Sanja Alexandra Stefanovic

Johannes Brahms. What are your first thoughts when you hear his name? When I was a child, I would sit in my solfeggio class staring at the famous photo of Brahms in front of me. Gray hair, long gray beard, tired eyes, and quite a big man. I was too young to start playing his music, but I would ask to listen to it. Dark, profound, sensitive music, with harmonies that were beyond those of composers I played at that time.

My first Brahms was op. 9 , very early composition, young Brahms, madly in love with Clara Schumann. Variations on theme given by Robert Schumann, we have Clara´s composition on that particulat theme too. I fell in love with that music, it was passionate, dark, exciting just the music for a 20 years old! After , I would play his piano concerto, his Impropmtues, and also this one by him arranged composition - on his own sextett! D minor, I often ask myself how much of this dark and heavy key (it is how my perception) is the morror of Brahms´s soul.

                                   Photo credit @Wikidata

Enjoy the monumental work! He surely has arranged virtuoso to be executed on the piano, using full range of piano technique!

Recorded in Belgrade Filharmonic Concert Hall by Boris Bunjac, all rights reserved @PianistSanjaStefanovic.

"...Cold and regretless shalt thou view this sphere,                           
Where crime’s inseparable from fate,
Where beauty only blossoms to grow sear,
Where all is miserable, where, without fear
No one can either love or hate.
Know’st thou, Tamára, what is mortal love?
A febrile movement of the blood!
Years roll away—the pulse can scarcely move,
Love’s wither’d branches cease to bud.
Who can resist new beauty’s luring bait?
Who, parting, never shed a tear?
Who can withstand the tedium of fate,
The weariness of all things here?
No, my beloved, believe, ’tis not thy lot
To perish in a living grave,
In silence, languish on this narrow spot,
Of brutal jealousy the slave....”

Having small hands, this particular etude-tableau was never meant to be music piece I would perform on the concert stage, regardless record it and even be chosen by the Horowitz Piano Competition to compete!
Stunning pianistic technique of Rachmaninoff, him having such beautifull hands, long fingers, he could play everything. My hands are small but very elastic, with long fingers. Yet, I did not experience any difficulties in performing this study. The harmonies are natural, distributing powerful expression that reminds me of the poetry of my favourite poet Mikhail Lermontov.
This particular poem mirrors in this E flat minor music for me. The dark colours of words painting the dark colours of E flat minor key, with some eastern motives, a journey of passion and pain, those delights of sincere love.
Enjoy the power of music and poetry, the marriage made in heaven!

Recorded in Cologne, Germany on Steinway D grand-piano with Mazen Murad.

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"They opened a gate of wrought ivory, and i found myself in a watered garden of seven terraces. It was planted with tulip-cups and moonflowers, and silverstudded aloes. Like a slim reed of crystal a fountain hung in the dusky air. The cypress-trees were like burnt-out torches. From one of them a nightingale was singing." A House of Pomergranates by Oscar Wilde

This afternoon we pick up the II movement of op. 31, No. 2 G major Beethoven Sonata

It is my favourite Sonata. Famous op.31, but the No. 2 in D minor, known as Tempest, or a pastoral one No. 3, but this one, No. 1 G major, with utterly beautiful II movement is not to be heard so much in concert halls. In a form is almost like a Theme and Variations. Beethoven was a very skilled in improvisation and as a teacher he would require from students to start the piano lesson with a classical improvisation. This Adagio grazioso is built up on improvising, each time offering new layers of piano technique, using the piano key in full length in a physical way, to bring the colourfull overtones out.

Beethoven loved the nature, he would take long strolls. His passion was the river Rhine, obviously reminding him of his homeland. When I first saw Rhine travelling on a train, in the early moorning of an early summer three decades ago, I could understand suddenly Beethoven´s  Adagio grazioso! It was this music that was playing in my head and in my heart.

I hope you can enjoy this music as much as I and recording team  did at the filming and recording set. The baby grand is Ibach cabinet from 1890s. It is one-take-video recording.

Let us meet here in ten days! Your thoughts are welcome in the section Guest book or per email.

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"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."    Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry                       

This evening we pick up The Eccentrics by georgian composer Giya Kancheli                    


This music brings back memories. Studying in Odessa (at that time USSR) I got acquainted with Soviet movies that happen to have amazing music, at least I fancied it always. In December 2022 I started to read the scores of 33 simple pieces for piano by Giya Kancheli, famous Georgian film music composer who recently died in Brussels, and I could not stop. I requested to record them. The Eccentrics (original movie titel Sherekilebi) reminds me of a tango. It’s a story about an orphan who leaves his town to persue happiness, and on that journey he falls in love with pretty Margalita and goes to jail to save her. There he meats his teacher who dreams to build a flying machine. They decide to build one and break out of prison. Utterly romantic.

At the first reading, the mininature resembles to a theatre music. I imagined the puppet theatre, music has strict almost straight lines. Even mechanical. First bars could be mistaken for a waltz even! Colourfull harmony, sometimes close to edge, as the music is minimalistic. Architecture of a miniature piece could be compared to a tiny living space, where each piece of furniture must have a place. Otherwise there is no harmony. Little notes and few colourfull cords needed to have a dedicated space in time, which is so important in music, and also to keep the roundness and flexibility of music .

Miniatures are my passion, being in a form of objects, being in literature, especially in the music. We firstly think of Chopin and his Mazukras, but I think more of Scriabin, that poet on piano from XX century. I would wish Giya would live today so i could ask him wether Scriabin influenced him with his peotry, his singing little notes and his edgy harmonies?

I hope you can enjoy this music as much as I and recording team  did at the filming and recording set. The baby grand is Ibach cabinet from 1890s. It is one-take-video recording.

Let us meet here in ten days! Your thoughts are welcome in the section Guest book or per email.

Guest Book