Capella Cracoviensis – world premiere of Dora Pejačević’s Piano Quintet on historical instruments!


Piano Quintet in B minor, op. 40 by Dora Pejačević, the most important Croatian female composer, whose greatness is increasingly recognized by the world music scene, was performed on Sunday, January 22, 2023, in the Great Hall of the Juliusz Słowacki Theater in Krakow by members of the top Polish chamber ensemble Capella Cracoviensis.

The composition from the publishing catalog of the Music Information Center, as part of the Days of Chamber Music 5×5 (Dni muzyki kameralnej 5×5), lasting from January 10 to 22, 2023, was performed for the first time in contemporary musical practice on historical instruments by Sulamita Ślubowska and Seojin Kim, violins, Jacek Dumanowski, viola, Monika Hartmann, cello and Wioletta Fluda Tkaczyk, piano. Dora’s Piano Quintet was preceded by a performance of one of the most esteemed works of chamber music of the second half of the 19th century, Piano Quintet in G minor, op. 34, by the Ukrainian composer Juliusz Zarębski. It is the last work from his opus, created in 1885, when the young composer left this world too soon at the age of 31. In the same year, Dora Pejačević was born, who very quickly “started to compose and develop primarily thanks to personal contact with greats such as Reiner Maria Rilke and the pianist Alice Ripper”, it is stated in the program booklet with an emphasis on the exceptional education of the young composer influenced by Dostoevsky and Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and Mann. The organizers add: “The Piano Quintet of Dora Pejačević is a work that has not been performed in Poland until now; it is performed on historical instruments, which is a world premiere. The composer’s work can be described as late romantic, and it combines melodic invention and increasingly daring harmonic combinations; represents the transition between the music of the 19th century and the new types of the 20th century. Her Symphony in F sharp minor is one of the first examples of contemporary Croatian symphonic music; the performance of her work in the Vienna Musikverein was, to say the least, a big surprise: a woman composer on stage?!”

Days of chamber music 5×5 and Capella Cracoviensis have successfully fulfilled their final task of presenting the development of the quintet from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century, in different instrumental compositions: piano quintet, violin quintet, quintet with continuo and as a solo concert. In addition to well-known and respected composers, unfairly neglected composers also appear, so a “special event”, according to the organizers, is precisely the first performance of the Quintet in B minor, Op. 40 by Dora Pejačević in front of the packed Great Hall of the Juliusz Słowacki Theater in Krakow.

Jelena Vuković


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