26/08/2022 Juliana Széchenyi

Slovenian Youth Orchestra with the Krajnčan family received with a standing ovation at the end

Concert Slovenian Youth Orchestra with members of the Krajnčan family last night at the Summer Theatre in Križanke with the conductor Živo Ploj Peršuh confirmed that the decision to create such an orchestra of young people aged between 12 and 22, who are preparing to enter a professional career in music, whether as teachers or in other fields of study, at different levels and in different forms of education, was the right one. It is definitely the right path, a good one, and it has proved to be a very successful and well-received concert, although there could have been more spectators, but at the same time there were several mass concerts in Ljubljana as part of the Nights in Old Ljubljana festival, which started yesterday.

Živa Ploj Peršuh in its concept of designing each year's programmes, has set itself the task of presenting Slovenian musical culture in all its diversity and interweaving of different musical genres in different ways, as it did last year with the musical programme featuring a selection of songs by the Katalena group, arranged by Matija Krečič. This year, she invited the Krajnčan musical family, consisting of the composer, arranger and conductor Lojze Krajnčan, the singer, his wife Romana Krajnčan, their sons Kristijan Krajnčan, who performed as cellist and drummer, and Žigan Krajnčan, vocalist and dancer. Sorry Živa Ploj Peršuh did not invite Lojze Krajnčan to conduct any of the pieces, so that we could see him live in his conducting mission.

In this context, the concert programme has been crafted with a particular sophistication and variety or definability of content that could not be replicated unless they themselves were touring somewhere else, where it would be possible and enjoyable.

In the biography of the conductor Live Ploj Peršuh I read, among other things, that many of her projects are aimed at raising the profile of Slovenia, as well as the participation of young people from all over the world in Slovenia. She collaborates with world-famous soloists and many foreign institutions within the project EU Music up close network: the Accademia Nazionale Santa Cecilia in Rome, national orchestras from Lille, Amsterdam, Barcelona, the Belgrade and Sarajevo Philharmonics, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Ljubljana Festival and others. She believes that it is important to pass on artistic knowledge and skills to young people, especially in the field of classical music of all periods and genres, and therefore gathers around her the most capable and renowned musicians from Slovenia and all over the world and brings them to Ljubljana.

In addition to peers, the family environment also has a significant influence on personal development; a quick glance at the biographies of top musicians, both deceased and living, paints a clear picture: most of them were in one way or another in a family environment in daily contact with music. One such family in which music permeates their everyday life is the aforementioned family of four artists with well-known names who sign their names with the surname Krajnčan.

Live Ploj Peršuh began her concert with a selection from Gustav Holst's Suite Planets Op. 32. We heard a more jazzy Jupiter as the bringer of joy, and a more subdued, almost sad Saturn as the bringer of old age. This contrast reminded us that the circle of life is great, even if young musicians are not aware of it in their experiential immediacy. Already here the conductor showed a great sense of programme selection, because her orchestra could also make a fine showing. It sounded well-rehearsed, clean, but I would have the comment that throughout the evening one could hear that the instruments in the background were under-voiced and sounded too modest.

The first of the Krajnčan family was the vocalist or singer Romana Krajnčan, who performed four songs, first highlighting the songwriting of Brina Štampa Žmavec ( I miss, I lack ), Feri Lainsček ( Love ), Branko Rudolf ( The Huda ant ) and again Feri Lainsček ( I was happy today ).

Romana Krajnčan is a star in many children's hearts and has been involved in music since she was young. She has worked with the ensembles Sibila, 12. nadstropje, Kranjski Dixiland Band and RŽ. In 1989, she recorded her first children's cassette Romana in Bolhobend, which was followed by 12 more cassettes and CDs, five musicals and a music and dance performance. She has published the books Murenčki and Šola za clovne / School for Clowns and the volume Sing with Me for children's and youth choirs. For five years she was the editor of the music pages in the Ciciban magazine and for ten years she hosted the children's programme Na carousel with Romana on Radio Kranj. She has worked with various renowned Slovenian poets (Tone Pavček, Andrej Rozman Roza, Feri Lainšček), a number of excellent musicians and various choirs. She has also recorded three albums of original chansons: Something is in the Air (2004), The Smell of Love (2008) and Missing, Missing (2011). (From the biography in the programme).

The singer is a real interpreter of the songs, both vocally and experientially, in different ways, in keeping with the content of the song; apart from the old one, Huda antlice, perhaps the most interesting one was Lainščka's Bila jsem happčna , which sounded like a gypsy chanson. In general, her singing combines different components or fusions of genres, but not in such a way that one is dominant. The music, apart from Marjan Vodopivec's The Serpent's Ant, was composed by Lojze Krajnčan, who also arranged the orchestral accompaniment.

Lojze Krajnčan's Tango was performed by cellist Kristijan Krajnčan , who provided a strong cadenza and then joined the orchestra in accentuating the Latino rhythms, although it would seem that the tango melody itself was not so strong or dance-like, but it was undulating and with certain crescendos and songfulness. Here the father as composer and the son as soloist were well matched, of course with the accompaniment of the orchestra.

The interpretation or setting of the well-known White Crown folk song Zeleni Jurij, arranged by Lojze Krajnčan and featuring cellist Kristijan Krajnčan as soloist, was also very special. He offered some new solo approaches, first with a long solo passage, but not in a way that would not show, at least passively or motivically, the familiar melody, but not very close to folklore.

Kristijan Krajnčan (1986), after finishing high school (cello and percussion) in the Netherlands, graduated in jazz drums from the Price Claus Conservatory and received his Master's degree in film music from the Amsterdam Conservatory. He has collaborated on 25 CDs and performed in more than 25 countries in Europe, USA, Asia, Indonesia, Africa and the Middle East. As a film music composer, he has signed three feature films and nine short films. He has received numerous awards in all fields of his work, including the first Jazzon Prize for the best Slovenian jazz composition (2006), the first prize for the best screenplay at the Arab Film Festival (Rotterdam, 2016), the first prize at Temsig (1997 and 2003), and his debut album Kristijan Krajnčan Ensemble was released by Edict Records in 2012: Siberian Bear. He is the founder, director, drummer and composer of Hidden Myth, an interdisciplinary project premiered at the Ljubljana Jazz Festival (2015), in which several international artists combine music, dance and dance into a single story,

In the Requiem by Kristijan Krajnčan, arranged by his father Lojze Krajnčan, the composer himself once again performed in his own special style. The piece has a long solo cello introduction, so that at first it seems as if the orchestra will not play this time, but it does come into its own when the soloist takes on the role of a confessor of sorrow, with a weeping vocal, like a frula, and in general like a Balkan mourner (in the face of a former war with enormous casualties). There are more alternations between the solo cello and the orchestra in the sequel, with some dialogue offered by the timpani.

Žigan Krajnčan (1995) is a dancer, performer and singer. He started his creative career at a very early age, playing the violin and trombone in primary school, singing in choirs, and being active as an actor and dancer. His movement expression is a fusion of dance techniques such as popping, hip hop, ballet, release, Cunningham, krump, house, contact improvisation, moshing/slamdancing and yoga, which he is constantly refining and expanding, exploring new possibilities. He has collaborated with many choreographers and other artists such as Matija Ferlin, Maja Delak, Gregor Luštek With his brother Kristijan Krajnčan he co-created the Hidden Myth project. He has directed several performances, choreographed more than ten theatre, contemporary and urban dance works, participated as a dancer/movement artist in several international productions and taught hip hop, popping and contact communication. In recent years, he has been working on an exciting fusion of dance, singing and beatboxing. He choreographs his own performances, writes his own songs and directs them himself. He appeals to his target audience to be creative, to explore and, above all, he wants to encourage parents to understand and encourage their children's desire to be creative (From the programme by Aleksandra Gartnar Kastelic).

Žigan Krajnčan offered a very special, one might even say unique, dance and vocal interpretation of one movement - the Allegro - from Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G major, BWV 1048. We were introduced to Bach decades ago in a jazz vocal interpretation by Les Swingle Singers, and it seemed at the time that Bach could in fact be a contemporary dance author or composer. Zigan proved this, and what's more, he introduced or demonstrated a unique vocal technique, so that his performance was something experientially, vocally and movementally quite unique and therefore fascinating.

But this was only the beginning, as he continued his performance with his own composition in Lojze Krajnčan's arrangement Oma Desala , where Žigan proved his singing to be a kind of vocal exoticism, not based on any song structures, but on vocals, syllables, a single unrecognisable word, until we get to some kind of para-stops with no content. In this sense, the orchestral accompaniment was also special.

In the composition Sunlight reggae, also by Žigan Krajnčan and arranged by Lojze Krajnčan, the vocalist was joined by his brother Kristijan Krajnčan. As you could hear or see from afar, he played the conga drums. The gypsy sang again, but there seemed to be more textual articulation, albeit in an artificial language, and it is an open question whether it is a language at all.

The last piece on the concert was Danzon No.2 by the contemporary Mexican composer Arturo Marquez Navarro (1950). The work is written in several parts, but Latin American rhythms and melos come to the fore, with quite a few soloist contributions, such as trumpet, oboe, flute, trombones, tuba, less saxophones, a weak piano or both harps....

It is a pity that the conductor did not check the sound system from the auditorium before the concert, or that the supposed sound experts should have heard it beforehand, which it turns out time and again that we do not have.

The conductor's rehearsal of the programme was exemplary, the orchestra did its best to play cleanly, and what surprised me most were the two brothers, who took full advantage of the opportunity for wider affirmation in the programmes of the 70th Ljubljana Festival. I missed a little the addition of the presently-absent Lojze Krajnčan at the conductor's podium, playing or conducting a piece from his extensive repertoire. Here it seemed to me Živa Ploj Peršuh slightly egotistical.

The audience, which did not fill the Summer Theatre in Križanke as it did for the new musical The Water Man and even earlier for the film music, repeatedly accompanied the performers with chanting applause, and at the end with an ovation.