Music and Vision homepage



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 parchment.

Dubrovnik's largely medieval walled old town, as seen from the island of Lokrum. Photo © 2003 Keith Bramich
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.

Continue >>

Copyright © 31 July 2003 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK


 << M&V home       Ensemble home        Iolanthe >>