Classical and Modern Music

Format: CD

Šifra: 115158

EAN: 3838898115158


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.

Piran-born composer Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770) was one of the most important violinists of his time. Almost his entire opus is devoted to the violin, including over 135 concertos and numerous sonatas. He was also important as a music theorist and, among other things, discovered difference tones. His most famous composition is the Violin Sonata in G minor, known as the Devil’s Trill. Referring to the origin of the sonata, Tartini explained that the devil appeared to him in a dream and offered to be his servant in return for his soul. The devil fulfilled all of Tartini’s wishes, but the composer also wanted to find out whether he could play the violin. The devil played with breathtaking beauty. When Tartini woke up, he immediately took his violin and tried to play what he had heard in his dream. Thus he created what he himself regarded as his best composition, although he claimed that it was still nowhere near as beautiful as what the devil had played. The sonata has three movements: Larghetto, Allegro energico and Grave – Allegro assai, among which the latter still represents a technical challenge for performers today.
Composer, conductor and versatile instrumentalist Matej Babnik (1787–1868) was probably of Slovenian descent. He was born in Vienna but moved to Ljubljana at the beginning of the nineteenth century and worked in various musical institutions, including being a member of the Philharmonic Society. Later, he moved to Budapest, where he worked as a teacher and conductor until his death. Only a handful of works from his compositional opus have been preserved, among which the best known is his Piano Sonata with Violin Accompaniment. Various elements are intertwined in the sonata, which has three movements: Allegro moderato, Andante grazioso and Rondo allegretto. Along with numerous characteristics of earlier styles, the influence of contemporary currents can also be perceived.
In 1886, Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) spent the summer holidays in Thun, in the canton of Bern, Switzerland, where he passed his time in a circle of friends, taking long walks in the outdoors. He wrote that the landscape was “so full of melodies that one has to be careful not to step on any”. It was apparently during this vacation that Brahms planned the Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, Op. 102, the Cello Sonata No. 2, Op. 99, and the Piano Trio No. 3, Op. 101, as well as a number of lieder. Among other things, he also concluded the Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100. The latter is the most lyrical of Brahms’s violin sonatas, and is a work in which he found a perfect balance between inner personal narrative and instrumental virtuosity. The violin and the piano are equivalent both in terms of bearing thematic material and taking the leading role. The sonata has three movements. The lyrical Allegro amabile is followed by the second movement Andante tranquillo – Vivace – Andante – Vivace di più – Andante – Vivace, which is a combination of a slow movement and a scherzo, while the concluding Allegretto grazioso (quasi andante) has a folk flavour. Clara Schumann was enthusiastic about the work, writing to Brahms that she “wanted the last movement to accompany her on her path from this world to the next”.
The sixth solo sonata by Belgian composer, conductor and violin virtuoso Eugene Ysaÿe (1858–1931) has a distinctive Spanish character. It is dedicated to Spanish violinist Manuel Quiroga, whom critics considered to be the best successor to Pablo de Sarasate. However, Quiroga never actually performed the work in public. The sonata is written in a single movement, marked Allegro giusto non troppo vivo and is based on a Spanish habanera with a dynamic central section. It is distinguished by a rich texture with abundant use of chromaticism and scale passages. In the sonata, Ysaÿe encapsulated the rich virtuoso tradition of the nineteenth century, revealing himself as the true successor of Wieniawski and Vieuxtemps, with whom he had studied.
Among Slovenian composers, Matija Bravničar (1897–1977) was certainly one of the greatest cognoscenti of the violin. He was a violinist himself and wrote an extensive opus of works for the instrument accompanied by piano or orchestra. Composing for solo strings is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges for any composer. Bravničar’s Sonata for Solo Violin, which is dedicated to his son Dejan, is therefore a unique achievement in the Slovenian repertoire. The Sonata belongs to the composer’s late period, when he began to pay more attention to the formal structure of his compositions and to existing compositional approaches. In the work’s four movements Moderato, Fuga, Andante mesto and Allegro capriccioso, Bravničar demonstrates a masterly control of violin technique, while at the same time managing to retain and develop all of the characteristics of his personal compositional style.

dr. Borut Smrekar



Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770):
Violin sonata in G minor ≫Devil's Trill≪ (arr. F. Kreisler)

1 Larghetto 2:57
2 Allegro energico 3:18
3 Grave – Allegro assai 9:10

Matej Babnik (1787-1868):
Sonata for Violin and Piano in F Major

4 Allegro moderato 6:12
5 Andante gratioso 5:17
6 Rondo: Allegretto 3:43

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897):
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100

7 Allegro amabile 8:52
8 Andante tranquillo 7:14
9 Allegretto grazioso (quasi Andante) 5:27

Eugene Ysaye (1858-1931):
10 Violin Sonata No. 6 in E major, Op. 27 No. 6

Matija Bravničar (1897–1977):
Sonata for violin solo

11 Moderato 3:50
12 Fuga: Allegro moderato 5:35
13 Andante Mesto 3:24
14 Allegro capriccioso 3:27


Dejan Bravničar, violin
Mojca Pucelj, piano *
Aci Bertoncelj, piano ⁰
Marijan Lipovšek, piano ●