Dejan Despić
- A Tribute to Stevan Mokranjac, Op. 132a (1998)

Even though it is written as some sort of potpourri or rhapsody on the most beautiful themes from Mokranjac’s choir music, this piece has its own implicite dramaturgy (just like certain Songwreaths by Mokranjac). The dramaturgy can be read from the texts – and the corresponding character – of the songs which were used. The lightmotive of the entire piece, heard at its beginning and its end and also throughout the piece, is the motive of love and longing – ’Čimbirčice…’. The next motive is the motive of the unhappy, impossible love – ’Devojka junaku prsten povraćala…’, than the motive of happiness and pleasure one finds in love – ’Raslo mi je badem drvo…’. The middle, faster and more joyfull part of the piece is based on the theme of love and flirting – ’Oj, Lenko, Lenko…’. The next melody is probably the sadest one in the entire oeuvre of Mokranjac – ’Crni, goro…’, expressing the mourning for the youth which is gone never to return – thus, everything that came before it could be perceived as a sequence of memories. In this context, the beginning of the Cherubic song from the Liturgy of St John Chrisostome represents the search for comfort in the spiritual and heavenly spheres. However, the final appearance of the motive of love and longing, remains alone, lonely and uncomforting.

The piece was originally written for the ensemble of nine cellists founded by Ivan Poparić, a cellist and professor at the School of Music Mokranjac. The piece was immediately rearanged for the string orchestra and that version was premiered by the St George Strings and the conductor Petar Ivanović, on May 20th 1998 at the Kolarac Hall.