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Music Review Jovanović presents modernism on piano in "Bright Moods"

Milica Jovanoic.jpg

Milica Jeleča Jovanović’s newest recording is a wonderful album entitled “Bright Moods” that combines 20th century known composers with less known 21st century composers in a way that is exciting and dynamic.

Jovanović is a Serbian born pianist, who studied in Michigan, is now a Professor of Piano and Keyboard Coordinator at Western Washington University.  This album features compositions from fellow faculty members at Western Washington, including Roger Briggs and Lesley Sommer. 

Bright Moods begins with Sergei Prokofiev’s wonderfully ecstatic composition Sarcasms.  Known for his Piano Concertos that changed ideas about composition, this piece shows just how different Prokofiev’s concepts were.  A great piece to start off the album, the tone is definitely bright. 

Though Igor Karača’s Nocturne begins with tension chords slammed in odd rhythms, most of the rest of the piece is Chopin-inspired with beautiful melodies that float around the piano.

Roger Brigg’s one movement Impromptu is a wonderful piece that falls perfectly between two 20th century pieces.  There is a hint of a tonal center, and the piece seems to revolve around “unhurried contemplation”.    Lesley Sommer, also a professor of composition at Western Washington University, present the premier recording of her Five Pieces on Poems by Robert Frost.  Both energetic and soothing, the movements give the sense of some one relating poems to their own life in a distracted, stream of consciousness way.

Jocanović’s playing is perfect for this new era of music, and without hesitation can switch from smooth, thoughtful melodies to the craziness of Prokofiev and others. The recording ends with Bartók’s Out of Doors, a piece that combines modernism with a hint of Hungarian ethnic music.   The recording represents all the Jovanović could have hoped, a perspective on modern music that shows the many moods of 20th and 21st century composers.