Boris Papandopulo Concertos Reintroduced to the World

Boris Papandopulo’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is one of the best-known works by this relatively unknown composer.

Croatian composer Papandopulo was a powerhouse of creativity, producing over 460 works, plus writing volumes as a music writer, journalist, and reviewer. And he also regularly performed as a concert pianist and accompanist.

The Piano Concerto No. 3 is a work of a composer who’s in full command of his talents. Folk elements, classical post-romanticism, and jazz are thrown together in a heady mix. Rather than being a stylistic mess, the concerto’s a high-energy work that’s just plain fun to listen to.

Pianist Oliver Triendl performs admirably, effectively conveying the exuberance of the music. Although the work is a good half-hour long, it seems to fly by in half that time.

Papandopulo’s Violin Concerto is a more substantial work, staying more within the strictly classical realm. It was composed during the Second World War, which may explain its relatively darker tone.

Still, Papandopulo’s essentially joyful spirit can’t remain suppressed. The melodies fairly sparkle at times, especially in the first movement.

Violin soloist Dan Zhu plays with a rich, warm tone. He also captures the “sobbing” sound of a gypsy violin, an important folk element in this concerto. There’s plenty of technical challenges here, as well as some beautifully crafted melodies.

Thanks to CPO for bringing these extraordinary concertos back to the world stage.

Boris Papandopulo: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.3; Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 125
Oliver Triendl, piano; Dan Zhu, violin; Rijeka Opera Symphony Orchestra; Ville Matvejeff, conductor
CPO 55 100-2

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