Bojan Čičić violin, The Illyria Consort
Concertos 13, 14 & 15, Villageoises de Julie with five variations
I rarely comment on CDs with which I have had the slightest involvement, but very, very occasionally, there is such a disconnect between one’s impression of music as one is typesetting it (and inevitably hearing it played back by the computer) and the reaction to hearing the finished results that it is impossible not to write something. I have been aware of Bojan as an ascendent artist for many years and have followed his rise to some of the most important jobs on the HIP scene; what I not realised until I heard this recording is just what a fantastic violinist he actually is! Eager to champion one of Croatia’s most important musical figures of the classical period, he and his augmented Illyrian Consort present world premiere recordings of three violin concertos (two in A and one in E), which he augments with a set of solo variations on a folk tune. The performances are world class – especially impressive is the impeccable upper register, string crossing virtuosity. The modest band provides perky, upbeat tuttis and a warm, rich halo to the solos; they accompany, but not in some artificial, sempre piano way – they are as much part of the venture as the heroic soloist. The whole is captured by the Delphian engineers and editors with remarkable clarity and precision – somehow they have achieved presence without being invasive, the sound is immediate without capturing Čičić’s breathing. Playing of this calibre deserves nothing less!