Petra Vrh Vrezec: soprano
Al Vrezec: baritone
Gregor Klančič: organ
Artists’ message to visitors
All these years we have browsed the rich musical treasury with the musical prayers of Ave Maria, some with admirable spiritual depths, others naughty and boiling with the joy of life. The variety of composers, who wrote the Ave Maria tracks, surprised us. The lyrics of Ave Maria were set to music by almost every composer, even the greatest of them. The Iron Repertoire consists of three arrangements, Gounod-Bach, Schubert and Caccini, performed in countless versions by the most famous classical and pop musicians. Ave Maria by other composers will be harder to find on CDs or YouTube channels, most of them never. Therefore, it was exciting to intervene after each new musical "prayer", as we felt that we were constantly plowing the pre-performance wasteland, where we marvel at the variety of ideas, ways of experiencing the text and the spiritual orientation of the composer. Eventually, the idea matured and finally matured to record this and share the musical legacy of Ave Maria with those, who simply admirers the Mother of God and music that she inspired.
My artistic mission
My musical mission follows several tracks. At sacral concerts, I want to "enchant" people and take them far away with timeless melodies, into a world without worries and sorrows. At opera concerts, I want to make the opera genre popular with people who have no contact with this type of music - above all, I want them to truly experience the play, the passion of opera heroes and the dynamics of movement and expression. The latest "track" are concerts with themes from nature, with which I communicate to people how beautiful they are, music and nature, and how important it is that we know how to listen to them and above all respect nature. And another path is dear to me - children's educational performances, which bring classical music closer to the most demanding and genuine audience, which gives me hope that classical music and opera have a bright future.
Petra Vrh Vrezec
Winemaker of Seviqc Brežice 2022 concerts: Family winery Jakončič, Kozana, Goriška Brda
Ave Maria through the centuries
Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
Giulio Caccini (1551-1618)
Benedetto Pellizzari (?-1789)
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Mattia Battistini (1856-1928)
Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945)
Cesar Franck (1822-1890): solo & duetto
Félix-Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911)
Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921): solo & duetto
Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)
Ivan Zajc (1832-1914): Op 934
Fran Gerbič (1840-1917)
Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904)
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
About the concert programme
Among the most popular and well-known pieces of Christian spiritual music is certainly the (paraphrased) setting to music of an old Latin prayer with the simple address ‘Ave Maria! - Hail, Maria!' In the words that follow the address, the archangel Gabriel, according to the testimony of the evangelist Luke, is supposed to announce to Mary that she will give birth to the long-awaited Savior of mankind. It is not surprising, therefore, that as early as the beginning of the second millennium, especially in Western Europe, the cult of the Virgin Mary spread, worshipped by the faithful and prayed to in prayer. During the festivities in her honor and the pilgrimages dedicated to her, there is still a ubiquitous song that cheers and encourages the hopeless - music has the power to redirect human thoughts and views, often tied to the earthly, to where there is no more suffering, no more sorrow.
Over the centuries, the simple text has persuaded many composers to set it to music either as a stand-alone composition or in the context of a more extensive musical creation. What’s more, some have recognized in pre-existing melodies the right medium for the message of the text it carries. In the diverse set of songs on the present CD, the red thread of which is the recommendation to Mary, we find all the above. Among the most famous and most frequently performed are certainly the Ave Maria by the French composer Charles Gounod (1818–1893) and the Ave Maria by the Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797–1828). None of these, interestingly, originally represented the setting of the said prayer. The first was written by Gounod for violin, piano, and organ (ad lib.) as a Meditation on the 1st Prelude by J. S. Bach, only a few years later the text of the prayer was signed to the melody. Also, Schubert's composition Ave Maria was basically part of a cycle of setting to music a German translation of an epic poem by Schubert's contemporary Sir Walter Scott entitled Elena's Third Song, in which the protagonist in the story recommends herself to Mary. The text of the prayer, with which we hear it most often today, was added later to this composition, and the version included on the CD can even be heard in the Slovenian version.
Between Gounod and Schubert, chronologically and related to nationality, there are many other songs from the rich treasury of musical recommendations to Mary. The authorship of the composition, recorded by the Russian guitarist, lute player and composer Vladimir Vavilov in 1970 and attributed to an anonymous author, was later attributed to the Baroque composer Giulio Caccini (1551–1618), one of the first opera composers. Nowadays, musicologists unanimously conclude that the author is not Caccini, but Vavilov himself.
They are followed by composition by the most famous representative of classicism, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), whose Ave Maria is a counterfeit duet from his comic opera Such are all (Così fan tutte, K 588). In the period of classicism, he was also created by the Croatian composer of Italian descent Benedetto Pellizzari (? –1789), who spent most of his life as a chaplain in the Cathedral of St. Dujam in Split.
The melodious and memorable melodies of Ave Marie are characteristic of Italian opera composers of the last three centuries, beginning with Luigi Cherubini (1760–1842), who was - respected by the musical eminences Beethoven, Rossini, Schubert, and others. - created most of his life in France. The Italian tradition of the opera genre is complemented by Gaettano Donizetti (1797–1848), the legendary Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901), whose Ave Mario is heard as Desdemone’s premiere aria in the opera Otello, the famous baritone Mattia Battistini (1856–1928). 1863–1945), which became famous with the opera Cavalleria rusticana. To Intermezzo (an orchestral composition between two acts) of the latter, which is also popular among listeners in a solo performance, a text with a recommendation to Mary - like Gounod's Meditation - was added later.
Liturgical compositions especially for voice and organ were also written by French organists, composers, and pedagogues César Franck (1822–1890), Félix-Alexandre Guillmant (1873–1911) and Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921), among others. the arrangements of the text of the prayer for various ensembles, contributed to the treasury by the Austrian organist, composer and pedagogue Anton Bruckner (1824–1896), find Ave Mario for solo voice and organ.
The text also inspired Slavic composers - Croatian composer Ivan pl. Zajc (1832–1914) and his contemporary Slovene Fran Gerbič (1840–1917) were important protagonists in the development of the musical culture of their country, as well as the important and internationally renowned Czech Antonín Dvořak (1841–1904).
Aleksandra Gartnar Kastelic
Brežice, Parish Church of St. Lawrence
The first mention of the parish church of St. Lawrence in Brežice dates to 1328. The flood of the rising Sava River on January 25, 1781, was fatal for the church of St. Lawrence, as the water washed away the foundations of the church and carried away the cemetery next to the church.