Boris Kovac

Anamnesis: Ecumenical Mysteries

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Anamnesis: Ecumenical Mysteries was Yugoslavian saxophonist/composer Boris Kovac's first release out of Europe (on the Canadian label Disques Victo). It was also his first work recorded in Yugoslavia following the war that forced him to an Italian exile for a few years. Back in his native town Novi Sad, he reformed his Ritual Nova Ensemble (disbanded by the war) and composed this suite in four parts and three intermezzos. The music does not have the same power of impact and emotional strength as his next album (East-Off Europe: Closing the Circle). Here, Kovac remained more meditative, as to accommodate the spiritual plot underpinning the work (an attempt at the synthesis of Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Islam, the three major religions of his country). The all-acoustic group (voice, reeds, violin, cello, piano, percussion) was recorded in a church, adding to the solemnity of the music. The atmosphere lies somewhere between modern chamber music (Ligeti) and the early albums of Art Zoyd and Univers Zero, mostly because of the sparse and martial use of percussion, and recourse to wide volume dynamics. Traditional dances are woven into the musical fabric (especially in "The Singing") and the warm voice of soprano Jaroslava Benka breathes a majestic soul into the work. Very beautiful and recommended, although Kovac's next album is more moving.

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