Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Nebojsa Jovan ZIVKOVIC
(b. 1962)
Ultimatum IIa. The Castle of the Mad King. Ilijas. Ein Liebeslied?. Northwind. Bayerischer Ländler. Trio per unoab. Il canto dei gondolieri. Suomineito. Der kleine Paganini.
Nebosja Jovan Zivkovic (percussion) with aBenjamin Toth, bFernando Meza (percussion).
BIS CD-1098 [68'41] [DDD]
   Amazon US

It would appear that the age of the virtuoso who performs his own compositions is not dead after all. Born in 1962, Zivkovic studied composition, music theory and percussion in Germany. It is obvious from this programme that he knows how to show off his strengths to the full, but not without a price. The impressive virtuosity of The Castle of the Mad King (1998/9, and also the title of the CD) will probably only really hold a fellow percussionist's attention for its full duration (nearly 18 minutes).

That is, however, the only piece which outstays its welcome. The title of 'Ultimatum II' refers to the challenges (ultimatums) between the two players. Zivkovic creates an hypnotic atmosphere in the first section, ending with an exciting finale in 14/16 time.

The Trio per uno (for three players) is the other substantial work offered. It marries virtuosity with a magical, bell-like second movement and a primal concluding section, complete with guttural, quasi-primordial shouts.

The shorter pieces are easier listening. The Bayerischer Ländler is pure pastiche, Northwind is a show-off piece with a lyrical after-section, ll canto dei gondolieri is effective in its simplicity and Suomineito conjures up the world of the music-box. Finally, Ilijas (a town in Bosnia) is folksy and hushed.

Der kleine Paganini acts as a scintillating encore.

Zivkovic is his own best advocate throughout.


Colin Clarke



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