Release Date: March 22, 2019
Catalog #: NV6219
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Concertos
Orchestral
East Asian
Orchestra
Piano

3 Rhapsodies

For Piano And Orchestra

Matej Meštrović composer, arranger, piano
Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić conductor

It is tempting to compare Matej Meštrović’s compositional style to his great predecessors in the late-Romantic tradition. After all, much of the Croatian composer’s style and techniques would be right at home in Rachmaninoff’s concertos, Tchaikovsky’s works, or Prokofiev’s neoclassicism; and the name of the album’s first work, Danube Rhapsody, naturally evokes associations with Smetana’s similarly river-themed Vltava. Add to all of this that Meštrović, like most of his great musical ancestors, is a talented virtuoso pianist, and it’s easy to see why 3 RHAPSODIES is bound to meet with enthusiasm.

Of course, a skillful composer like Meštrović doesn’t confine himself to mere epigonism. And indeed, there is an original voice which constantly rises out from tradition. This is partially achieved through Meštrović’s clever instrumentation: the Danube Rhapsody‘s scoring includes, among others, a cimbalom and a tamburitza (the Croatian long-necked lute), which immediately tells the listener that he or she is hearing the Balkans, not Russia or Czechia. Similarly, the Chinese Rhapsody employs traditional Chinese instruments such as the pipa, erhu, and zheng, gorgeously contrasting them against the tremolo strings of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra.

American East Coast natives will find themselves swept back home in Meštrović’s New England Rhapsody, a composition initially as comforting and sentimentally heart-warming as the Transatlantic accent in a 1940’s film. It’s a deceptive respite, however: the final movement, interspersed with jazzy rhythmic elements and Meštrović’s resurfacing Croatian voice, takes the listener right back to the exalting ardor of the album’s beginning. Instead of fizzling out like lesser compositions might, it finishes with a bang.

There is no way around it: 3 RHAPSODIES is a triumph. It is not at all unlikely that future generations, when asked to name the first famous Croatian composer that comes to mind, will exclaim with conviction: “Meštrović, of course!”

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Artist Information

Matej Meštrović

Composer, Pianist

Matej Meštrović is an eclectic and versatile composer, having written a large body of works ranging from chamber and orchestral concert music to music for television, theatre, and film. Meštrović’s albums include Zvuci Velebita, Eat Suite (which won a 2014 Independent Music award), My Face Music Book (which won the 2016 Classical Album of the Year and Runner-Up Overall Album of the Year on SoloPiano.com), VIVALDI 4 SEASONS FOR 3 PIANOS (which won the 2017 Global Music Awards Silver Medal for Piano Trio & Album, and Album of the Year (Compilation) on SoloPiano.com).

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Miran Vaupotić

Conductor

Acclaimed as "dynamic and knowledgeable" by the Buenos Aires Herald, Croatian conductor Miran Vaupotić has worked with eminent orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV, Orchestre de Chambre de Genève, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional Argentina and others, performing in major halls around the globe, such as Carnegie Hall, Wiener Musikverein, Berliner Philharmonie, Rudolfinum, Smetana Hall, Victoria Hall, Forbidden City Concert Hall, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Tchaikovsky Hall, International House of Music, CBC Glenn Gould Studio etc.

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Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra

Orchestra

The Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra boasts 150 years of tradition of first-class musicianship in Zagreb and across Croatia. It acts as a promoter of the art of music in Croatia and a cultural ambassador of Croatia in the world. It is a symbol of the city in which it operates and a musical institution that captures the urban image of Zagreb as a central European musical, art and cultural centre.

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