Late Romantic Ecstasy
Vasilije Mokranjac was one of the most important Serbian composers of the second half of the twentieth century. His famous forebear Stevan Stojanović Mokranjac was one of the founders of the national style and a central figure in Serbian romanticism, while his father Jovan gained prominence between the world wars as an outstanding cellist and a cofounder of the Belgrade String Quartet. Mokranjac studied with Stanojlo Rajičić at the Belgrade Music Academy, where he was appointed Professor of Composition in 1956. Mokranjac composed five symphonies, three overtures, and various works of concert character as well as piano pieces and film and stage music. He was active in the field of chamber music mainly during his youth and years as a student. His creative path began in the context of late romantic poetry pervaded by elements from folk music. The String Quartet in D minor composed in 1949 is a work of powerful, late romantic ecstasy. The atmospheric spectrum displays dramatic, lyrical, and dance content developed within the framework of solid formal structures. The same poetic verve distinguished Mokranjac's compositions for violin and piano, in which he already displayed a bold personal signature. Since he himself had considerable pianistic capabilities at his command, he wrote extremely demanding piano parts for the accompaniment of the cantabile violin part. The piano served him as a means for the communication of his most intimate emotions and feelings.