The cello as a solo instrument does not have a long history in the evolution of Slovenian music. The first Slovenian solo music for this expressive instrument appeared about 100 years ago, and the cello has been present in Slovenian chamber music literature only a little longer than that. The periodical Novi Akordi (1901–1914) attracted many of the Slovenian avant-garde, and composers in this cultural circle began exploring new and different styles of music. Their new music came as a remote echo of romantic-era sonatas and miniatures. Later, during the interwar period, it evolved into a hybrid style, an escalation of new romanticism with neoclassical clarity and neo-baroque atonality. The music was inspired not only by the composers’ desire for expression through the cello, but in a large part by the cellists themselves.
Risto Savin / Friderik Širca (1859–1949) Sonata for Violoncello and Piano, op. 22 (1922)
1 Allegro moderato 8:09
2 Andante. Allegretto. Tempo primo 3:48
3 Allegro molto quasi presto 5:28
Slavko Osterc (1895–1941) Partita for Violoncello and Piano (1929)
4 Moderato 2:27
5 Chaconne 4:00
6 Interludij 2:20
7 Fuga 5:13
Dane Škerl (1931–2002) Two Meditations for Violoncello and Piano (1989)
8 Sostenuto 2:19
9 Largo e solenne 2:50
Dane Škerl Three Intermezzos for Violoncello Solo (1987)
10 Commodo 3:29
11 Triste 4:55
12 Motorico 1:42
Pavle Merkù (1927 – )
13 Madrigale per violoncello solo (1985) 3:58
Dina Slama (1941 – )
14 Chant pour violoncello (1994) 3:47
Uroš Krek (1922–2008) Sonata for Violoncello and Piano (1984)
15 Allegro comodo 6:35
16 Quasi marcia lenta 8:21
17 Allegro 7:26
GAL FAGANEL has been praised in the press for his captivatingly beautiful sound (RTV Slovenia) and for his deep and stirring interpretation of music (Večer). He is frequently heard as a soloist and in chamber music recitals throughout North America and Europe. Recently he was appointed associate principal cellist of the Phoenix Symphony.
Growing up in a musical family, Gal declared the desire to play cello at age three. When he was eight years old he began studying cello in his native Slovenia. He continued his studies in Croatia, where he won an international competition, which led to an invitation and a full-tuition scholarship to study at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His university studies culminated in a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Gal’s mentors include Eleonore Schoenfeld, Nathaniel Rosen, Daniel Rothmuller and Dobrila Berković-Magdalenić.
While in Los Angeles, Faganel collaborated with many renowned conductors and soloists. Among them were Sergiu Comissiona, Zubin Mehta, Mehli Mehta, Lionel Friend, Carl St.Clair, Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrel, Midori Goto, Isaac Stern, and Itzak Perlman. As a soloist Gal performed Haydn, Shostakovich, Fauré, Saint-Saëns, Bruch and Couperin with orchestras in Europe and in the United States.
As a member of Tetraktys String Quartet Gal Faganel toured and competed in the United States and in Europe. He also performed as a member of various other chamber ensembles, particularly his favorite – string trio. Since his teenage years he has regularly appeared in recitals in Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, and in the United States.
Faganel has won many international competitions and received numerous awards, including the International Cello Competition “Antonio Janigro” in Croatia, the American String Teacher’s Association Competition in California, and the Slovenian National Competition as a soloist and with piano trio. In 1997 he was honored with the title“The Young Musician of the Year“ in Slovenia. The following year he won a national competition to represent Slovenia at the EBU-Eurovision competition in Lisbon, Portugal. He also has a number of radio and CD recordings to his credit. These include live broadcasts and archival recordings for National Radio Slovenia, Radio Koper, Holland Radio, and Classical KUSC in Los Angeles. Recently he began to research, perform and record Slovenian music for violoncello.
Gal greatly enjoys teaching cello and coaching chamber music. From 2004 to 2007 he taught at the University of Southern California and maintained a private studio in Los Angeles. He is currently on faculty at Scottsdale Community College and continues to perform and teach in various capacities in the United States and in Europe.
Pianist JAN BRATOŽ has played solo and chamber music performances throughout Austria, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Hungary, Mexico, Croatia, Italy, and the United States. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes and honors in both domestic and international arenas, including first prizes at the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition in New York and at the USC Concerto Competition; second prize at the Los Angeles Franz Liszt International Piano Competition; and first prize at the Slovenian National Competition. Mr. Bratož began his musical training in Ilirska Bistrica under the tutelage of Bojan Glavina. He studied piano at the Ljubljana Music High School in the class of Janez Lovše and later studied with Sijavuš Gadžijev. He earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance from the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, where his teachers were Hans Leygraf and George Kern. He moved to the United States to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance with full scholarship at the University of Southern California. He currently studies with Kevin Fitz-Gerald. In 2007 he received the Presser Music Award to record a contemporary music CD. In the United States Mr. Bratož has performed with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and the USC Symphony Orchestra, and in Slovenia with the Chamber Orchestra Kranj and the Ljubljana Music High School Orchestra. He has worked under renowned master teachers such as Arbo Valdma, Nina Tichmann, Alexander Lonquich, Leonard Stein, Peter Feuchtwanger, Yossi Reshef and Claudio Soares. Mr. Bratož is also active as a teacher. In addition to his current private studio, he has taught young jazz pianists as a faculty member of the USC Outreach Program, and at the university level as the studio assistant of Norman Krieger at the the University of Southern California. He gave a master class at the University of Veracruz in Xalapa, Mexico, and currently works in that same city as the principal pianist in the symphony orchestra.