Friday, July 23, 2010

Audio Restoration prepared a recording of Nikola Petrovic, “My heart is a Violin”

Nikola Petrovic was born in 1918 in Osijek, Yugoslavia. He gave his first public concert at the age of seven. After studying on a state bursary, he pursued a career which has included posts as leader of the Belgrade Opera Orchestra, The Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra, The Suisse Romande and The National Symphony Orchestra of the SABC. A superb soloist, he has pursued a parallel career in light music, performing in the music halls of Copenhagen as a Star soloist, and as a featured artists in the famous “Champs-Elysees” spectacular. Here a selection of his favourite “Lollipops” is accompanied (variously) by Francois du Toit and Melanie Horne (Piano).

"My heart is a violin" was appropriately placed as the first item in this selection of favourite violin music. In such hands the violin is assuredly close to the heart. Delicate and wistful, a slight tendency to treat the theme rhythmically, followed closely by dialogue between violin and piano brings the main tune back to a satisfying close.

"Danube Waves", known to countless budding pianists of yesteryear under its German title “Donauwellen”, by Ivanovici came to light in the early fifties as a vocal number “The Anniversary Song”. It’s a poignant tune contrasting with a more animated section before returning to a close.

In "Sleepy Shores" the melodic lines in the violin part are carried over a firm backing by the accompanying piano part.

In "Dark Eyes", the G string,  from the lower range of the violin, is made to sing out this somber tune full of pathos and yearning. A short pizzicato section presents itself before violin and piano plunge into a lively two four section of the real gipsy stuff.

"Memory" (from CATS) has a lovely, warm melody. Nikola handles it with exquisite good taste. The well-controlled emotional style does ample justice to the excellent tune.

"Nocturne (op. 9 No. 2)" from the standard repertoire of any pianist worthy of the name, this transcription for violin and piano loses nothing and presents the piece in an entirely new guise. The violin cadenza which brings the piece to a close is of special interest.

In "Sole Mio", often heard in its vocal version, the violin opens in true Grapelli style.  Completely divorced from the regular beat,  Nikola drifts casually into tango rhythm.  For the reprise the piano takes the lead, with violin responding in lightly articulated fashion.

"Schön Rosmarin" is possibly the most loved of Fritz Kreisler’s pieces for the medium, his “Liebesfreud” and “Liebesleid” notwithstanding. It sparkles like champagne and Nikola gives it a well controlled, conventional rendering.

The above recording was done by Clive Gaunt and Des Scheepers, and it was Recorded at P1,  Cape Town in 1987. The Producer was Dave Williams.

- Maryna Barnard, SABC Audio Restoration

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