One week of Dubrovnik’s rich and vibrant musical autumn at the Rector’s Palace belongs, as of last year, to the Stradun Classic Festival. The festival operates under the banner of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and was conceived by clarinetist Marija Pavlović. This year, the festival comprised five concerts featuring many excellent musicians.
“Slavic Evening” and Rogowski premiere
The first concert was titled “Slavic Evening” and had a special emotional and musical significance. Namely, the interestingly-conceived programme included a forgotten work, which had been awaiting a premiere for 73 years. The programme was performed by the excellent: mezzo-soprano Renata Pokupic, violinist Daniel Rowland, conductor Darrell Ang, and the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.
At the beginning of the second half, the audience was addressed by Damir Milat, Director of the Orchestra, and Vido Peručić, the person who, through a combination of circumstances, came across the lost score whose first performance we were about to hear. The piece is a violin concerto, entitled ‘Bucolique’, by Polish composer L. M. Rogowski.
Rogowski came to Dubrovnik in 1926 initially for a short break, but remained there until his death in 1954. He lived in St James, from which he had a magnificent view of both the City and Lokrum Island, and that view seems to have flowed into many of his works. When he died, Rogowski left his entire music oeuvre to the Dubrovnik Archive, but the manuscript of the Violin Concerto was lost. Still, the story has a happy ending — the manuscripts were found and edited by Mr Felix Spiller.
The Concerto is rich in colour with daring harmonies, the tunes are lavish and it is very demanding both technically and stylistically.
Soloist Rowland completely fascinated us with his playing, and the Orchestra, under the baton of Ang, was an encouraging partner.
And there was a real feeling of special excitement in the Palace. Hearing the first performance of a piece composed 73 years ago was an awe-inspiring experience. Violinist Rowland told us he was delighted with the Concerto, and so was Dubrovnik, on hearing that he, like Rogowski, could stay longer than he had planned.
(Loose translation of the original)