Serbian Council of Great Britain and Markson Pianos
The delicate sound of ‘A Little Prayer’ by Serbian composer Dušan Bogdanović signalled the beginning of Serbian Month in Great Britain on the 15th January 2016, in the heart of London, at Covent Garden’s St Paul’s Actors Church. We had the great pleasure of welcoming pianist Nada Kolundžija from Belgrade, an internationally renowned artist and Serbia’s most prominent performer and passionate promoter of contemporary music. Although Nada has performed all around the world, this was her first appearance in UK.
After the calmness of Bogdanović’s piece and George Ivanovich Gurdjieff / Thomas De Hartmann’s ‘Meditation, Holy Affirmation-Holy Denying-Holy Reconciling; Prayer and Despair’, Nada raised the atmosphere with the ‘Etudes’ by Philip Glass before taking us to the colourful world of ‘Piano Suite I – Early One Sunday Morning’, a masterful combination of different moods and impressions written by Lola Perrin. Then, just as we started to enjoy all the different colours that Nada produced, she changed tack to waltz beats with the witty ‘Winter Waltz’ by Miloš Raičković which was followed by the totally different and very poetic Waltz by Anton Batagov. As the sounds changed and heat rose, the audience was transported to the tango rhythm by William Duckworth’s ‘Tango Voices’ and Scott Pender’s fiery ‘Tango: Ms Jackson Dances for the People’ which provided further evidence of the pianistic brilliance of Nada’s performance. The programme was chosen with great professionalism, a real feast of music that an audience rarely has an opportunity to hear. The event was organised by the Serbian Council of Great Britain and Markson Pianos and brought together a Serbian and British audience, which included the composer Lola Perrin who praised Nada’s interpretation of her music.
The concert is available now on YouTube:
Highlights of Nada Kolundžija performance at St Paul’s Actors Church in Covent Garden on 15th January 2016. Programme includes DUŠAN BOGDANOVIĆ, GURDJIEFF / DE HARTMANN, PHILIP GLASS, LOLA PERRIN and WILLIAM DUCKWORTH
The day after the young Serbian pianist Stefan Ćirić, already well known to British audiences, performed Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Adrian Prabava at Brighton’s ‘Dome’, receiving a great review by Phill Dennett:
Pitch perfect at five, it was mature musicality 25 years on and a feel for the soul of the piece that highlighted Stefan Ciric’s compelling interpretation of the fiendishly difficult Brahms second piano concerto.
Before an appreciative Dome audience, Ciric, at times almost miming with lips in his intense concentration, poured energy into the piece without losing track of its complex and brilliantly consummated relationship with the orchestra.
On the attack he was clear about his mission with precise and punchy phrasing as the piece tested his dexterity.
Though assertive, he relaxed confidently into some wonderfully lyrical moments of true tranquillity, especially in the more tender moments of the well-loved andante, which included a beautiful cello solo from Kristina Blaumane.
Amidst the whirlpools of the final movement Ciric exploited any oasis of calm beyond the pulsating rhythms with exquisite intimacy that summed up a memorable performance.
The orchestra remained on equally fine form for a superb performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, illuminating the joy of the presto and capturing the compulsive dance-like rhythm of the first movement in true vivace spirit.
The opening Mozart Overture from Lucio Silla was a light appetiser for the coming rich feast of great music.
While lovers of classical music could not ask for better treat from the Serbian pianists, in Brixton Hootananny ‘Op Sa! Balkan Band’ brought traditional Balkan music, influenced by the Serbian Kolo and the Turkish cocek. There was a fiery party of 12 performers, a big, bold and brass-heavy sound that keeps audience on their feet whole night.
What a start for the eighth Serbian Month!