Franjo Krežma – Romance in F Major for Violin and Piano

14 Apr

The 19th century audience was fascinated with a virtuoso: a performer who possessed both the meticulous technical skill and inspired interpretation. Around 1830, the biggest stars were the pianist Franz Liszt and the violinist Niccolo Paganini; they travelled Europe, held concerts, had many female admirers, the rich lavished them with jewels…

The biggest Croatian violinist of the 19th century was a very young man called Franjo Krežma (1862-1881), whose career was brilliant yet short. He was immensely popular and immensely talented; he entered the music Conservatory of Vienna at the age of nine – and he was the youngest student ever to enter, and finished his studies at the age of thirteen. He travelled Europe and held concerts along with his sister Ana, a great pianist, in many cities, from Rome, Genoa and Venice to Paris and Prague. In his short life he met Franz Liszt and Verdi, and some even saw him as Paganini’s successor. Still, after holding a concert in Germany, he suddenly experienced a sharp pain in his ear, and died following a surgery. He was only eighteen and a half years old.

Olof Johan Södermark, Maria Mathilda Moll, 1840-48

The more I listen to this, the more I like it, and the daydreams it evokes are of the sweetest nature: I picture myself standing on the balcony, in Livorno or Naples, leaned on the balustrade, dressed in a long white silk gown, cooling my self with a fan and admiring the beauty of the sunset. Sky shines in colours of amethyst and jade, and its warm rich colour could only be compared to the canvases of Venetian masters. My view stretches from tall cypress trees on the left, to a dreamy kaleidoscope of little houses, all the way to the sea which glistens in the distance; its surface is dark and alluring, and I can’t wait to see it bathed in moonlight. The whiteness of my gown takes on golden shades from the last rays of sunshine.

For a moment, just after the sun has set and before the music begins, everything is peaceful. I can almost hear the ruby red roses breathing in the evening air and exhaling the most luxurious fragrance. I can hear the whispers of the lonely cypress trees. I feel a soft, velvety breeze coming from the sea. If I turn around, I’ll see the saloon bathed in lightness and vivacity; candles are flickering, people are chatting and laughing, air is coloured with magical sounds of violin and piano, but to me the solitude of the balcony is sweeter than honey. A heavy scent of orange trees and lavender permeates the cool nocturnal air…

This is my daydream, what is yours? No need to tell me, but please, close your eyes, and I’m sure you’ll see something beautiful.

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4 Responses to “Franjo Krežma – Romance in F Major for Violin and Piano”

  1. Ameixa 15th April 2017 at 2:11 pm #

    This is so beautiful! The capacity to compose and play music is something that always amazes me, especially when the composer/musician is or was that young. It’s so unbelievable that a combination of sounds in harmony induce so many feelings in one’s soul!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 1810photography 16th April 2017 at 12:25 am #

    Your daydream of the music is so incredibly poetic and vivid!

    My personal daydream takes place at a ball – there is something about the way the instruments were recorded, there is a slight echo in it, that makes me imagine myself at a large candlelit English ball, very late at night, everyone dressed in their best gown. I did not wish to go to the ball that night; I am lonely and a little drunk and ready to leave. Then the music begins, the opening piano chords, the violin; their power stuns me, I decided to sick around a little longer. As the melody continues I am walking about, my hands behind my back, admiring the blackness of the night as I gaze up through the large arched windows. I wonder who wrote this lovely music, I think to myself. And then as I turn my head to my left, I see standing at the balcony a young lady, alone and in a white gown, staring down at the laurel trees below. There is something so mysterious about her, I can tell her features are not English like the other women. I notice she is crying, and it pulls at my heart’s strings. I go out to the balcony to stand by her. “Forgive me for prying, Ma’am, but why are you crying?” I ask, as I hand her my handkerchief.

    “It is the music,” she answers, her voice inexplicably low and with a thick, silky accent from some far off land. “It is the music of the great Franjo Krežma, the greatest composer of my country. He died a most tragic death yesterday. They are playing his music in his memory.”

    “Then allow us to celebrate his memory with a dance,” I say, and I take her hand and lead her to the center of the room ….. As we dance, her tears warm my neck and I breathe the fragrance of distant cypress trees and ruby red roses in her hair…..

    Liked by 1 person

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