In 2008 I released my guitar works in three volumes. I wish to express my deepest gratitude to all of my listeners who provided feedback and encouragement since the release. This album is aimed to address some of the feedback.
Many listeners seemed to miss the playful variations that are also lacking in today’s music. Nearly everyone felt that modern composers tend to take themselves too seriously, and that there should be a lot more humor in new music.
I address these opinions on this album, which could be subtitled "Divertimento." Both cyclical works on the album are truly light and entertaining. The music is learned, yet not academic -a trait that has often been described as a landmark of my music.
The album "Country Classical" consists of two works: “Oh! Susanna Variations”, and “Croatian Songs, Part IV.”
"Oh! Susanna Variations" has a self explanatory theme which is briefly performed unharmonized and muted, as well as an Intro filled with self-parodying pathos. The variations that follow recall humor from a master generally known for more serious works: Beethoven, especially his Diabelli-Variations. Even pressing of Susanna into the shape of the most famous guitar solo originally written for piano (Asturias) has been inspired by one of the variations from Beethoven's set: Mozart's "Notte e giorno faticar" from the beginning of Don Giovanni had received similar treatment. The variations aim to set different moods associated with various classical styles and forms, and are here to entertain. The ending is performed in a more recent style of American minimalism that is mostly considered “not-so-alive” nowadays, except for a few cameo appearances, like in this work.
Due to success of CroSongs I and II, I have decided to include another guitar sequel (number IV; part III is for a cappella choir). The fourth part of Croatian Songs places the folk tunes in different dresses, or puts them in a different spotlight creating a refreshing context out of old materials. While the first part gave the Croatian tunes a touch of South American influence (Lauro), and the second part was dominated with hard classical constructing and stark modulations, the fourth part is all about soundscaping ("sound landscaping"). There are barely changes of key; for the first time "scordatura" has been employed (non-standard tuning), harmonies change at a much slower pace, and there are certain moods in the music which - unlike most of my work - tend to spread through longer periods of time. The overall impression is colorful, yet static.