Dora Pejačević

Dora Pejačević: Piano Concerto, Op. 33; Symphony in F sharp minor, Op. 41

Peter Donohoe; BBC Symphony Orchestra; Sakari Oramo

CHSA 5299
1 SACD
29/04/2022
CHANDOS

Countess Mária Theodora (Dora) Paulina Pejačević was born in September 1885 in Budapest. Young Dora grew up with all the advantages of an aristocrat: a fairy-tale life of opulent palaces set in idyllic landscapes; privilege, comfort, leisure, and wealth. From an early age she defied convention and walked her own path, one that eventually led her to ‘despise’ the aristocracy. Her father, Count Teodor Pejačević, a lawyer, held several high posts, including that of Civil Governor of Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia (1903 – 07). Her mother, Lilla Vay de Vaya, an ‘exceptionally beautiful’ Hungarian countess, was a gifted pianist and singer, and a fine amateur artist. Her parents arranged private lessons with teachers at the Music School of the Croatian Music Institute, at Zagreb, which lead to further instruction in Dresden and Munich. Dissatisfied with the ‘limits’ of her formal studies, Pejačević pursued her own intensive course of self-instruction in composition. Having taken her music education into her own hands, she set off to enrich and broaden her intellectual horizons, travelling to cultural centres in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. During these travels, she came to know the leading artists, poets, and intellectuals of the day. The Piano Concerto was her first orchestral composition, and the first piano concerto by any Croatian composer. She composed the Symphony in F sharp minor during the first world war, whilst also working as a volunteer nurse. For its first complete performance, in 1920, she revised the work, which is here recorded in this final version.