This programme of music showcases the Zagreb Soloists’ wide-ranging repertoire, extending from the Baroque to the twentieth century. On their travels they saw themselves as cultural ambassadors of Yugoslavia, later Croatia and they ensured that the majority of their concerts featured at least one work by a Croatian composer. The country is represented here by Milko Kelemen, a name new to me, but he was closely associated with the ensemble. His brief four movement Concertante Improvisations gives plenty of scope for them to shine. The first movement has echoes of Bartók’s night music, and is reminiscent of his Divertimento for String Orchestra.
Pizzicato features prominently in the third movement Allegro scherzando, whilst the finale is, once again, of a Bartókian persuasion. In Reger’s Lyric Andante, on the other hand, the players luxuriate in the music’s lyricism. Their fervent expression and rich, velvety tone, makes this a performance to relish. There’s some superb playing from the unnamed solo violist in Hindemith’s Trauermusik. The performance projects the deep sorrow and grief of this poignant score.
In Vivaldi’s Concerto in D major, Janigro takes centre-stage as cello soloist in a transcription of this violin concerto, probably made by Janigro himself, though not stated as such. He transcribed several Vivaldi concertos for his instrument, so it is a treat to have one example. His rich, warm tone and spotless intonation lend graceful simplicity to this well managed account. Added to this, an ideal balance has been struck between soloist and orchestra. The Corelli Concerto grosso, Op. 6/4 is notable for its subtlety and finesse.
MusicWeb International, February 2016