An after-sun experience
KEITH BRAMICH enjoys two concerts at the 2003 Dubrovnik Summer Festival
Concerts at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival on Croatia's Dalmatian coast
are very definitely a nocturnal
experience. In 'the city that never sleeps', major festival events begin at
9.30pm, one or two each evening during most of July and August, kowtowing to
the heat and to various tourist activities -- a selection of
art exhibitions, museums, churches, sun, sea, sand, boat excursions
or simply exploring the city
and walking its walls -- during the hot summer daytimes. On selected evenings
additional 'midnight serenade' concerts play through into the early hours.
If you're in Dubrovnik for the music, some interesting
manuscripts on display in the treasury of the Franciscan Monastery include
a fragment of a missal, showing neumes without a stave, dating
from the tenth or eleventh century, and a lectionary
with neumes on one stave, from the eleventh or twelfth century, both on
Dubrovnik's largely medieval walled old town, as seen from the island of Lokrum. Photo © 2003 Keith Bramich
A concert on 23 July 2003 by the Slovene Octet (Slovenski oktet), male singers
from neighbouring Slovenia, was clearly deeply appreciated by the
Dubrovnik audience, not just for the group's cohesive and beautiful singing or
for its fascinating selection of music, but because of the still-strong ties
between two countries which remain very friendly and still
share much culture after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
(Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence on the same day -- 26 June 1991.
Slovenia won its independence quickly, but Croatia had no choice but to
fight on until the beginning of 1993.)
The octet, sounding something like a Russian or Ukrainian male voice group,
but with a creamier but less bass-centric sound, is a reincarnation of an earlier
group of the same name, founded in 1951 to raise the standard of
Slovenian song and to perform it to Slovenian emmigrants in the USA.
Copyright © 31 July 2003
Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK