A treasure island of piano music — Spiegel Online
The Grand Piano label continues to uncover gems of the piano repertoire. — Fanfare

BLAGOJE, Bersa (1873 - 1934)

COMPLETE PIANO MUSIC • 1


  • Goran Filipec, piano

In his orchestral music, Croatian composer Blagoje Bersa absorbed stylistic traits from contemporaries such as Strauss and Mahler, but his piano music reveals a rich diversity drawn from Classical models. His art encompasses charming Chopinesque barcarolles, a melancholic Notturno, a stirring Liszt-inspired Fantaisie-Impromptu, beautiful balletic miniatures and the Brahmsian grandeur of the powerfully conceived Sonata No. 2 in F minor.

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Tracklist

1
Piano Sonata No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 20 (1897) (00:11:36)
2
Na žalu (At the strand) (1921) (00:03:36)
3
Notturno, Op. 38 (1903) (00:04:44)
4
Ora triste, Op. 37 (1903) (00:05:08)
5
Fantaisie-Impromptu, Op. 27 (1899) * (00:03:58)
6
Ballabile (1894) (00:01:31)
7
Bagatella, Op. 16 (1897) * (00:06:48)
 
Po načinu starih airs de ballet (Airs de ballet in the Old Way) (1926) (00:09:05 )
8
No. 1. Fantasia breve: Grave - Andante (00:02:58)
9
No. 2. Scherzo: Vivo (00:02:19)
10
No. 3. L’Heure de rêveries: Grave (00:03:47)
11
Marcia trionfale, Op. 24 (1898) * (00:09:06)
* World Première Recording
Total Time: 00:55:31

The Artist

Goran Filipec A pianist of fiery energy and captivating performing style inspired by the legendary piano traditions of the early 20th century, Goran Filipec (Rijeka, 1981) is acclaimed by critics from Argentina to New York and London for his “poetic, brilliant and refined performances”. Primarily renowned as a remarkable Lisztian, Goran Filipec endeavours in the domain of musical interpretation consist primarily of the perpetual rediscovery of emotional values of the music in question, and its relative subtraction from historicisation. Starting from this point, Filipec creates vibrant audible representations of the interpreted music in the spirit of the so-called "grand style," which occasionally unites interpretation and arrangement.

The Composer

As a composer of symphonic music, operas and songs, as well as chamber and piano works, Blagoje Bersa (1873–1934) was undoubtedly one of the central figures of Croatian musical life at the turn of the 20th century. Born in Dubrovnik into a family of passionate amateur musicians, Bersa learned to play the piano by participating in performances with members of his family. He received his primary education in Zadar, Vienna and Trieste, and from 1893 to 1896 he studied music in Zagreb with Ivan Zajc, the renowned Croatian opera composer. From 1896 to 1899 he studied piano in Vienna with Julius Epstein and composition with Robert Fuchs (who also taught Gustav Mahler and Jean Sibelius). In 1902, he was appointed conductor at the theatre of Graz, and from 1911 to 1918 he worked as artistic counsellor and arranger at the publishing house L. Doblinger. After the end of the First World War, Bersa returned permanently to Croatia and from 1922 he taught composition and instrumentation at the Music Academy in Zagreb—a position he held until his death in 1934.

Bersa’s artistic personality synthesises cultures of the Mediterranean, Central Europe and the Balkans. His style is mainly marked by Classicism and Romanticism, but through his awareness of the music of Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Giacomo Puccini and other European composers from the beginning of 20th century, he introduced new stylistic elements into his music, and these elements are more often traceable in his symphonic works than of those for piano.

He contributed significantly to the development of Croatian and Yugoslavian music, and as a pedagogue he educated an important number of composers who contributed significantly to musical life in that region during the 20th century. His pupils were Rudolf Matz, Zlatko Grgošević, Božidar Kunc, Boris Papandopulo, Milo Cipra, Ivan Brkanović, Josip Vrhovski, Bruno Bjelinski, Miroslav Magdalenić, Zvonimir Bradić, Slavko Zlatić, Nikola Hercigonja and Juraj Stahuljak.

Reviews

“…Bersa couldn’t have sought a better prophet for his piano music than Filipec” – Fanfare

Limelight

“Croatian composer proves a truly exciting discovery.” – Limelight

Gramophone

“…Goran Filipec’s performances…basically left me stunned and speechless from the first notes, and I’m still recovering!.. I cannot recommend this release highly enough” – Gramophone