Vlastimir Trajković

Vlastimir Trajković (1947, Serbia) acquired his BA (1971) and MA (1977) degrees from the composition class of Vasilije Mokranjac at the Academy of Music in Belgrade. He also attended Witold Lutosławski’s summer course in Grožnjan (Croatia) in 1977. With funding from the French government, in 1977–78 he studied with Olivier Messiaen. In 1971 he began teaching music theory subjects at Stanković School of Music and in 1980 joined the Faculty of Music in Belgrade as a professor of composition, where he headed the Department of Composition for many years. In 2000 he was admitted to the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts as a corresponding and in 2009 as a full member.

In Trajković’s oeuvre especially outstanding are his piano works, Four Nocturnes (1972) and Zvona (Bells), Op. 5, and Za početnike, dve etide za klavir (For Beginners, Two Piano Studies), Op. 9. In this domain of his work one may likewise recognise features of his personal style: crystal-clear forms, a striking, extremely expansive harmonic language, complex metres, as well as a refined feeling for instrumental and orchestral colour. The following pieces are also noteworthy: Tempora retenta, a symphonic study; Dan (Day), four orchestral hymns; Duo for piano and orchestra; Piano Concerto; Oboe Concerto; Pet lakih komada za harfu (Five Light Pieces for the Harp), Op. 22; Aria and Dance for Alto Saxophone in E flat and Piano, Op. 15; Ten Preludes for Guitar, Op. 10; Arion, New Music for Guitar and Strings; and Five Poems by Stéphane Mallarmé for voice and orchestra.

Works by Trajković are regularly performed on concert stages and broadcast on radio in Serbia and abroad, and many of them have been published by Serbian and foreign publishers. Trajković has won numerous awards, including the Stevan Hristić Award for his symphonic study Tempora retenta in 1971, Mokranjac Award for Piano Concerto in 1995, and the April Award of the City of Belgrade in 2006 for Five Poems by Stéphane Mallarmé for voice and orchestra, Op. 29.

The composition Three Impromptus for Piano, Op. 12 bis (1987) comprises the three central pieces from Trajković’s cycle of Five Impromptus for Piano, Op. 12 of 1983, whereas the first and fifth Impromptus were incorporated into his Three Piano Pieces, Op. 19, as the basis of that work. The two works differ from each other to a high degree. The former cycle, featuring a meditative, intimate character, with occasional jazz features, is one of the first instances of strict minimalism in Serbian music. The latter cycle exudes a different mood. It opens with a sharp and robust Affanato, expressionist in spirit, with a Messiaenic rhythmic energy. The second Impromptu is a dodecaphonic set of variations, while the third, Allegro molto, strepitoso, is a virtuosic and effective finale, with sharp rhythms, sudden accents, abrupt shifts in dynamic, and extended crescendi.

Three Piano Impromptus, Op. 12 bis
I Uguale lentissimo
II Allegro
III Adagietto

Three Piano Pieces, Op. 19
I Affannato
II Seriamente con discretezza
III Allegro molto, strepitoso