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Pejacevic’s individual voice

Donald Macleod surveys the development of Pejacevic’s individual voice

Donald Macleod surveys the development of Pejacevic’s individual voice

In Composer of the Week, Donald Macleod introduces a first for the series in its history of over seventy years, the Croatian Countess Dora Pejacevic. The life of Pejacevic has been fictionalised into film, and also told in a romanticised biography. In this week of programmes, Donald is joined by Professor Koraljka Koss and Professor Iskra Iveljic, to explore the known facts about the life and music of this Countess and her family. Although Pejacevic was born into one of the most influential aristocratic families in Croatia, she became rather critical of her own class in later life. Through her position she did have the opportunity to study in Germany with noted music teachers of the day, and met and collaborated with some of the literary giants of the early twentieth century. Upon her death at the age of only 37, she left a catalogue of over one hundred compositions displaying a unique voice now largely forgotten.

The musical gifts of Dora Pejacevic were recognised early on and encouraged by her mother, Baroness Lilli Vay de Vaya, who was herself a trained singer and pianist. Pejacevic's early works show the influence of Schumann, Mendelssohn, Grieg and Tchaikovsky. Around 1903 when the family moved to Zagreb, Dora started to receive tuition from professors at the Croatian Music Institute. Then from 1907 she made repeated trips to Munich and Dresden where she had lessons with Henri Petri and Percy Sherwood. It was during this time that Pejacevic was also performing chamber music with fellow students and professors in Germany. With such musical stimulus, her music began to change and develop its own unique voice. Her Fantasiestucke Op 17 is considered to be from her middle period, whereas the String Quartet Dora composed the year before she died, not only demonstrates her truly individual voice, but also foreshadowed her own death.

Warum? Op 13
Ingeborg Danz, alto
Cord Garben, piano

Berceuse, Op 2
Papillon, Op 6
Natasa Velijkovic, piano

Sechs Fantasiestucke, Op 17 No 4 (Klage)
Sechs Fantasiestucke, Op 17 No 5 (Bitte)
Sechs Fantasiestucke, Op 17 No 6 (Wahn)
Natasa Velijkovic, piano

String Quartet in C major, Op 58
Quatuor Sine Nomine

Produced by Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Dora Pejačević

    Warum? Op 13

    Performer: Cord Garben. Singer: Ingeborg Danz.
    • CPO 7774222.
    • CPO.
    • 2.
  • Dora Pejačević

    Berceuse, Op 2

    Performer: Natasa Velijkovic.
    • CPO 5550032.
    • CPO.
    • 19.
  • Dora Pejačević

    Papillon, Op 6

    Performer: Natasa Velijkovic.
    • CPO 55500032.
    • CPO.
    • 22.
  • Dora Pejačević

    6 Fantasy Pieces for piano, Op 17

    Performer: Natasa Velijkovic.
    • CPO 55500032.
    • CPO.
    • 12.
  • Dora Pejačević

    String Quartet in C major, Op 58

    Ensemble: Quatuor Sine Nomine.
    • CPO 7774212.
    • CPO.
    • 1.

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