Zoran Erić (1950, Serbia) earned his BA (1974/74) and MA (1979/80) degrees in composition (supervised by S. Rajičić) from the Music Academy in Belgrade. He is a full professor of composition at the Faculty of Music Art (where he has worked since 1976). He has taught international master-classes at renowned European schools, such as Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
Erić’s oeuvre comprises works in various genres, written for various ensembles and soloists. His major works include the ballets Banović Strahinja, Jelisaveta, and Prokleta avlija (The Damned Yard, 2014); Off for solo double bass and strings; Cartoon for strings and solo harpsichord; Talea Konzertstück for solo violin and strings; the cycle Slike haosa (I–V) (Images of Chaos), comprising The Great Red Spot of Jupiter for amplified harpsichord, percussion, and live electronics, Helijum u maloj kutiji (Helium in a Small Box) for strings, Nisam govorio (I Did Not Speak) for alto saxophone, bass harmonica, actor-narrator, and mixed choir, and Oberon for solo flute and instrumental ensemble; Šest scena – komentara (Six Scenes – Commentaries) for three violins and string orchestra, Ko je ubio galeba? (Who Shot a Seagull?) for 12 cellos, Sedam pogleda u nebo (Seven Glances at the Sky) for string sextet, etc. Erić’s oeuvre also comprises a large body of theatre and film music. He has collaborated with some of Serbia’s most prominent theatre makers and written music for many theatre plays and films, including Ubistvo s predumišljajem (Premeditated Murder), Stršljen (The Hornet), and Senke uspomena (Shadows of Memories).
His works have been performed by renowned Serbian and foreign ensembles, such as Belgrade Strings – BGO Dušan Skovran, St. George Strings, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Kreisler Strings, Zagreb Soloists, 12 Cellisten der Berliner Philharmoniker, Camerata serbica, and the Belgrade Philharmonic. He has collaborated with some of the most prominent Serbian and foreign performers. His works have been performed in almost every country in Europe, the United States, China, and Australia.
Erić has won numerous prizes and awards for his works: the October Prize of the City of Belgrade, YUSTAT Grand Prix for theatre music, and the Great Seal of the University of Arts in Belgrade. He is a double laureate of the Golden Mimosa award, as well as the Sterija Award for theatre music. He has won the Mokranjac Award three times: in 1997 for Oberon, in 2001 for Šest scena – komentara for three violins and string orchestra, and in 2008 for his string sextet Sedam pogleda u nebo.
Oberon koncert (1977) was composed for solo flute and instrumental ensemble and constitutes the final, fifth part of the cycle Slike haosa (Images of Chaos). Inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it is based on the formal and compositional-technical scheme of Images of Chaos, featuring an alternation of its constituent parts: Neshvatanje (Incomprehension), Otpor (Resistance), Čuđenje (Amazement), Prihvatanje (Acceptance), and Epilog (Epilogue). Missing from previous cycles is the segment Bes (Rage), whereas the segment Čuđenje is significantly elaborated, appearing in multiple alternations with Otpor. Each movement has its own tonal material in the orchestra only partially (the second Čuđenje, toward the end, borrows material from Otpor); therefore, the form of the work in performance differs from the scheme presented in the score: with its material and tempo, Neshvatanje is a broad but compact section; it is followed by the first, short Otpor, whose tonal material is the work’s main sonic and kinetic driving force. Toward the end of the work, the sections under the title of Otpor occupy increasing amounts of space: not only do they spread to the second Čuđenje, but their material also occupies time through a successive enlargement of movements with new titles: the first Otpor goes on for 40 bars, the second for 72, while the third spans no fewer than 240! The tightness of the enormous Otpor (which, therefore, begins already during the second Čuđenje) is broken up by the solo flute’s second cadenza, which is, in fact, the sole representative of the second Čuđenje. Thus instead of the variety of a rondo (which is indicated by the clear division in the score, with alternation between the two sections mentioned above), the work’s global scheme presents a picture of a ternary form, slow – fast – slow, an inverted concerto form. The huge fast-tempo segment is conspicuously cut in two places with a change of events – the solo flute cadenzas.
(Commentary by Zorica Premate)