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Classical Music Review

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Harmony of Dissonance
Traces of Croatian Traditional Singing


Composers: Various
Conductors: Saša Nestorović
Performed by: Jazz Orchestra of the Academy of Music in Zagreb and Harmonija Disonance Ensemble
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 11 October 2019

Harmony of Dissonance brings together, juxtaposes, and intertwines the disparate singing styles of the regions of Dalmatia, which remain stylistically and performatively distant even today. While these musical worlds present seemingly irreconcilable musical and cultural differences, they are all connected by polyphonic singing, which forms the core of this collaboration between the Harmonija Dissonance Ensemble and the Jazz Orchestra of the Academy of Music in Zagreb...

If your passion is discovering traditional music from all corners of the globe, then Navona Records has a treat awaiting you. Harmony of Dissonance features traces of Croatian traditional singing performed by the Jazz Orchestra of the Academy of Music in Zagreb and the Harmonija Disonance Ensemble.

The Harmonija Dissonance Ensemble turned to their experiences with renowned traditional singers as well as to ethnomusicological field recordings of the songs that are included on the album. The Ensemble first performed this representative program of traditional singing in Zagreb in May 2017. The songs are musically intriguing and performatively challenging, reflecting both local specificities and the heterogeneity of expressions, styles, and genres.

A recording of this performance became the inspiration for composer Zoran Ščekić, who subsequently “translated” ten of the songs into a series of instrumental miniatures which are woven throughout the album, performed by the Jazz Orchestra of the Academy of Music.

Culturally important, and engaging, it's not an album that will appeal to everyone. However, it was interesting to discover tracks like 'Daj mi, majko, dinar-dva' which have a more western slant in their jazz delivery. It's the traditional Croatian singing that is the hook here, and there's no escaping the fact that it's intricate and beautifully reproduced on this album.


Darren Rea

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