Last December I had the luck to experience Anže Rozman’s composition – Phoenix, performed live by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra as well as by the incredibly gifted 21-year-old flautist Eva-Nina Kozmus. The concert was conducted by George Pehlivanian in Cankar Hall, Slovenia’s largest convention, congress and culture center.
You can enjoy the full live recording of Phoenix below and read more about how it all came about:
When I spoke with 26-year-old Slovenian composer Anže Rozman and flautist Eva-Nina Kozmus both before and after the concert, they told me how the composition was originally written especially for Eva-Nina after she had won the prestigious Eurovision Young Musicians contest in 2010. Since 1982, the contest has been held in different European cities and till today, she remains the only Slovenian musician to have ever won. You can listen to the original flute and piano version on Anže’s official Youtube channel.
Phoenix has since been performed over 200 times by various flutists and pianists from around the world. Anže also told me about how he tried to reach an even broader audience which led to Phoenix‘s orchestral version: “I did the first orchestration of the piece in 2013, then another version in 2014 and the final version in August 2015. I desperately wanted to get the piece performed and it took me 2 years of sending the score to orchestras to finally get it on stage.”
Phoenix is a four movement rhapsodic composition that talks about “the life cycle of the Phoenix,” as Anže told me. When writing each movement he had a very specific story in mind but instead of giving away his own story, he would prefer everyone to experience her or his very own adventure whilst listening to his (Anže’s) composition. Furthermore, Anže told me about the changes he made during the process of turning Phoenix into an orchestral piece. He also had some additional notes about the version you hear in the recording on Soundcloud:
I kept the structure, melodic lines and harmony almost exactly the same as in the original piano and flute version, so this truly is an orchestration of my own work. Keep in mind though, that the flute was sadly a lot less heard in the live performance since some of my orchestration was too big, so I do plan on making another version. On the first orchestral rehearsal I have already taken out a lot of orchestral parts to make the flute stand out more. Please also take into account, that this is not meant to be a flute concerto, but more a story where the flute plays the role of the Phoenix itself, while the orchestra creates the world in which the Phoenix lives.
I hope you enjoy Phoenix as much as I did last month in Ljubljana. Anže Rozman is definitely a composer to follow in the future and you can do so on Anže’s official website, on Facebook as well as on Souncloud where you also find the full audio recording of Phoenix.
You can get some other good impressions of the concert from the photos below: