghetto - 9:06
3 Rondo: Allegro 10:06

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963):
Kammermusik No. 4, Op. 36 No. 3o

4 Signal: Breite, majestätische Halbe - 1:26
5 Sehr Lebhaft 6:02
6 Nachtstück: Mäßig schnelle Achtel 8:17
7 Lebhafte Viertel - 3:26
8 So schnell wie möglich 2:02


Dejan Bravničar, violin
RTV Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra
Samo Hubad, conductor *
Jean Claude Casadesus, conductor ⁰