Program Notes

Works comments in English and Deutsch by the composer

Enclosed are many comments that may be used for he concert programmes. Almost all are in English but a few are also written in German. Compositions are listed by the opus number. The Works without opus number (o.op. = ohne opus/without opus) are placed approximately in a chronological order by the year when they have been composed.

op. 1 THEMA UND VARIATION für Klavier (1978/79) (No comments...)

op. 2 SÜDSLAWENIEN, zwei Sätze für Orchester (1980/81) 8' (withdrawn / zurückgezogen)

o.op. MACEDONIA für Marimba und Klavier (1980) 2'
Publisher: S4M
Recording: CD "Uneven Souls"

op. 3 DIVERTIMENTO (1981) 11' für 2 Trb., Tuba, Marim., 4 Timpani
Premiered: 4.2.1982 Mannheim

o.op. ANBA, Tanz der kleinen schwarzen Hexe/ The Dance of the small black wich (1981) 3'
für Marimba, Xyloph. und Klavier
Premiered: 20.10. 1990 Kornwestheim
Publisher: EME
Recording: CD: "Uneven Souls"

op. 4 BLÄSERQUINTETT (1983) 13' für Fl., Ob., Cl., Cor., Fgt.
Premiered: 21.11.1983 Heidelberg
Recording: JRT- Radio Novi Sad

op. 5 DREI PHANTASTISCHE LIEDER (1983) 6:40 für Solo Marimba
Premiered: 19.10.1983
Publisher: S4M
These are three concert pieces ranging between the romantic and the dodecaphonie. Hermann Schaefer wrote in 1984:"... On the basis of pregnantly formulated motifs and themes, rhapsodic forms develop wherein almost improvised parts are linked with one another through distinct analogy. The wealth of tension and the strong tonal attraction of theses pieces arise through the counterpoint of the tonal and the atonal, the use of free metrics, impulsive and surprising melodic movements, and the skilful use of the various technical possibilities of the marimba".

op. 6 AMSELFELDER KLAGE (1984) 12' für Fl., Fgt., Cor., Percuss., Marimba.
Premiered: 15.1.1986 Mannheim
Recording: JRT Radio Novi Sad

op. 7 ATOMIC GAMES (1984) 11' für Klavier solo
Premiered: 12.9.1984 Novi Sad,Yugoslavia
Recording: JRT Radio Novi sad

Premiered: 29.8.1986
Publisher: Ed. Musica Europea
Recording: NDR Hannover, JRT Novi Sad

o.op. URKLANG (1984) 11'
Musik natürlicher Klänge für vier Percussionisten, auch Tonband -Version

op. 9. 1 MUSICA per violoncello solo (1985) 7'
Premiered: 29.1.1987 Stuttgart
Publisher: EME

Recording: SWR Stuttgart

op. 9. 2 MUSICA per violino solo (1986/87) 7'
Premiered: 28.1.1988 Stuttgart
Publisher: EME

op. 9. 3 MUSICA per contrabbasso solo (1988) 7'
Premierei:12.5.1991 Freiburg in Br.
Publisher: EME

o.op. VALSE SERBE (1985) 3:30
Two versions: a: Marimba & Piano b: Klarinette & Piano
Premiere: b: 15.1.1986 Mannheim
Premiere: a: 10.5.1987 Kornwestheim

Publisher: EME
Recording: CD "Uneven souls" (vers. a)
Ein spritzig kurzweiliger Walzer der jedoch fast vollständig auf den ¾ Takt verzichtet. Das Stück ist ein Dialog, nicht ganz ohne Meinungsverschiedenheiten, zwischen einen balkanischen Marimbisten (Klarinettist in der Erstfassung) und einem "Wiener Pianisten" der seinen Walzer nicht durch allerlei schräge Takten und Rhythmen "verunreinigt" sehen will. Nach 2/4 takt, einem mißlungenem virtuosem Lauf in der Marimba, denkt der Slawe an der Marimba, die "Vorgezogene Zwei" sei eigentlich ein 7/8 Takt mit dr Teilung 2-3-2. Nach allerlei virtuosem Tohuwabohu intoniert der Pianist genervt gegen Ende endlich in seinem ¾ takt, sogar ein wenig von der "Blauen Donau" bevor er dann genervt aufgibt.

o.op. CADENZA für 5 Timpani (1986) 3'
Premiered: 16.2.1993 München
Publisher: S4M

op. 10 IN ERINNERUNGEN SCHWEBEND / In The Memories Floating (1986) 11'
für drei Flöten und Vibraphon

Premiered: 29.1.1987 Stuttgart
Publisher: EME Recording: SWR Stuttgart,

Recording: CD: "Uneven Souls"
This work begins with the "pieces" of melodies in flutes and vibraphone as putting "the pieces of memories together". Raither melancholic music, changes with the hovering vibraphone. Slowly the interwoven flutes work themselves up into a turbulent rage. The upset "conversation" of the flutes is interrupted by a stroke of ?????. The music becomes softer with vibraphone The whole atmosphere of the composition is a real "floating" of the sounds. The ending is silenced with whiplash like a slow "music-forgetting" of memories... The fact that the composition is not tonal in the classical sense of meaning doesn’t make it too "modern and rough" in sound.

op. 11 TENSIO (1986) 7:30 für Marimba solo
Premiered: 14.12.1987 Stuttgart
Publisher: EME

Tensio as its title suggests, came about with the clash of two opposites, a tension which reaching an unbearable climax, explodes in a lighting "short circuit". The opposites, as a basic principle of composing, are sometimes multilayered and simultaneous, but always consequential enough to represent at the same time linking element. The confrontation of intervals – of octave on the one side and of minor second on the other, or, let us say, of independent dynamics in each hand, especially in the tremolo in longer passages – leads to interesting and unusual sound effects. The confrontation is nonetheless marked primarily by the use of two composition techniques: freely composed parts on the one side and parts determined through interval technique on the other, as well as the syntheses of the two, make up the essence of this work.

op. 12 CTPAX : STRAH (1987) 11:30 für Percussion solo und Tonband ad lib.
Premiered: 30.5.1987 Mannheim
Publisher: EME
This composition, in homage to D. Shostakovich, was conceived as a solo for percussion instruments with three tape-recorded interruptions. I endeavoured to get closer to the spirit of the time by using several Russian words, some of which are heard from the rape and some are spoken by the performer. The tape has three separate parts with the voice of D. Shostakovich. The first part in his radio speech of September 16th 1941 from besieged Leningrad. The second and the third parts contain excerpts from his speech in the Kremlin before the Association of Soviet Composers of 2. April 1974. The six words declaimed by the performed are Fear, Death, Life, Fatherland, People and Party. The formal structure of the work is based on two elements: each of the six words is designated in a leitmotif manner or through a characteristic colour, a rhythm or a motif, or through a combination of these elements. The wooed fear, for example, is represented with a motif on the vibraphone. Death is represented with rhythm regardless of the instruments. People with triple meter rhythms on membraphone instruments etc. The second structural element is the division of sound colour throughout the work. Three types of sound are heard, in addition to the human voice and the vibraphone: sounds of metal instruments, sounds of wooden instruments and sounds of membraphone instruments. The conscious limitation of colour at the beginning of this retrospective work, the sudden transition to membraphonic instruments, the variety of sound in the middle section, and the reduction of instruments towards the end to a grotesquely sounding combination of temple blocks and alpine bells strengthen the form and heighten the latent tensio. However, the most important element in this work is without doubt the overall expression of the performance. The composition has the characteristics of a monodrama and the theatrical aspect must be highly marked. In this composition, I wished to represent desperate fear, mistrust, powerless fury at the state of affairs, and the unconditional faultlessness of the "great teacher and leader" at the time of Stalin’s purges.

Premiered: 16.12.1992 Kornwestheim, für Klavier solo. (1987) 8'

op.14 CORALE (1987) 14' für 13 Bläser und Schlagzeug
Premiered: 11.12. 1988 Pforzheim

op.15 PEZZO DA CONCERTO (1987) 3:30 für Kleine Trommel solo
Premiered: 14.12.1987 Stuttgart
Publisher: Ed.
Musica Europea
A concert piece for snare drum in which the interesting possibilities of playing this instrument are exemplified as well as the numerous differing nuances of sound which are exploited. It is technically and musically an ambitious piece in which the effect intentionally predominates.

o.op. ZWISCHEN TAG UND NACHT (1988) 12' für Schlagzeugsextett
Premiered: 7.5.1988 Kornwestheim
Publisher: ed.
Musica Europea

op.16 FLUCTUS (1988) 4' für Marimba solo
Premiered: 18.10.1988 Wien
Publisher: Ed. Musica Europea
The listener is introduced to this passionately raging composition, based on a 27-tone progression, which immediately opens with "fortissimo e furioso" in a rapid velocity. The fluctuating progression appears in differing variations, the actual "progression" however, remains unchanged. A masterly ebullition of energy frames a section of rhythmic frenzy in which a firm but unpercieved batutto is played as undertone. The composition has been conceived as a concert piece for marimba with twomallets technique.

o.op. DAS INNERE DES SCHWEIGENS (1989) 15' Musiktheater für Schlagzeugensemble (6 Drumsets), Tonband, Sprecher, und Schauspielgruppe
Premiered: 28.4.1989 Kornwestheim

op.17 NADA MNOM JE NEBO ZATVORENO (1989) ca. 26' für Streichorchester,Frauenchor, Schlagzeug (2 Sp.) und solo Baßstimme
Premiered: 27.6.1989 Belgrad, Serbia
Recording: JRT Belgrad

für fünf Marimbas und Percussion
Premiered: 9.11.1989 Nashville, USA
Publisher: Ed.
Musica Europea
CD: Komponistenportrait
Quintetto, just as most of my other works, was composed mostly at night. And this is how it starts - in the dark night atmosphere, in the low register of the bass marimba. The piece was composed for the US tour of the "Percussion Ensemble Stuttgart" and had its premiere performance at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Nashville by the same ensemble. At that time as well as today, it is a "complicated" instrumentation, since five marimbas are not the most practical selection one could make. This eccentric instrumentation is further complicated by extreme technical demands placed on the musicians. The music actually is of a soloist's level, therefore the title: "Quintet for Five Soloists". The principal idea - putting together five different soloists and characters into one rather large and energetic piece - is achieved in various ways. In some parts of the piece, for example, I call for five different tempi imultaneously...the connecting parameters at such places, are only a mathematical proportions of those five tempi to each other. After the one-by-one opening of each player in the mid-low register, they remain together in a contemplative pianissimo for a while, until the first "break out" occurs by one of the players. This represents the "soloist" tendency. The middle section of the piece is built on several attempts of different "soloists" to break out, but they are always caught and brought back by the rest of the group. Eventually, duo and trio "connections" among the ensemble members are being established (for example: the melody in the crotales is actually performed by three players, which also gives a nice panorama effect in live performance). Finally, the group spirit wins and the five soloists find themselves in an energetic, groovy and wild ride towards the ending - a heavy chain stroke against a huge tam-tam on the stage floor.

o.op. DREI UNVERBINDLICHE STÜCKE (1989/92) ca.6' für Marimba solo
Premiered: 20.3.1992 Stuttgart
Publisher: Gretel M 1011
Recording: CD "Uneven Souls"
The first one "Song for Simone" is a tonal piece with very clear association on Charleston times. The second "Andante for Uta" is also tonal, like the previous, but slower and quieter. This song ternary form is also more difficult for playing thanks to the permanent tremolo in the first and last part. Also, the middle part has passages that are giving the illusion of free improvisation. The third composition in this cycle is "Walzer for Herbert" – a tonal funny dance like piece with allusion on Vals form but far more faster than this traditional music form should be.

o.op TEN ETUDES FOR SNARE DRUM (1990) Publisher: S4P

o.op. STA VIDIS (1990) 3' für Tenor, Marimba und Männerstimmen
Premiered: 16.12.1992 Kornwestheim
Publisher: Gretel Verlag

Text: What can you discern, starring into the darkness? Speak.
This medieval epigram, written by an anonymous Serbian poet in the 14th century, had an inspiring effect in the creation of this stylistic exceptional combination. Serbian-Orthodox plainsong, contemplative, lowpitched marimba sound and ison – an ostinato held by male voices – were merged into a short modo archaico composition.

op.19 JENET, family songs (1990) 16' Auftragswerk der Musikschule Kornwestheim
für Fl., Cl.Basso/Alt Sax., Vc., Trb., und Cembalo
Premiered: 30.3.1990 Kornwestheim
Recording: SWR Stuttgart; CD: Composers Portrait
Jot-E-En-E-Te -is how this should be read - and only in my fantasy might this be an imaginative "name" JENET… Actually it stays for the five initial letters from the names of my family members.
The subtitle of the piece, ("family songs") is probably not withouta bit of irony. Are they really "songs" to whistle to,or is this a chamberrequiemto my childhood and family life?
I have tried to melt together, at least in the score,what was significantly less successful inreal life. The selected instruments, so different in their character, are definitely not the best choice to reach a homogeneous sound. On the other hand, it is exactly thatdifference that presents thepossibility to create new soundstructures, different from those commonly heard in chamber music.
Attempting tocompositionally unite those distinctive andself-willed instruments brought me (almost inevitably) to unusual sound creations...and this is maybe one of the most interesting aspects of the composition.
The formal structure of the piece consists of five movements (played attacca), with each movement featuring a different instrument...the sequence is: trombone, harpsichord, violoncello, saxophone and finally the piccolo flute. The hectic music of the piccolo will be interrupted by the closing "chorale", introduced by the cello, bass clarinet and flute playing pianissimo in extreme registers. The last breath out of the trombone finally ends this family tragedy.

o.op. FUNNY MARIMBA Heft 1 (1989/92) (incl: Srpska Igra, Balade für Petra, Liebeslied,..)
zehn leichte Stücke für junge Marimbisten
Premiered: 27.6.1992 Kornwestheim
Publisher: Gretel M 1013
Recording: CD "Uneven Souls"
EIN LIEBESLIED? (1992) Is this a silent tremble of the Heart? This slow piece in ternary form, a part from the edition "Funny Marimba 1 ", is a short and calm musical breath, interpreted with marimbas most charming technique, - constant tremolo. Meanwhile a very popular piece in the literature for marimba, - it shows an excellent example tender and sensitive nuances of the marimba sound. The melody above is a voice of longing which in the middle section achieves the culmination and then returns to the beginning piano resignation.

o.op. FUNNY MARIMBA BOOK 2 (1999) (incl: Northwind, Soumineito, Il Canto Die Gondolieri, Bayerischer Ländler...)

NORTHWIND (1999) is one of the solo marimba pieces from authors very popular selection of solo pieces "FUNNY MARIMBA", Book 2. The piece is inspired by the author’s memories from Finland. The title suits the content of the composition written as a virtuoso concert-piece. After the energetic opening in double octaves in both hands, the first part continues with the out-of-time tremolo melody in right hand and ostinato pattern accompaniment in left hand. These unusually technique makes a very refreshing effect to the listener, a feeling like from time to time there are two different players playing the piece. The middle section is somewhat slower and it’s based on the new melodic line over the 11/8 pattern in the left hand. The repetition brings again the same fast groove "windy" pattern and melody from the beginning, this time in its major version and somewhat richer in sound. Once again, Zivkovic is using masterly some new approaches of composing for the marimba, which makes this piece very unique.

IL CANTO DEI GONDOLIERI (1999) , also from "FUNNY MARIMBA 2", is a sad love-song, a sensitive soft music confession. The inspirative title of this romantic, technically challenging work has its origin in authors passionate interest in Italian culture and art. The melody (played with challenging mandolin-roll-technique), the main theme in this calm piece, rises in the right hand in the middle register and leads into the culmination in rolled octaves. The repetition brings the sound from the beginning with single notes variation in the left hand. "This should be called ‘Farewell’", claimed one of the first listener of the piece.

BAYERISCHER LÄNDLER (1999) is a waltz in the old style, an homage to the popular German dance. (a Ländler from Bavaria) As many times before Zivkovic succeeded to achieve a lovely combination of the form of past times and the post-modern tonality. This piece, one of selections from "FUNNY MARIMBA 2", reflects once again authors manner of searching the inspiration in different lands and different national music origins.

zehn leichte Stücke für Vibraphon
Publisher: Gretel M 1015

zehn leichte Stücke für Xylophon Publisher: Gretel M 1013

DER KLEINE PAGANINI (1996) is written for xylophone and placed in a "Funny Xylophone 1". This fast and short piece is a sparkle of brilliant two-mallets-technique. An excellent encore piece, written in a great tradition of German xylophone music from the twenties and thirties. On this CD recorded on marimba, it ends the CD and twinkles for a few moments with the fascination and spirit that enchant.

15 Stücke für Stabspielanfänger, mit Begleitung (Klavier oder 2. Mar.)
Premiered: 27.6.1992 Kornwestheim
Publisher: Gretel M 1019

Orchester a2 (free for premiere performance)

für Solo Percussion (mit Vibr.)
Premiered: 7.7.1991 Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) Polen
Publisher: Ed. Musica Europea
"Generally spoken", that is, when it is to be attempted – universal and comprehensive. There is courtesy but also censure. "It’s nothing but..." that is, lying in the still-wet grass of an Indian summer morning, looking up into the heavens and being aware of the faintly blue distance and the earth’s shade of green.
But "rhythm" – that is, when deep inside the dormant, archaic impulse of the soul frees itself and flows, unrestricted, to the surface like an effervescing fountain. It is at this fountain that the thirst for the pulsation of harmony can be quenched.

op. 22 UNEVEN SOULS (Sta Vidis II) (1992) 16' für Solo Marimba und drei Schlagzeuger
Auftragswerk der Kultuinitiative Stubai, Österreich
Premiered: 6.11.1992 Fulpmes, Österreich
Publisher: Ed.
Musica Europea
Recording: CD "Uneven Souls"
"Uneven Souls
" ( composed 1992, commissioned by "Kulturinitiative Stubaital" Austria ) is a piece whose title reflects the character of the Slavic people from the Balkans and their "uneven" souls. Souls that are free from any "strict rules", any "ultimatums", or any "square, even" way of behaving. The rhythms in this piece are based mostly on uneven beats like 7/8, 9/9, 11/8, and especially 13/8 in the last section of the piece. It shows actually the "picture" of these Balkanian souls, their uneven, not "dogmatic" way of living. The composition consists of three parts, one fading into the other. Singing is also important part of this work, since singing at the work, or in fields, or at home, is important part of every day life in the most countries at the Balkans. It should be sung "full blast", with a natural "rough" voice, since this will give the right spirit to this unusually music.
Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic

GERMAN: "Uneven Souls" ( komponiert 1992, Kompositionsauftrag der "Kulturinitiative Stubaital" Österreich)
Entstanden im Herbst 1992, und mit viel Holzinstrumentarium besetzt, da der Auftraggeber den Wunsch hatte das Holz als Musikinstrument einzusetzen (Stubaital hat entwickelte Holzindustrie). Besetzung ist Marimba solo, 3 Percussionisten und ein Chor aus Männerstimmen ad lib. "Uneven Souls" steht für "ungeraden, krummen Seelen" der Menschen aus dem Balkan... Die Seelen welche keinesfalls in eine "quadratisch-praktisch-klein-Form" passen, die leidenschaftlich sind, die extrem zärtlich und weinend aber auch zornig und brutal sein können, - eben das, was man im allgemeinen mit dem Mythos "die Slawische Seele" assoziiert. So ungerade sind auch die Rhythmen dieses Stückes, - frei und wechselhaft, ohne eine feste Battuta, zugleich aber fließend und, wenn mit richtigen Akzenten und Betonungen gespielt, - faszinierend. Das Stück ist in einer dreiteiligen Form angelegt, wobei ein ruhiger improvisatorisch anmutender Satz von zwei tobend ungeraden Ecksätzen umrahmt wird. Sich die "Seele aus dem Leibe freisingen" - ganz nach der slawischen Art, ist auch ein wichtiges Bestandteil der kompositorischen Idee und in beiden Ecksätzen vorhanden. Daher sollen auch ALLE Spieler mitsingen: natürlich, grob, und keinesfalls als Kunstgesang.... denn der Gesang ist bei Slawen, wie bei vielen anderen Völkern in fast allen Tätigkeiten des Alltags anwesend gewesen. (z.B. bei der Arbeit auf dem Feld, oder beim ziehen der Schiffe der Volga entlang, etc.) Der Schlußsatz beginnt mit einem Trommelsignal, einem "Fragen und Antworten" welches sich allmählich in eine zweitaktige Phrase entwickelt, ein Rhythmischer Baustein der aus zwei mal 13/8 Takt besteht. Darüber wiederum bildet sich eine simple Melodie "in modo slavico" welche nach dem Solo der Percussionisten sich in einen langen Gesang verwandelt
Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic

op.23 DIE ARTEN DES WASSERS (1993/94) ca. 25'
Auftragswerk des Kultusministeriums Baden-Württemberg für zwei Klaviere und zwei Schlagzeuger
Premiered: 20.6.1993 Erlangen /
Vollst. Fassung Premiered: 13.09.1994 Stuttgart

o. op LES VIOLONS MORTS 1 for solo marimba (1994) ca. 3. 10'
Publisher: EME

This piece is a fine example of a calm composition, contemplative throughout. It is written in free-tonality, without bar lines so the listener could have a feeling of the performer’s improvisation even though the note are strictly composed. The one-hand-roll technique in left hand is here the base on which rise the "pieces" of melody in right, as a real picturesque sound colouring of the violins that are "dying". Hidden Quote of Mozart's fifth violin concerto is hidden in the piece.

op.24. 1 ULTIMATUM 1 für Solo Marimba (1994/95) ca. 8'
Premiered: 11.03.1995 Frankfurt/Main
Publisher: MusEu
Recording: CD "Uneven Souls"
Ultimatum 1 is an angry lament which bursts into 14/16 time towards the end. It is an energetic, masterly and technically very challenging piece in three parts. The first pathetic part is directly followed by an "energico e aggressivo", a real battle with sounds and the permanent change of time. After a tremolo climax, which is a short reminiscence of the beginning, the "dance of the whip" begins the groovy third part of the piece in a 14/16 time. The last exhausting beats of madness are stopped by a sudden "fall". The melody, moving in half steps and augmented seconds, and an uneven groove give this raving, powerful work a touch of the Balkans.

Op.24. 2 ULTIMATUM 2 für zwei Marimbas (1994) ca. 9'
Auftragswerk des Wooden-Arts Duos
Premiered: 09.10.1994 Neumünster

, (1994) for two marimbas is a highly virtuoso composition in which the both players are equal in importance and technical challenge. In fact, this is a real sound of ambitious and demanding competition between two instruments. The endless "ultimatums" that they give to each other are difficult technical tasks always solved by both of performers. The piece is based on the combination of atonality and extremely expressive post-modern tonality and probably therefore close to the everyone’s ear even if some of the virtuoso energetic licks required by the composer, might sound rough and contemporary. Piece consists of three attacca movements. First, written in the low register, is based on the intensive octave-melodies of both players followed by an incredible powerful chords and fast 32nds. The second one consists of a long-lines melodies which builds up from the low register, surrounded by silent "rain-like" improvisation in a high register performed by player one. One glissando downwards leads into the third movement, which is an "angry whip" where above the constant 14/16 rhythm, player one performs an energetic solo. After reaching a climax, both players meet each other and play an unison "broke up" of the high tension of this wildness.

o.op. TO THE GODS OF RHYTHM für Djembe und Stimme (1994) ca. 5'
Premiered: 23.11.1994 Kornwestheim,
Publisher: Ed. Musca Europea
Recording: CD "Uneven souls"
If there is a rhythm section in Heaven, the realm of the Gods, then surely the people of Africa and the Balkans have the say there. "To the Gods of rhythm" is a mixture of the music tradition of those two cultures. The sound of rhythm and chant from the Balkans, whose melody is based on a Serbian orthodox church song, are the essence of this piece. The extreme energy comes from probably the most fascinating African drum – djembe.

o.op. ILIJAS for marimba solo (1995) ca. 6'
Recording:CD "The Castle of the Mad King" BIS-CD-1098
LIJAS (1996) is a rhapsodic composition, titled after a small town in the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia. It has a clear associations with folk tunes of that picturesque Balkan area, as well as mixed rhythms and tonal scales whose roots could be found even further East. In the introduction of the piece, Zivkovic calls for a very unusual marimba technique that produces sounds that remind us of a Franz Liszt grand piano sound.
The middle part, however, uses typical marimbistic patterns, masterly composed in a number of various odd meters with melody in the octaves played by the right hand.
The varied repetition of the opening part leads for a moment in a major keys, but after that short "light of hope" the music goes back to the melancholic mood and ends tranquillo, morendo...

Premiered: 9. 4. 1997 München, Herkulessaal, Münchener Symphoniker, Zivkovic
Commissioned: "Stiftung 100 Jahre YAMAHA"
Publisher: Ed. Musica Europea
Recording: Bayerischer Rundfunk
Recording: CD Komponistenportarit

The Concerto, commissioned by the Yamaha Foundation, was composed in 1996 and '97 and was given its first performance on April 9 of the latter year in Munich, with the composer as soloist and Jean-Pierre Faber conducting Munich Symphony Orchestra. I intended to span the broadest possible spectrum of elements, not only in relation to the construction of the work, but in relation to the character of the instruments. I wanted unite the quintessence of Nature and archaic elements (rhythm as the primal origin of all music, as the force that gives birth to music) with theatrical qualities and a new articulation of tonality with the "classical" tonal language of this century to produce a music that DOES communicate with the listener. Only such a unity of factors can represent the free expansion of today's music beyond old notions of avant-gardisme. This concerto allots the soloist a single very familiar instrument and includes a large percussion complement in the orchestra itself. This is a symbolic gesture, that represent a kind of ritual in which an individual is accepted into a community after a ritual of initiation.
The opening movement is headed Introduzione: Iniziazione del legno (Introduction: Initiation of the Wood). Material from the marimba's initial motif develops into a continuous dialoge between soloist and orchestra, representing the offerings of the "candidate," or "initiate," and the response and evaluation on the part of the orchestral community. Eventually, prominent passages for various percussion instruments--e.g., Chinese gongs, glockenspiel--appear as gestures of the community's acceptance. The second movement is a Notturno. Far from the serenity such a heading might suggest, this night scene is in the nature of an appendix to, or extension of, the foregoing initiation rite, in which the initiate now undergoes "exhaustion by dancing." Successively during this ritual dance, there are comments of approval from solo cello, bass clarinet, flute, oboe, horn, and trumpet. The movement ends with an aleatoric section, broken off by the low E that leads directly into the final movement. This finale named, "Concitato e molto febbrile ("very excited, feverish") is the longest and most highly charged section of the work. The slow introduction is filled with aleatoric screaming-effects in the strings and strong brass lines. What follows is actually a very free rondo in which the newly initiated soloist now competes with the orchestra on various levels of technical proficiency, involving polyrhythm and polymeter. In the traditional spot near the end is a cadenza, in which the soloist is encouraged to improvise, as this is the old and true tradition of the cadenza in a concerto. But, - for those less eager to continue this great (and very risky) tradition, however, I have provided the option of a written-out cadenza.

op. 26 THE CASTLE OF THE MAD KING (1998), ca. 17'
Premiere: Stockholm, October 3. 1998 (Evelyn Glennie)
Recording: CD BIS-CD-1098 "The Castle of the mad King" (Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic)
(1998/99) is an energetic "tour-de-force" multi-percussion piece written for the special large set-up that includes some unusual instruments like Japanese Uchwa-daikos, Earth-plates, Aluminium tubes or Schlitztrommel. This over 15 minutes long piece does not require the use of mallet instruments as did Zivkovic’s earlier multi-percussion compositions. The only tuned instrument here is one low octave of crotales. According to the composer - this huge percussion set-up is treated as one complex instrument that offers plenty of different sound effects like, for example, organ. Because of this characteristic Zivkovic is about to write in the future more pieces for this "Mad King instrument". Idea of the composition is achieving the balance between controlled content and improvisation, accomplished through shifts of energetic and aggressive, lyric and meditative parts. This piece, with its imaginative title, is in fact a picture of the author’s sound castle where, behind the walls, the listener discovers the "dwelling" of rage, joy, longing, laughter and feelings which is almost forbidden to talk about.

op. 27 TRIO PER UNO (Trio for one) for percussion trio (1995, 1999) ca. 15'
Premiered: ??
Premiered: Vollständige Fassung: 21.8.1999 Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival ; Hasselburg
Recording:CD "The Castle of the Mad King"
Publisher: Ed. Musica Europea
(1995/1999) consists of three movements. The edge-movements have some similarities in manner and appears as if they would present a perfection of wildness in an archaic ritual cult. The second movement has its own special lyric and contemplative mood. The opening one requires a bass drum (lying flat) played with timbale sticks by all three players. In addition to that sound, a pair of bongos and china-gongs are used by each player. The claim for playing on the same instrument makes in the music interesting effects of strict unison performed parts which are "abrupt" by the contrasting sounds of other participating instruments. Not to count the brilliant view-effect for the audience in the public performing. Slow (second) movement is based on the contemplative melody in crotales played by one player accompanied by vibraphone pattern with meditative character by two other performers (playing on one vibraphone, but two may be used too, if easier to perform) . This middle movement is an isle of quietness between two "vulcanos", in both atmosphere and instrumentation. Speed and energy might be the right "keywords" for the closing movement. Composer calls here for two tom-toms and one snare drum for each of the three performers. The music here expresses the principle: "three bodies – one soul". The large number of different rhythmic patterns mostly played in unison, but also split between the players in a "trialogue", exactly show the mentioned principle. Possibility of improvisation in the 1st and in the 3rd movement of the trio just makes the piece more interesting and, at the same time, opens the way for the free streaming of the drum-energy, without any obligation to the "written text".

Op.28 Concerto per percussione e orchestra no.1 op.28 (2000/ rev.2003)
Premiered: 17. February 2000, reading UK
Publisher: Ed. Musica Europea
Recording: With Composer as soloist. CD "3 concertos + 3 Solos"

Comments by the composer

"Concerto of the Mad Queen" was commissioned by Evelyn Glennie and Northern Sinfonia, an was finished just a few weeks before its premiere with same artists, which took place in Reading, on Feb 17. 2000. Composition, actually a is a concerto for percussion/vibraphone and orchestra and is dedicated to the composers good fiend and colleague Evelyn Glennie.
Selected groups of percussion instruments are treated as y unique sound complex, a "sound castle" surrounded by an orchestra.
The Choice of the instruments for the soloist is selected from the so-called "Mad KING set-up"from the composer's similarly titled solo composition, premiered in Stockholm autumn 1998. This set-up is indeed very unique not only because of the choice of some exotic instruments like Japanese uchiwa-daikos, or newly invented "Earth-plates", or Chinese opera gongs, etc... but also because of unique tubes "construction" which also in part gave the Title to the original SOLO-piece (The CASTLE of the Mad King) The only instrument which is added here to this set-up, is vibraphone, with its long "fantasy waltz " middle movement.
My intention was to write an expressive and energetic piece in which the soloist treats ALL the percussion instruments selected as if it would be "ONE instrument", like playing an Organ for example. Therefore I used often simultaneously different sounds and combinations, but always trying to make a kind of "mad sound catalogue" in such manner and style that I would call "Royal Fantasies" This concerto, only about 16 minutes in length, therefore could also be seen as a fantasy for percussion and orchestra in one movement.
The style of my musical language might be described as a combination of atonal and tonal sound, so that in some way extreme dissonance contrast with warm tonal episodes. Although there are different patch-work-like episodes, which are the pictures of the fantasy and imagination of the "Mad Queen" and are described by the colours of the music painting, the concerto is clearly divided into three larger sections.
Listener will clearly feel the fanfares of the "castle guard" from the beginning, and the Queen who enter the scene with a cymbals and earth plates to interrupt the trumpets with her hysteric solo on the Uchiwa-daikos and earth-plates, accompanied only by the orchestral percussion on a "trash-like" instruments... After almost a four minutes of wild anger, and repeated "screams" in horns, - she suddenly "enter" the quite and clam chambers of that castle and starts the tender theme on the vibraphone... For a moment, - she is definitely also in the oriental empire with all exotic sounds and melodies that go freely over an Ostinato in a sting quartet... After a while she is back to the wild driving stretta, with a permanent pulse in a bass-drum. To end the piece with enormously virtuoso and energetic drumming over a long sustained chorale in the Brass instruments.
Percussive instrument can develop an enormous energy on stage. That is also the reason why the orchestra from time to time seems to be in the shade of the "queens' part". Owing to the inspirational playing of Evelyn Glennie, (co-comissioner of the piece) , and knowing also from own experience, that too strictly written-down music for percussion can actually hinder the "free floating of strokes", I have left enough space in the Solo-part where the soloist is free to actually improvise.

o. op. SUOMINEITO for Vibraphone solo (1999)
CD THe Castle of the mad King

SUOMINEITO is in Finish language, in the language of "Suomi" people, as the Finns calls themselves and it means "Finnish girl". This quite and melancolic composition was inspired by an riginal folk song from Finnland , called "Heili Karjalasta". In Suomi language, this means "a friend from Karelia", a region that in the past used to be a part of Finnland. However, the original folk song is in very fast temo and in a happy mood. (it is so called " Humpa", a kind of Finnish Polca). Suomineito is a probably my persoal reflection on Finnland and on one Suomineito I have met there during one of my concert tours. It should be performed with lot of espression and emotions.

GERMAN: Der Titel SUOMINEITO kommt aus dem Finnischen und bedeutet "Finnisches Mädchen". Diese kleine ruhige Miniatur ist eine melancholische Komposition die von einem sehr fröhlischem Volkslied aus Finnland inspiriert wurde. Das Volkslied heißt auf Finnisch "Heili Karjalasta" und bedeutet " Freundin aus Karelia" (ehemalige Region in Finnland). Suomineito ist meine persönliche musikalische Erinnerung an eine meiner Reisen nach Finnland und an ein Suomineito das mir bei einer Gelegenheit das originale Volkslied gesungen hat.

per Percussione e pianoforte op.29 (2001)
Premiered: 18.3.2001, London Wigmore Hall Emanuel Ax - Piano, Evelyn Glennie- Percussion
Publisher: Ed. Musica Europea

What is it that makes the piano a "percussive instrument", and what is it on the other side, that makes percussion become a "melodic instrument"? Writing a musical piece for solo percussion is difficult enough - but adding an accompaniment on piano, makes it even more of a task. "Music" by percussionists can easily become pushed back to the more traditional "rhythm" section once a piano begins to play. Therefore, I felt that a duet of this nature must be an true partnership of equality for both artists. This can mean - emphasising the percussive side of the piano to the maximum possible level and equally treating different colours of the percussion instrumentarium as notes with own pitches. It is a duo with no singular soloist emerging."Quasi una Sonata" consists of 3 attacca movements each featuring one certain instrument group.
(1. cymbals/woodblocks/toms 2. tam-tam /gong-sheet/vibraphone 3. tuned almglocken/toms)
The score has been written primarily with the intension to get the best possible work percussively rather than trying to write for new sounds and instruments that have never been heard before. For a composer-percussionist like myself, there are no new sounds, there is often no surprise and unfortunately no "shock" in new percusison music. Probably since the 1960’s. it has all been heard before . Many times it has been seen too - jumping around the drum, breaking mallets, screaming with a bucket on your head, paper noise, whistling into resonators, scratching and cutting everything everywhere, putting objects in water, or even into the piano – in fact almost everything has been tried at some time.
Finally, free from the pressure to create the ‘new & unheard’, composers can primarily compose music. The challenge is in the fine nuances, in the atmospheric or energetic mood that can be reached and colorfully painted especially with the vast array of different percussion instruments. Yet, even now I pledge for reduction, to get the largest possible output from the smallest possible instrumentarium.
At the end – is this a sonata or not? Well, - quasi. Enjoy.
This piece is composed for Evelyn Glennie and Emanuel Ax.

Op.30 BORN TO BEAT WILD (for very big drum and trompet)
Premiered: London Wigmore Hall, 13. 3. 2001 E.Glenie-Drum Hakan Hardenberger- Trompet
Publisher: MusEu Recording: BBC Radio3
Written down (as far as one can write it down at all) in just a couple of furious nights in February 2001, "Born To Beat wild" was composed out of the "diplaced" sound-sketches, collected in my head (and soul) in pre-natal period, during my childhood and also probably in most recent times. Some music is simply inside a man, and he carries it trough his whole life, - and possibly further.
Or, it might be a musical "farewell" to my roots, conveyed in this particular piece by leaving one's origins (represented by the material at the beginning) and adding more and more new, and perhaps disturbing elements. Distorting the original sound from the "inner self" is achieved with wilder and wilder runs, with uneven and increasingly unbridled rhythms from the Balkans.
The music is notated without barlines, although it is in certain realtively determined metres. Born to beat wild is a musical dialogue, which allows the performers to combine written and (in some parts) spontaneously improvised material. Musically speaking, - it is a permanent crescendo, a constant increasing of the energy, that climaxes in extremes on both sides.

Premiered: Newcastle upon Tyne, 1.
May 2002 Peter Francomb- Solo Horn, Northern Sinfonia, Thierry Fischer conducting
Publisher: Ed.
Musica Europea
Recording: CD "3 concertos + 3 Solos"

Premiered: Boston, Boston conservatory, 7.
November 2002 Nebojsa Zivkovic Marimba und Boston Conservatory Percussion Ensemble
Commission: Patrick Hollenbeck und Boston Conservatory.

In the fall of 2001 Patrick Hollenbeck, a percussionist and chairman of the percussion department at the Boston Conservatory, came to me with a request to compose a piece for a marimba and percussion trio, similar to my work "UNEVEN SOULS" composed in 1992. I found it very interesting that, just the same as with my marimba concerto,there were ten years passed since I composed "Souls". I gave myselfone"limitation": the percussion instruments should remain the same as in UNEVEN SOULS, but the new composition should include totally different sound colors… I feel that this task, to achieve a totally different ensemble sound out of the same instrumentation, has succeeded (also thanks to the addition of a few metal instruments...I added vibraphone, glockenspiel and crotales, and the marimbist plays a large tam-tam during the percussionists solo section).
The formal structure of the piece is divided into two large sections: "Lamento" anda barbaric dance ("Danza Barbara"). The tuned Thaigong along with the tremolo in the low register of the marimba provide a mysterioso opening for the piece. After the first marimba statement (a lament melody in octaves),the metal instruments present their "shimmering stars melody", whose sharp attacks with metal mallets and long sustain carve themselves into the static harmony of the marimba. Like rolling waves, the intensity increases until finally, just before the climax, the skin instruments enter (bongos), and the percussionists lead into a huge tutti cymbal fortissimo. In the middle of that "storm", the thundering Gran Cassa enters with it's barbaric dance. The dance itself needs few comments: it is simple, barbaric, wild and rough. The dance is followed by an eccentric and breathtaking percussion interlude by the trio of percussionists. Finally, all four players "drop" into the closing stretta , which, just before the ending, once more recalls the melody from the opening - but this time the marimba is accompanied by the driving rhythm of the percussion trio.

GERMAN: Im Herbst 2001 kam Patrick Hollenbeck auf mich zu, mit der Idee ein Stück für Marimba und Percussion Trio zu schreiben, ähnlich meinem Werk "Uneven Souls" welches für gleiche Besetzung komponiert, und im Jahre 1992 uraufgeführt wurde. Ich fand es interessant, daß es wie bei meinem Marimbakonzert, genau zehn Jahre vergangen sind seit der Arbeit an "Souls". Die selbstgegebene Auflage dabei: die Percussionisten sollen fast die gleiche Instrumente wie in Uneven Souls, aber das neue Werk eine ganz andere Färbung haben. Durch die Zugabe der Metallinstrumenten (Vibraphon, Crotales und Glockenspiel) und vor Allem durch die Art deren Benutzung, ist es mir glaube ich gelungen, dieser Komposition eine eigenwillige Farbstimmung zu geben.
Das Stück gliedert sich formal in zwei Abteilungen: ein "lamento" und eine "danza barbara" (ein Barbarischer Tanz). Das gestimmte Buckelgong und ein Tremolo ostinato in der tiefen Marimbalage eröffnen das Lamento. Nach einem Statement der Marimba, übernehmen die Percussionisten zu dritt die langsame "Sternmelodie" mit Metallinstrumenten, deren Anschlagen und Klingenlassen sich scharf in die liegende Harmonie der Marimba hineinritzt. Wellenartig bewegt sich die Klangmasse des Lamentos, wobei sie almählich stärker wird. Kurz vor dem Höhepunk setzen auch die hohen Fellinstrumente ein (Bongos) und alle münden in eine energische "Windwelle" (Becken, Tam-tams.) Mitten in dieser, setzt die donnernde Große Trommel ein mit dem barbarischen Tanz. Zu diesem braucht man nicht viel zu sagen: er ist simpel, grob und urwuchsig. Nach dem starken Toben und einem schwindelerregenden Solo der percussionisten münden alle gemeinsam in die Stretta, die kurz vor dem Ende nochmals die Melodie des Anfang bringt, diesmal untermauert durch den festen Rhythmus.

For percussion solo and wind ensemble
Commission: Consortium of twelve US-American Schools, initiated and led by conductor Glen Adsit and percussionist Benjamin Toth, both from The Hartt School, Univ. of Hartford, CT.
Hartford, USA, April 27th 2003
ecording: CD "3 concertos + 3 Solos"

In a spring of 2002 I was commissioned to compose a piece for one percussion soloist and wind ensemble. Commissioner was a consortium of 12 universities from USA led by University of Hartford, Hartt School of Music. Schools conductor Glen Adsit, and percussion Professor Benjamin Toth, requested a piece that would be a real challenge for a soloist, showing well the possibilities of Marimba as well as of percussion, and also leaving some space to the orchestra and especially to its percussion section to "show up". Since the solo part has been composed ON the set-up, it really uses all possibilities and colors of the choosen instrumentarium in very effective and hugely virtuosic way. Therefore is also important for soloist to build his set-up exactly as indicated in order to make all "Licks" playable.
In a little less that a year later after a commission, a concerto was finished and premiered in Hartford in April 2003.
"Tales" is a musical story that is drawn from an oriental Balkan-like mood.
Even if the large formal structure of the piece is divided in two main sections, there are many "little Tales" in-between such as dreamy cadenzas for the marimba and winds and an Egyptian-sounding groove in the "tutti" passages. After the "oriental" awakening introduction the music moves into a slow dance written for the marimba, which I like to think of as a "Camel-Groove". The dance is developed and leads into a tutti climax, which is broken by a crack of the whip.
After a cadenza on marimba and a brief reminiscence of the Camel-dance, the first section ends quietly in the sounds of cymbals reminiscent of "deep-water waves".
The second movement is connected "attacca" and begins with low drums and two tubas.
This is immediately supported by a slow uneven rhythm in 5/4 plus 9/8. The percussion grows slowly and adds a touch of mystery. In generally, the second movement is energetic and supported by strong rhythmic pulses, often performed by the whole ensemble in unison. Volcanic like eruptions start in the percussion section and together with a soloist, lead to a percussion cadenza. "Tales from the center of the Earth", has purposely been composed in rather tonal musical language with more progressive harmonies featured in the second movement only. "Tales" turned out to be very successful piece. In less than a year after the premiere, it had over dozen performances with different ensembles only in USA.

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