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Ante Cagalj » Music


Original compositions

Four Dances for guitar
Rodrigo in Zagora; St. Duje’s Bells; Song and Dance; Epilogue

Croatia is a small country with a very rich cultural heritage. The Adriatic Sea is the cradle of ancient civilizations and the Dalmatian coast is, from the geographical, historical and cultural point of view, a part of Mediterranean Europe just as the Pannonian Plain in the north belongs to Central Europe.

Croatian folklore is well known for its authenticity and variety. It is uncommon to find so much diversity in such a small space, but the diversity has resulted from mass migrations and influences from neighboring regions as much as from established artistic achievements (Gregorian chant is a fundamental part of the 4-voice polyphonic à capella folk songs from the Dalmatian coast).

Čagalj uses Croatian folk themes in his compositions. They recall several periods in his life: Rodrigo in Zagora presents his childhood memories from the rural region of Zagora. The main theme is ganga, a short and witty song. The text is rhymed and written in 10-syllabic double verse. These are satiric images of everyday life and human relationships. Ganga is performed by two voices which meet from time to time on the sour interval of the second. This interval is very often used by Joaquin Rodrigo, so this work is Rodrigo’s symbolic visit to Čagalj’s homeland which is only 50 kilometers from the Mediterranean town of Split and the Cathedral of St. Duje, Čagalj’s saint protector, inside the palace of the roman emperor Diocletian.

Themes from St. Duje’s Bells are taken from elegant city dances and music performed by city bands as in any other Mediterranean town.

Song and Dance introduces musical subjects from the northern region of Međimurje, with a pentatonic structure and melancholy atmosphere, intercepted by a joyful song from Zagorje and popular chanson from Zagreb, a typical Middle-European metropolis where the author lives and works at present.

The final movement, Epilogue, introduces a new song from Međimurje relating it to the preceding motives and making a beautiful conclusion to this musical life story.

Arrangements for the Zagreb Guitar Quartet

Old Masters

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
    • Die Kunst der Fuge BWV 1080 (printed score without Coral)
    • 8 Little Preludes and Fugues (BWV 553-560)
    • Preludes and Fugues: BWV 531, 532, 539, 541, 550
    • Prelude BWV 569
    • Fugues BWV 575, 578, 579
  • François Couperin
    • from Pieces de clavecin

20th Century

  • Samuel Barber: Souvenirs op. 28
  • Alberto Ginastera: Tres danzas argentinas
  • Darius Milhaud: Saudades do Brasil
  • Astor Piazzolla
    • Five Tango Sensations
    • Summit
    • Tristango, Violentango, L’evasion, Libertango, Lo que vendra, Fuga y misterio, Tristeza de un doble A, Vardarito

Spanish Music

  • Joaquín Turina: Cinco danzas gitanas op. 55 & op. 84
  • Francisco Tárrega-Jose Arcas: Jota Aragonesa
  • Federico Moreno Torroba: Estampas, Ráfagas

Jazz and Traditional

  • Oscar Peterson
    • The Laurentide Waltz
    • Land Of The Misty Giants
    • Place St. Henri
  • Traditional: Sephardic Jewish Folksongs
  • Dances from Split (Southern Croatia)*
  • Suite from Međimurje (Northern Croatia)*

Guitar Quartet with Orchestra

  • Luigi Boccherini: Guitar Quintet No. 4 in D, G. 448 “Fandango”


Website of Ante Čagalj, guitar pedagogue, composer and arranger.
Ante Cagalj