Jakov Gotovac was born on November 11, 1895 in Split (his origins are from Vinovo Gornje, village in Dalmatian Zagora), Croatia, and died on October 16, 1982 in Zagreb, Croatia. He was a composer and conductor of classical music. He is the author of the most famous Croatian opera, the comic Ero s onoga svijeta ("Ero the joker"), which first played in Zagreb in 1935.
Gotovac was born in Split and initially had little if any formal education in music. Jakov was fortunate to be encouraged and supported by Josip Hatze, Cyril Metoděj Hrazdíra and Antun Dobranić who instilled him with a nationalistic orientation in music. He started as a law student in Zagreb, but switched to writing music in 1920. In Vienna, he studied in the class of Johan Marx.
Back home, in 1922 he founded the Philharmonia Society in Šibenik. In 1923 he moved to Zagreb, where he kept working both as conductor and composer until his death. Between 1923 and 1958, he was opera conductor in the Croatian National Theatre (Hrvatsko narodno kazalište), and leader of an academic musical society Mladost, and of the choir Vladimir Nazor.
The best-known piece of work of Gotovac is no doubt Ero, which has been performed on all five continents except Antarctica and Australia and translated into nine languages, with its libretto written by Milan Begović. It has been performed in more than 80 theatres in Europe alone. He also wrote numerous other works for orchestra as well as vocal music, piano pieces, and others.
In his works, Gotovac represents the late national romanticism, with national folklore being the main source of ideas and inspiration. Musically he prefers homophonic textures, and fairly simple harmonic structures in keeping with the folk idiom he admired.
Simfonijsko kolo (Symphony kolo) op.12 1926
Pjesma i ples s Balkana (Song and dance from the Balkans) op.16 1939
Orači (Men and ploughs) op.18 1937
Guslar (Gusle player) op.22 1940
Dinarka (Lady from Dinara) 1945
Plesovi od Bunjevaca (The dances from Bunjevci) 1960
2 Scherzos 1916
2 pjesme za muški zbor (two songs for men's choir) 1918
2 pjesme čuda i smijeha (2 songs of wonder and joy) 1924
Dubravka. Pastorale for Choir & Orchestra, text from Ivan Gundulić op. 13 (1927-28)
3 momačka zbora (3 boy choirs) 1932
Pjesme vječnog jada (Songs of eternal sorrow) (1939)
Pjesme zanosa (Songs of excitement) 1955
Vocal solo works
Djevojka i mjesec (A girl and the moon) for alto & orchestra 1917
Erotski moment za glas i glasovir (erotic moments for voice & piano) 1929
2 Sonate za bariton i orkestar (2 sonatas for baritone & orchestra) 1921
Pjesme djevojčice za jedan glas i glasovir (Songs for girl's voice & piano) 1923
Gradom za glas i glasovir (Through the town for voice & piano)
Rizvan-aga za bariton i orkrstar (Rizvan-aga for bariton & Orchestra 1938
Pjesme čežnje za glas i orkestar (Songs of passion for voice & orchestra) (1939)
Morana op. 14 (1928-30)
Ero s onoga svijeta (Ero the joker) op. 17 (1933-35)
Kamenik op. 23 (1939-44; UA 1946)
Mila Gojsalića op. 28 (1948-51; UA 1952)
Đerdan op. 30 (1954-55)
Dalmaro op. 32 (1958; UA 1964)
Stanac op. 33 (1959)
Petar Svačić. Opera-Oratorij (opera orathorium op. 35 (1969; 1971)
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