Approaches to Ancient Greek Mythology in Contemporary Serbian Music: Ideological Contexts
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In contemporary Serbian music the opuses of two composers, Vlastimir Trajković (1947) and Aleksandra-Anja Đorđević (1970), stand out as marked by their interest in themes from ancient Greek mythology. It is quite possible that Trajković, as Đorđević’s professor of composition at the Belgrade Faculty of Music, instilled his great admiration for ancient Greek culture into the mind of his talented student. This paper will be focused on the different approaches to those themes in the works of those two composers, which could be seen as resulting not only from their different artistic personalities, but also from their different age and the changes music has undergone in the recent times. Among the most important achievements of Trajković could be counted two works without vocal parts: Arion, le nuove musiche (Arion, The New Music), Op. 8, for guitar and strings (1979), and Le Retour des Zéphyres… ou ‘Zefiro torna…’: Trois tableaux vivants de scènes mythologiques (Zephyrus Returns… or ‘Zefi...ro torna…’: Three Live Images of Mythological Scenes), for flute, viola and piano (2003). They clearly demonstrate the composer’s strong inclination to the cultural heritage of ancient Greece as a whole, which he regards as an everlasting inspiration for renewal in the arts and music. It is important to add that Trajković feels that in modern music this valuable heritage has been interpreted in most imaginative ways in the works of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, to whom the second and third movement of Zephyrus Returns are dedicated. As expected, his own music has marked neo-impressionistic traits. On the other hand, Anja Đorđević regards ancient Greek mythology as a rich well for universalising her critical views on the relations among individuals in the (post)modern society. In her chamber opera Narcissus and Echo (2002) and stage cantata Atlas (2008), both composed on original libretti, she deals with the issues of narcissism, fate, rebellion and freedom. Especially in the opera, she displays a postmodernist sensibility, a high sense of irony and parody, and leans heavily on pop music.
Keywords:Serbian music / Vlastimir Trajković / Aleksandra-Anja Đorđević / themes from ancient Greek mythology
Source:Revisiting the Past, Recasting the Present: The Reception of Greek Antiquity in Music, 19th Century to the Present, 2013, 303-317
- Athens : Hellenic Music Centre
- Serbian musical identities within local and global frameworks: traditions, changes, challenges (RS-177004)
- Conference proceeding: Athens, 1‒3 July 2011.
ISBN: 978‐618‐80006‐1‐2[ Google Scholar ]