With a concert titled Roman & Friends: Musical Compounds, on Monday, July 30th, in the Church of the Holy Spirit, another evening of chamber music was completed at this year’s KotorArt.

As in previous years at the Don Branko’s Music Days, the “artist and friends” concept attracted a lot of attention of the audience. The host of the evening was our influential violinist Roman Simović, concert-master of the London Symphony Orchestra. He presented to the audience already well-known guests, violist Milena Simović, cellists Giovanni Gnocchi and Dragan Đorđević, and then the ones who performed in Kotor for the first time, violinist Cecilia Ziano and violist Robert Smissen, as well as pianist Ratimir Martinović, who, at the same time, was a guest of the concert and host of the Festival.

When it comes to the program, the encounter of the poetics of two contemporaries, composers born on the same day but with seven years of difference – German Johannes Brahms and Russian Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski, showed the whole emotional diversity intertwined in the music of the Romantic period. In both cases, the chamber works of a complex musical language are revealed to the listener, formally relying on the standard classical concept, with distinctive reflections on the folklore traditions of the Gipsy people in Brahms, and the Russian in Tchaïkovski.

In the R. Simović–M. Simović–Gnocchi–Martinović combination, there went by the first part of the concert with Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G minor, No. 1, Op. 25. An artist of impeccable technique, with incentive power and an inexhaustible expressive capacity, Simović with his interpretation leaves an unmistakable trace in the contemporary performance practice. With violist Milena Simović, member of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, cellist Gnocchi, Professor at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, and pianist Martinović who, with his thoughtful approach to a music score and richness of personal expression develops a unique profile of an artist, this Quartet was being listened to in one breath.
In the R. Simović– Ziano –Smissen–M. Simović–Đorđević–Gnocchi combination passed the second part of the program, with the Sextet in D minor, Op. 70 by Tchaïkovski. This piece, created three decades after Brahms’ composition is titled Souvenir de Florence, but regardless of the impressions the author experienced in Tuscany, it is rich with Russian folklore. It is also full of solo melodies – there were successful cellist Đorđević, Professor at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, and violist Smissen, a longtime member of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Orchestra. The piece is filled with sound unity, both the one on the verge of not being audible with a high emotional charge, and that almost a symphonic one, as in the very end of the composition.

 If music is not to be understood as a language, but as verbally incapable of communicating, this event showed its other communicative channels. For all introspective individuals it was interesting an intensive facial expression of the artists, which was hiding a spectrum of emotions, characteristic of individual poetics of Brahms and Tchaïkovski, but also of the aesthetics of Romanticism in general. At least, it showed the channel of those emotions recognizable to every human being.

Boris Marković