Tuesday, 28 April 2020

MUSIC REVIEW: Dora Pejacevic - Symphony in F# minor.


Hello! I see that your site is writing comments about classical music performances. These are good deeds, it was a great pleasure for me to read these. But I want to write also to talk about a composer from my home country who you won't know.

Here in Croatia, Dora Pejačević (1885 - 1923) is one of our most famous and well-known composers, and yes, she is a woman. It is important in Croatian classical music culture, and this symphony in particular, because it is the first symphony written by a Croat.

Born in Hungary, Dora Pejačević is from a noble and aristocratic Croatian family and was the daughter of a Croatian governor. She began composing at the age of 12, and has left more than 100 compositions from solo piano pieces, songs, to complete and long orchestral pieces like this one. She is a wonderful composer, and her music is rich and romantic. It is a shame that beyond what used to be called "Yugoslavia" she is more or less unknown.

This symphony is a very important piece and was composed in 1918 in her later years and so is more mature in its writing here. Full of orchestral colours. F# minor is a notoriously difficult key to compose in, and not many composers have been able to be successful. The themes and orchestrations are imaginative and somewhat avant-garde for their time; and even though people say the work was influenced by Brahms, Wagner, Delius and Rachmaninov, that may be true .. but to be honest, I feel she has carved her own path, and her tunes and style are all her own. It is completely original and completely satisfying.

There is a recording on YouTube played by The Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie of the Rheinland-Pfalz directed by Ari Rasilainen. Here you can hear the burning and very romantic first movement in sonata form; following this a slow and beautiful melody that ebbs and flows like a gentle tide, before the third movement - a scherzo, which is fun and joyful, before the deep passion and rich orchestration of the final movement bringing it to a triumphant end.

I am happy to introduce not only the famous Croatian but also a famous female composer.

Guest Reviewer - Ljubica Knežević
on - 28/4/20

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