Music of Slovenia


Music of Slovenia
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The music of Slovenia is closely related to Austrian and Northern Italian music because of its common history and Alpine and littoral culture, and in some southern regions to Croatian (especially Istrian). In the minds of many foreigners, Slovenian folk music means a form of polka that is still popular today, especially among expatriates and their descendants in North America. However, there are many styles of Slovenian folk music beyond polka, and waltz. Lender, štajeriš, mafrine and šaltin are a few of the traditional music styles and dances.

Contents

Prehistory

The Divje Babe flute, an artifact found in a cave near Cerkno, Slovenia, is possibly the oldest known musical instrument ever. Its age is estimated at approximately 55,000 years.

The history of modern Slovenian music can be traced back to the 5th century, when Christianity spread in Carantania. Liturgical hymns (kyrie eleison) were introduced, and became the first plainchant to make a connection to the peoples' language.

Classical music

During the medieval era, secular music was as popular as church music, including wandering minnesingers. By the time of Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, music was used to proselytize. The first Slovenian hymnal, Eni Psalmi, was published in 1567. This period saw the rise of musicians like Jacobus Gallus and Jurij Slatkonja.

[1]

Italy was an important musical influence of the period, especially in sacred music, such as that of Antonio Tarsia (composer) of Koper, in oratorio and opera. A commedia was performed in Ljubljana in 1660, and an opera in 1700 in the family palace of the Auerspergs. In 1701, Johann Berthold von Höffer (1667-1718), a nobleman and amateur composer from Ljubljana, founded the Academia Philharmonicorum Labacensis based on Italian models.[2] and the Ljubljana branch of the Roman Academy of Arcadia was founded a few years later in 1709. Apart from Höffer the Cathedral provost Mihael Omerza was also noted for his oratorios. The first major Slovenian opera was performed in 1732, Il Tamerlano by Giuseppe Clemente Bonomi, maestro di capella, in the palace of the Carniolan vice-regent, the duke Francesco Antonio Sigifrid della Torre e Valassina.[3]

As the economic depression hit the country in the last half of the 18th century, music declined in popularity[citation needed]. Beginning in 1768, German theatre companies arrived and became very popular. The 1794 formation of the Philharmonische Gesellschaft was important because it was one of the first such orchestras in Central Europe. The 19th century saw the growth of a distinctively Slovenian classical music sound based on romanticism, while the German minority continued to push for a stronger Germanic identity. The Ljubljana opera house (1892) was shared by Slovene and German opera companies.

Composers of Slovenian Lieder and art songs include Emil Adamič (1877-1936), Fran Gerbič (1840-1917), Alojz Geržinič (1915-2008), Benjamin Ipavec (1829-1908), Daverin Jenko (1835-1914), Anton Lajovic (1878-1960) , Kamilo Mašek (1831-1859), Josip Pavčič (1870-1949), Zorko Prelovec (1887-1939), and Lucijan Marija Škerjanc (1900-1973).

In the early 20th century, impressionism was spreading across Slovenia, which soon produced composers Marij Kogoj and Slavko Osterc.

Avant-garde classical music arose in Slovenia in the 1960s, largely due to the work of Uroš Krek, Dane Škerl, Primož Ramovš and Ivo Petrić, who also conducted the Slavko Osterc Ensemble. Jakob Jež, Darijan Božič, Lojze Lebič and Vinko Globokar have since composed enduring works, especially Globokar's L'Armonia, an opera.

Modern composers include Uroš Rojko, Tomaž Svete, Brina Jež-Brezavšček and Aldo Kumar. Kumar's Sonata z igro 12 (A sonata with a play 12), a set of variations on a rising chromatic scale, is particularly notable.

Folk music

Traditional Slovenian music include various kinds of musical instruments such as:


Typical Slovenian folk music is performed on Styrian harmonica (the oldest type of accordion), fiddle, clarinet, zithers, flute, and by brass bands of alpine type. In eastern Slovenia, fiddle and cimbalon bands are called velike goslarije. Rural harmony singing is a deep rooted tradition in Slovenia, and is at least three-part singing (four voices), while in some regions even up to eight-part singing (nine voices). Slovenian folk songs, thus, usually resounds soft and harmonious, and are very seldom in minor. Folk music revivalists include Volk Volk, Kurja Koža, Marko Banda, Katice, Bogdana Herman, Ljoba Jenče, Vruja, Trinajsto praše, Šavrinske pupe en ragacone, Musicante Istriani, and Tolovaj Mataj.

Slavko Avsenik is one of the most influential polka and waltz musicians in Slovenia and the world[citation needed]. Oberkrainer music, which the Avsenik Ensemble popularized, is always a strong candidate for country (folk) music awards in Slovenia and Austria. Slavko and his brother, Vilko, are usually credited as the pioneers of Slovenian folk music, having solidified its style in the 1950s.

Popular music

Contemporary music

Two of the most famous[citation needed] modern Slovenian bands are Laibach, an early 1980s industrial music group, and Siddharta.

Other popular bands, largely unknown outside the country, include Silence, Elvis Jackson (ska punk), Lačni Franz, Bohem, Puppetz (Indie), Tabu, Društvo Mrtvih Pesnikov (pop-rock), Naio Ssaion (Gothic metal), Terrafolk, Leaf Fat (screamo), Avven, Perpetuum Jazzile, Carpe Diem, Šank Rock, Big Foot Mama, Yogurt, Adam, Levitan, Dan D, Time to time, Flirrt, Zablujena generacija, Slon in Sadež, Katalena, Rock Partyzani, Shyam, Eroika, Hic et Nunc, Devil Doll (experimental rock), Chateau, Posodi mi jürja, Rok'n'band, Čuki, Juliette Justine, Zaklonišče Prepeva, Psycho-Path, Dekadent (black metal) and Buldožer (progressive rock). Other notable singers and chansonniers include Adi Smolar, Iztok Mlakar, Eva Sršen, Vlado Kreslin, Neca Falk, Zoran Predin, Peter Lovšin and Magnifico.

Ljubljana-born Bratko Bibič's former band Begnagrad was a very influential[citation needed] 1970s group that are considered one of the direct influences on modern world music. Bibič's unique accordion style, often solo, with no accompaniment, has also made him a solo star.

In the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia was the center for punk rock. The most famous representatives of this genre were Pankrti, Niet, Lublanski Psi, Čao Pičke, Via Ofenziva, Tožibabe, and Otroci Socializma.

Slovenia has also produced two renowned DJs: DJ Umek and Valentino Kanzyani. Specialising in a frantic brand of party techno and tech-house, the pair co-founded the label Recycled Loops as well as having many popular[citation needed] releases on labels such as Novamute, Primate, Intec and Bassethound Records.

Neue Slowenische Kunst

Neue Slowenische Kunst (a German phrase meaning "New Slovenian Art"), aka NSK, is a controversial political art collective that announced itself in Slovenia in 1984, when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia. NSK's name, being German, is compatible with a theme in NSK works: the complicated relationship Slovenes have had with Germans. The name of NSK's music wing, Laibach, is also the German name of the Slovene capital Ljubljana, creating controversy through evoking memories of the Nazi occupation of Slovenia during the Second World War.[4]

Composition

Laibach performing at wRacku Festiwal 2010

NSK's best-known member is the musical group Laibach. Other NSK member groups include IRWIN (visual art), Noordung (theater; originally named Scipion Našice Sisters Theater, also known as Red Pilot), New Collective Studio (graphics; also known as New Collectivism), Retrovision (film and video), and the Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy (theory).[5][6][7] The founding groups of the NSK were Laibach, IRWIN, and Scipion Našice Sisters Theater.

Characteristics

NSK art often draws on symbols drawn from totalitarian or extreme nationalist movements, often reappropriating totalitarian kitsch in a visual style reminiscent of Dada. NSK artists often juxtapose symbols from different (and often incompatible) political ideologies. For example, a 1987 NSK-designed poster caused a scandal by winning a competition for the Yugoslavian Youth Day Celebration. The poster appropriated a painting by Nazi artist Richard Klein, replacing the flag of Nazi Germany with the Yugoslav flag and the German eagle with a dove.[6]

Both IRWIN and Laibach are emphatic about their work being collective rather than individual. Laibach's original songs and arrangements are always credited to the group collectively; the individual artists are not named on their album covers; at one point, there were even two separate Laibach groups touring at the same time, both with members of the original group. Similarly, the IRWIN artists never sign their work individually; instead, they are "signed" with a stamp or certificate indicating approval as a work from the IRWIN collective.

The NSK were the subject of a 1996 documentary film written and directed by Michael Benson, entitled Prerokbe Ognja in Slovenian, or Predictions of Fire in English.[8] Among those interviewed in the film is Slovenian intellectual Slavoj Žižek.

NSK State

Since 1991, NSK has claimed to constitute a state,[9] a claim similar to that of micronations. They issue passports,[10] have presented shows of their work in the guise of an embassy or even as a territory of their supposed state, and maintain consulates in several cities including Umag, Croatia.[11] NSK have also issued postage stamps. Laibach, in 2006, recorded (some may say 'remixed') the NSK State National Anthem on the LP "Volk." The "anthem" adopts its melody from another Laibach song, "The Great Seal." Laibach's version of the NSK anthem includes a computer voice reciting an excerpt from Winston Churchill's famous "We shall fight them on the beaches/We shall never surrender" speech. The computer voice is clearly recognisable as the voice synthesiser Macintalk, built into Mac OS, and uses the preset voice Ralph.

The NSK passports are an art project and as such are not valid for travel. However, many desperate people have fallen for a scam in which they are issued a NSK passport. Most of these scams originate in Nigeria and Egypt.[12]

Laibach

Laibach [ˈlaɪbax] is a Slovenian avant-garde music group strongly associated with industrial, martial, and neo-classical musical styles. Laibach formed June 1, 1980 in Trbovlje, Slovenia (then Yugoslavia). Laibach represents the music wing of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) art collective, of which it was a founding member in 1984. The name "Laibach" is the German name for Slovenia's capital city, Ljubljana.

See also

References

  • Burton, Kim. "The Sound of Austro-Slavs". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 277–278. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
  1. ^ Oto Luthar The land between: a history of Slovenia
  2. ^ George J. Buelow A history of baroque music 2004 p701
  3. ^ Vlado Kotnik Opera, power and ideology: anthropological study of a national art 2010
  4. ^ Monroe, Alexei. Interrogation Machine. MIT Press, 2005. p 3.
  5. ^ Anonymous. "State of Art: the new Slovene Avant Garde" (2004). Northwest Film Forum and Scala House, program for exhibit November 18–November 24, 2004 at Northwest Film Forum, Seattle.
  6. ^ a b Regina Hackett. "Slovenian art collective is adept at working politics and art". Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 19, 2004.
  7. ^ "Laibach". Laibach.nsk.si. http://www.laibach.nsk.si/l7.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  8. ^ Holden, Steven. "Facing the Menace of Totalitarianism". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06E0DA1F3CF931A35753C1A960958260. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  9. ^ "[ NSKSTATE.COM [ The Slovenia of Athens ]"]. Nskstate.com. Archived from the original on 2008-03-09. http://web.archive.org/web/20080309181738/http://www.nskstate.com/state/state.php. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  10. ^ "[ NSKSTATE.COM [ HOW TO GET A PASSPORT ]"]. Nnskstate.com. Archived from the original on 2008-04-06. http://web.archive.org/web/20080406034031/http://www.nskstate.com/state/getapassport.php. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  11. ^ "[ NSKSTATE.COM "]. Nskstate.com. Archived from the original on 2008-04-06. http://web.archive.org/web/20080406105154/http://www.nskstate.com/state/events/embassies.php. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  12. ^ "[ NSK Passport "]. DHC 2008. http://www.gla.ac.uk/~dc4w/laibach/nskpassport2008.html. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 

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