Kogoj's Compositional Beginnings

  • Borut Loparnik


In view of the seaveity of relevant material it is not possible to establish exaotly when the composer Marij Kogoj (1892–1956) started in a thorough and planned way to study music. Undoubtedly in Gorizia (Gorica), where he was attending secondary school, probably in the autumn of 1909, and probably without a regular teacher or any at all. So far it has also been unclear when he began with creative pursuits: for the texture of the first preserved works (from the year 1911) pointed out that were not the first. But a proof that this assumption was justified presented itself only through a find in the scholarly remains of the art historian Dr France Stele. Here were found several songs by Kogoj, two vignettes written under the pseudonym Zdenko Julijev, and two compositions under the pseudonym Veslav. Both were written in 1910 and are the earliest musical endeavours in written form so far known in the composer's opus. The first composition ("Ko poje zvon...", for chorus) was published in March 1910 as supplement to the "Alfa", a paper published by the secondary-school pupils in Gorizia, the second ("Naše geslo", for male chorus) was published in its supplement "Prvi cveti" by the students' monthly "Zora" in December in Vienna.  – To all appearances, these two choruses are not Kogoj's first compositional experiments ; Kogoj found them sufficiently good to permit himself an appearance in public. The differences which we can notice between the two works demonstrate that Kogoj was undergoing a very rapid development, above all without special models, but with his own intuition (similarly as in literary experiments which remained at a less elaborate level). Even if the two choruses have features undoubtedly characteristic of a beginner, they also show a few essential characteristics of the prospective creative artist: chordal substance of inspiration, developed motivic work, vivid rhythmic articulation, colour-sensitive harmonic ductus, and obvious (although not as yet perfected) concern for the formal equilibrium of the whole. In these germs of the future potential of the composer there already stands out as the central leading principle the logical and originally free way of variative thinking.


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How to Cite
LoparnikB. (1984). Kogoj’s Compositional Beginnings. Musicological Annual, 20(1), 19-45. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.20.1.19-45