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Dora PEJAČEVIC (1885-1923) Trio in C, for violin, cello and piano, op.29 (1910) [35:27]
Sonata in E minor, for cello and piano, op.35 (1913) [28:12]
Andrej Bielow (violin); Christian Poltéra (cello); Oliver Triendl (piano)
rec. Chamber Music Studio, Südwestrundfunk, Stuttgart, 8-10 June 2008. DDD
CPO 777 419-2 [63:57]
Like Naxos, CPO often go where other labels dare not tread for
fear of losing serious money. The 19th and early 20th centuries
in particular are a minefield: probably still the most recorded
period, and constituting the keystone of concert and chamber
repertoires - what room could there be for an obscure Croatian
composer, female, short-lived, whose music must compete with
Mahler, Strauss, Stravinsky and Ives?
Well, room must simply be made. Recent CPO-featured composers
like Bernhard Molique (review),
Paul Graener (review),
Ernst Toch (review)
and Hermann Wetzler (review)
have not altered music history like the aforementioned did,
but their works can often be just as aesthetically pleasing
- if not more so. Such is certainly the case with Dora Pejačevic's
Piano Trio op.29 and her Cello Sonata op.35 - the thought that,
were it not for CPO's boldness, these radiant, passionate, supremely
lyrical works might never have been recorded or even performed
again, is sobering.
So immediately appealing indeed are these works that the listener
will feel as if (s)he has always known them, especially the
Piano Trio. Though the music is reminiscent here and there of
Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Dvorák or Grieg, these are not pale imitations
of the great works of the chamber repertoire: Pejačevic's
ear for exquisite, complementary lines and her attention to
detail are hugely impressive, central to her claim to originality.
Pejačevic followed these chamber works with some of her
best orchestral music. Her substantial Symphony in F sharp minor
and her Phantasie Concertante for piano and orchestra
were released earlier in 2011 by CPO (review)
in the first of what is, with any luck, a long discography devoted
to Pejačevic's works: CPO promise in fact to "dedicate
a comprehensive edition to her".
Pejačevic's music is being promoted by the Croatian Music
Information Centre, co-sponsors of this CD. The MIC has published
some of her scores, as well as a detailed online biography
in English, which includes poignant extracts from private correspondence,
several short samples of her music and a presumably complete
list of works, which sadly stops at op.58: Pejačevic died
in her prime from complications arising from the birth of her
first child after marrying in her mid-thirties.
Andrej Bielow, Christian Poltéra and Oliver Triendl perform
Pejačevic's music with great expressiveness, self-evidently
taking great pleasure from Pejačevic's almost limitless
supply of beautiful melodies for all three soloists. Poltéra's
tone in particular is marvellous.
As usual at SWR in Stuttgart, the studio recording is beautifully
balanced and generally superb. The trilingual booklet notes
are detailed and informative, albeit tending towards the academic.
Though French readers are fortunate enough to benefit from a
native speaker for translation purposes, English readers must
once again make do with a competent but imperfect German translator
- meaning that some of the phraseology is rather light-headed,
with numerous sentences Teutonically stilted in register.
The circumstances of Pejačevic's death are among the most
heart-breaking of any composer, but at least now this genial
music can live on in the memory of all those who experience
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