Arsenije Jovanovic
Galiola - Works for Radio, 1967-2000

[FO A RM, and/OAR / Alluvial,]

From what I understand, "Galiola" is the first time Serbian theatre, radio and TV director Arsenije Jovanovic has been made available to the public at large. Four pieces presented here [two from 1967, one from 1990 and one from 2000] each range in their diverse approach to the subject at hand. "Prayer for One Galiola" [1967] is a radio work the composer dreamt up while he was hospitalized following a serious car crash. Recorded in mono, the piece is full of dialogue that mixes in with effects of water crashing all around. Sense of being lost and desperation is evident throughout. Composed the same year, "Tombstones Along the Roadside" is taken from a theatre production put on in a small, provincial theatre. Many of the texts are taken from tombstones of soldiers killed in battlefields, while others were borrowed from popular children's games and songs. Barren in its appearance, the piece is a call out for reflection and points the way to the holocaust that occurred in Serbia two decades later. 1990's "Prophecy of the Village Kremna" was used by Terrance Malik in the soundtrack to his film "The Thin Red Line". Based on an old prophecy that foretells future catastrophes, the piece is overtly ominous, dappled in nothing but the blackest shades of black. Its eerie sounds prop the listener to pay close attention to the illusive gathering of sounds that unpredictably appear out of nowhere. Final piece on the album is "Les Vents du Camargue". Composed in 2000, this is a chapter of the Jovanovic's acoustic diary. Recorded in Arles at the church of St. Trophime, the sounds contained within the piece feature hollering winds, cricket sounds, rattling of metal cans and muffled voices. Rich experience has led each piece to stand completely well on its own accord. Kudos to Seth Nehil for the fine work on excavating these long-forgotten works. I'm salivating at the mere thought, knowing there's more in the vaults. Perhaps someone will dig up further treasures soon?

- Tom Sekowski

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