The Night of Slovene Composers |
Of all the numerous concerts of contemporary music in Vienna, the all-night event called The Long Night (Die lange Nacht) holds a special place in my memory. It differs from all others in particular, because the works performed were not selected on the basis of some narrow-minded view, by which they would have to follow a specific avant-garde style or direction of the moment. Rather, various styles were chosen and different characters of composers could shine through.
By doing this, the organisers circumnavigated successfully one of the greatest dangers of contemporary festivals: the striking similarity of all compositions, which makes it difficult to even distinguish between pieces without the help of the printed programme. In Ljubljana, the related event became The Night of Slovene Composers. Although the word "long" was not included in the title, the first concert lasted from 7 p.m. till ten past midnight. It took place in two halls simultaneously: in the great and the small concert halls of the Slovene Philharmonic.
In 2005 the Night will celebrate its 12th anniversary. Not only is this the longest concert taking place on the Slovene musical scene, it is also the most complete and unique annual presentation of Slovene contemporary creativity.
As a rule, the event takes place in the spring, but there have been exceptions: in 2001 the Night was incorporated into the International Violin Festival in Bled, and took place in July. Several times, the Night coincided with the Slovene Music Days. In most cases, it was hosted in the halls of the Slovene Philharmonic.
Each of the Nights presents an average of 30 compositions, most of which are new and are performed for the first time.
The Night has its own selection committee, whose members deal with the artistic side of the choice of compositions. Among the selectors were Alojz Srebotnjak, Maks Strmčnik, Peter Šavli and others. Whenever I was in charge of the programme choice myself, I was glad not to select and to be able to admit all the submitted works for performance, with those rare exceptions, when practical reasons such as no adequate performers being available, for instance, prevented a work from being performed.
I sincerely hope, that The Night will be well supported financially, so that more ambitious, bigger and diverse ensembles might be invited and the best of performers might be attracted to participate.