Judita Award Split Summer Festival 2012
The Cantus Ensemble gave their very first performance at the Split Summer Festival and in Split itself in the summer of 2012. At the concert titled “Composers from Split in the 20th and 21st-century music” held at the lovely venue of Meštrović’s Crikvina they presented the Ensemble, their performing capabilities, as well as their aesthetic outlook, passion and spirit, through the works of masters from Split: Mirela Ivičević, Olja Jelaska, Frano Parać and Ruben Radica.
This premiere presentation was enough for the panel (made of Prof. Mirjana Siriščević Ph.D., Vice-Dean of the Arts Academy in Split, Prof. Vesna Alebić, Head of the Josip Hatze Music School and Prof. Mirko Krstičević, President of the Split Society for Contemporary Music) to unanimously award them the Judita Award of the daily Slobodna Dalmacija for their contribution to the repertoire of the 58th Split Summer Festival.
The Panel’s statement is as follows: This year’s competition contained one opera premiere – Verdi's Nabucco under the baton of Nikša Bareza – and six concerts that greatly differed both in genre and concept. Three of those concerts were on the shortlist for the award, each in its own way a valuable contribution to this year's music program. Concert of the Cantus Ensemble for Contemporary Music, conducted by Berislav Šipuš, brought before the audience a section of Split's composing creations from the 20th and 21st centuries. The International Ensemble Machetes presented to us El Cimarron, a very impressive work by the contemporary German author Hans Werner Henze, characterized by suggestive interpretations of artists and a functional stage movement with elements of acting. And the third concert on the shortlist was a full-length soloist recital by the cellist Kajana Packo accompanied by Javor Bračić on piano who performed pieces of classical repertoire from the 18th all the way to the 20th century; the young artist was certainly among the best soloists on this year's music program.
In view of the quality of performance and program concept the Panel has decided to give the Judita Award to the Cantus Ensemble and their director Berislav Šipuš. The Ensemble is made of excellent soloists that sound as a unified, well-played and balanced musical body under Šipuš’s baton. The program of the concert included compositions by contemporary composers from Split, but the challenge lay in bringing together four distinct and very different musical oeuvres whose only common feature is the authors’ origins. Olja Jelaska's Butterflies were presented through a series of suggestive music impressions; Ruben Radica’s exceptionally demanding piece Litany of All Saints for the Pope John Paul unveils the potentials of a single motif always coated in a new shade of instrumental color and dynamics that is blended in a unit of powerful gradation, Dominosa FFOOFF by Mirela Ivičević is characterized by a playful palette of chamber color, while aMemorie for voice and chamber ensemble by Frano Parać evoked the atmosphere of the Mediterranean landscape through an inspired interpretation of mezzo soprano Martina Gojčeta Silić.
In addition to their performance, the exceptional value of the Cantus’s concert lies in their program concept. Promotion of Croatian contemporary music, in our opinion, should become a norm, and in time also a tradition of the Split Summer Festival.