Journeys through time and space guided by the piano music of Bartók, Briggs, Karača, Prokofiev and Radić

Béla Bartók, Roger Briggs, Igor Karača, Sergei Prokofiev, Dušan Radić, Vladan Radovanović, Lesley Sommer


Includes World Premiere Recordings



“[Fanfare reviewer] Colin Clarke was enthusiastic about this collection when he reviewed it in Fanfare 36:2, and for good reason. Or, more accurately, for two good reasons. First, the repertoire—five unfamiliar postwar works (including three first recordings) sandwiched between two early 20th-century staples—is simultaneously attractive and offbeat, an ideal program for a pianist trying to make a name for herself… everything here is well worth savoring. Second, as is obvious from just the first minute or so of the Prokofiev Sarcasms, Milica Jelača Jovanović is a superb pianist of tremendous character. Clarke referred specifically to her “ability to change mood instantaneously”—and her quick reaction time was the first quality that struck me, too. A supremely responsive musician, she’s capable of rapid shifts of touch, ready to move from passages of tremendous vigor and rhythmic kick to moments of seductive suppleness, equally at home in passages of sunlit simplicity and in the heaviest proclamations. Her fingers are strong and she manages to toss off the most complex rhythmic superimpositions with startling clarity. She’s got a splendid sense of color, too, which allows her to make the most of the night-music in the first movement of the Sommer and the fourth of the Bartók. Good engineering—and excellent notes… quite a CD. Warmly welcomed.”
Peter J. Rabinowitz, Issue 36:6, Fanfare [July/Aug 2013]
“Here’s a CD that grabs the listener’s attention from the first note and doesn’t really let go until the last... I also like [Jovanović’s] playing—quite a bit, in fact. She not only has the usual fine technique (what pianist today doesn’t?) and good styling, but also a sense of humor, something even rarer than her other fine quality, a sense of drama… I have to say that this is an outstanding disc and I, for one, will be listening to it again.”
Lynn René Bayley, Issue 36:6, Fanfare [July/Aug 2013]
“[this is a] rich, unusual, well-recorded program of 20th Century piano music. Bartok’s Out of Doors Suite and Prokofiev’s Sarcasms are familiar; but the contemporary Slavic piece are not, and many of them are rewarding, especially Igor Karaca’s poetic, impressionist Nocturne and Dusan Radic’s Three Preludes, the last of which has a soaring Schumann-esque romanticism. Leslie Sommers’s Five Pieces on Robert Frost have a sharp sense of design and concision the poet would have appreciated... Milica Jelaca Jovanovic plays with sardonic wit in the Prokofiev, fantasy in the Briggs, wistful lyricism in the Radovaninik, and majesty in the Radik. She is never predictable: her Prokofiev is fierce, but Bartok’s Out of Doors is more restrained and poetic than usual, with a Lento that is both spooky and witty. She has a crisp sonority and a highly sophisticated rubato. Under her fingers, every phrase is fresh and interesting.”
Sullivan, American Record Guide [March/April 2013]
“thoughtful music-making, much of it with a certain Slavic intensity… Ms. Jovanović seems highly responsive to the work of her compatriots… The recording, set down in a hall in Belgrade, is close-up, powerful…[there is] intelligent musicianship on display here.”
Lee Passarella, Audiophile Audition [7 February, 2013]
“Jovanović injects a nice bite into her Prokofiev. Her true sense of rhythm enables her to give convincing rubato in the second of the set, while the Allegro precipitato, the third movement, is nicely explosive. Here would be a good place to comment that the disc is very well recorded indeed, conveying the intensity of the pianist’s playing throughout. The sense of mystery in this music is likewise honored… Jovanović has chosen six (out of 24) preludes by the Belgrade-born composer Vladan Radovanović [who] could hardly wish for a better champion than Jovanović, whose ability to change mood instantaneously stands her in good stead here. The harmonies can seem elusive, elided, which adds to the mystery and fascination of this curious (in the positive sense) music… If the name Briggs seems out of place here, his Impromptu slots in remarkably well. It was composed directly at Jovanović’s request, and is a piece that unfurls at its own laidback pace before a savage interjection (realized most excitingly here) wakens it from its stupor… Finally, some Bartók, an exciting, eminently musical account of Out of Doors… Overall, then, a most intriguing disc."
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [November/December 2012]
“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’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 that Jovanović could have hoped for, a perspective on modern music that shows the many moods of 20th and 21st century composers.”
Elise Seifert, WHQR Radio [15 November, 2012]

Born into a family of accomplished musicians in Belgrade, Serbia, Milica Jelača Jovanović began giving recitals at the age of 8. She later earned a Master of Music Degree and Artist Diploma at the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow and a Doctorate in Piano Performance at the University of Michigan. In 2003 she won First Prize at the 23rd Bartók-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev International Piano Competition. Currently an Associate Professor of Piano and Coordinator of the Keyboard Area at
Western Washington University, Ms. Jelača Jovanović has appeared as recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician in many venues in the United States, Canada and Europe and has recorded frequently for radio and television. She was invited to give a recital at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series and has been profiled in Gordana Krajačić’s Muzička Pinakoteka. In 2006 she organized the Schumann Madness Festival to mark the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death; in the festival, she performed in several solo and chamber recitals, and as soloist with the orchestra.

SARCASMS OP. 17 (1912-14)
Allegro rubato
Allegro precipitato

IGOR KARAČA (b. 1974)
Dedicated to Milica Jelača Jovanović
World Premiere Recording

A major
E minor
C minor
C-sharp minor
A minor
F-sharp minor

ROGER BRIGGS (b. 1952)
Dedicated to Milica Jelača Jovanović
World Premiere Recording on acoustic instrument, as intended by the composer

DUŠAN RADIĆ (1929-2010)
Allegro con moto

World Premiere Recording
Acquainted with the Night
Secret Interlude 1
Secret Interlude 2
Come In

BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945)
OUT OF DOORS, SZ.81, BB.89 (1926)
With Drums and Pipes: Pesante
Barcarolla: Andante
Musettes: Moderato
Musiques Nocturnes: Lento
The Chase: Presto

MSR Classics