Boris Kovac

Play on String: Music for the Last Dinner

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Play on String: Music for the Last Dinner was the first album by Boris Kovac not to feature him as a performer. Originally written for the performance "STING and STRING -- First Touch" by choreographer Iztok Kovac, it is here performed by the Enzo Fabiani Quartet from Slovenia, where Boris Kovac emigrated during the Yugoslavian war in the mid-'90s. The instrumentation may be different and the form much more Occidental, but one doesn't need to work hard in order to find familiar elements from the composer's music with his ensemble Ritual Nova. The music on Play on String could be easily integrated into works like Anamnesis or East off Europe. The seven movements alternate between quasi-dances and slow pieces. All the lyricism of Kovac's soul, stemming from his life away from home as his beloved Novi Sad was being pummeled, is brilliantly put on display. The melancholia level goes through the roof on "Sacred Mechanic" -- its weeping melody would fit on one of Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s pieces. Even in its more lively passages, as in "Quasi Salsa" and "Quasi Begin," the music never becomes light. Kovac dances under the darkest clouds, scoffing at fate. His audacious harmonies and melodies of despair find a crystalline quality in the playing of the Enzo Fabiani Quartet. By all means start with his bigger projects, but if you like what you hear, please do not overlook this short gem.