Song and Kolo from the opera “Ero the Joker” for orchestra
b. Split, Dalmatia, 11 October 1895 – d. Zagreb, 16 October 1982
Song and Kolo
from the opera “Ero the Joker” for orchestra
The Kolo is a fast-paced group circle dance common to the peoples of the Southern Balkans. Dvořák included one in his Op. 72 set of Slavonic Dances. Its basic steps and format become more complex with the introduction of syncopation and other alignments. Traditionally, it is performed at social gatherings such as weddings and religious festivals. The dancers wear colorful costumes, the styles often specific to particular locales. This score is an instrumental version of the finale to Gotovac’s opera Ero s onoga svijeta (Ero the Joker). Although it is understood that the composer made a concert version without voices, the present publication also credits the work of Max Schönherr.
During the 1930s Gotovac was the leading figure in the establishment of a Croation national musical style that welded folkloric elements onto classical forms in a way similar to that achieved by Smetana and Dvořák for Czech music at the end of the nineteenth century. Peasant life and humor is often the focus of his compositions. To give his music a Croation national identity he derived his own folkloric-type melodies, sometimes using genuine folk tunes, superimposed on a simple homophonic structure with added chromatic inflections. This is reflected in the best-known works from his middle period: Koleda (1925), Symphonic Kolo (1926), The Ploughman (1937), Balkan Songs and Dances (1939), and The Gusle Player (1940).
Growing up, Gotovac received some basic musical training from local teachers in Split. At the behest of his parents, after graduating from the Classical Secondary School, he studied law at the Universities of Zagreb and Graz. However, the tug of music was too strong and by 1920 he was studying composition with Joseph Marx at the Academy of Music in Vienna. He spent a short period in Šibenik where he made his mark by reinvigorating the Phiharmonic Society there. In 1923 he was appointed as a repetiteur and vocal coach at the Zagreb Opera, where he was to remain until his retirement in 1957, having been principal conductor. As well as his theater work, he was also prominent as a choral director, leading the two most important choral societies in Zagreb-the Mladost-Balkan Student Chorus and the Vladimir Nazor Chorus-at various times. From 1962-1964 Gotovac served as President of the Croation League of Composers.
His comic opera, Ero s onoga svijeta, completed and premiered in 1935, was by far his most successful work, receiving international acclaim in Europe and beyond. The fanciful plot, to a witty libretto by Milan Begovic, gives the composer plenty of scope for colorful set pieces and expressions of pathos and comedy.
Read full preface > HERE