I have been aware of Bojan as an ascendent artist for many years and have followed his rise to some of the most important jobs on the HIP scene; what I not realised until I heard this recording is just what a fantastic violinist he actually is! Eager to champion one of Croatia’s most important musical figures of the classical period, he and his augmented Illyria Consort present world premiere recordings of three violin concertos (two in A and one in E), which he augments with a set of solo variations on a folk tune. The performances are world class – especially impressive is the impeccable upper register, string crossing virtuosity. The modest band provides perky, upbeat tuttis and a warm, rich halo to the solos; they accompany, but not in some artificial, sempre piano way – they are as much part of the venture as the heroic soloist. The whole is captured by the Delphian engineers and editors with remarkable clarity and precision – somehow they have achieved presence without being invasive, the sound is immediate without capturing Čičić’s breathing. Playing of this calibre deserves nothing less!
Early Music Review
The concertos begin in melodic, varied and sprightly fashion, losing some of their traction when the repeat comes round and Gornovich has nothing to add. His middles are more amoroso than adagio and the discriminating brain is not always bothered by how the thing is going to end. Nonetheless, it is utterly appealing, almost Haydn, the kind of thing Classic FM could play all night long.The baroque violinist Bojan Čičić gives it his all and the Illyria Consort sound a pretty good band. It’s perfect fodder for a supper quiz. Bet they all say it’s Haydn.
Norman Lebrecht ****
Bojan Čičić proves a highly compelling and convincing soloist throughout, playing both with passion and real exhilaration, and, most importantly, with a seemingly innate empathy for Giornovich’s music, and especially the way it might have been played at the time. For their part, the Illyria Consort provides the perfect accompaniment, achieving an ensemble of the very highest order, and maintaining impeccable balance with the soloist at every dynamic level.
Music Web International
Čičić is a clean and assured soloist, well on top of the technical, often high-lying writing Giornovich puts his way.
Bojan Čičić has this repertoire in his blood, and this shows in performances of exhilarating beauty. Indeed, his readings are consistently sophisticated and he never pushes things beyond what is really necessary to bring out the many gentle nuances of these pieces. The softly glowing Illyria Consort give sympathetic support. A thrilling musical discovery in superb sound quality and enriching annotations.
Classical Music Daily
Giornovich himself may have been a troubled, volatile character, but these three works from the 1790s radiate sunny, open-hearted optimism, with whispers of his friend Mozart’s amiable A major concerto creeping in here and there; Čičič’s honey-sweet tone recalls Dittersdorf’s remarks about the composer’s own particular beauty of timbre, and the folksy Villageoises de Julie (based on an air from an opéra comique by Nicolas Dezède) which closes the album is a delight.
Čičić's distinctive sound - sweet, slightly dry and exquisitely centred - is ideal for the taut beauty of Carbonelli's solo lines. Crucially, Čičić fleshes out the composer's ideas, filling rests and cadences with large dollops of his own making. His band helps him enormously, not least with their additions and sexy realisations. The future of the Illyria Consort is bright.
BBC Music Magazine *****
Given that the writing is not overtly flashy, Čičić’s easy, fluid perfection through their webs of double-stopped complexities merits mentioning…add tonal colour spamming the gamut from satisfyingly wiry to full and sweet, and it’s a full house of deliciousness, all of which is bolstered further by the varied palette of continuo colour on display from Čičić’s Illyria Consort colleagues…really, bravo to the whole.
It’s testament to Čičić’s artistry that you’re never aware of the difficulties being surmounted – fistfuls of the most awkwardly-written chords are dispatched with immaculate intonation and voicing, whilst the contrapuntal sections in the elaborate fugues have a clarity to rival the finest keyboard-player. I’d wager a tidy sum that I won’t be the only one to come away from this beautiful disc itching to hear more from both composer and performers.
Presto Classical Recording of the Year 2017
Cicic péttile, déclame, chante, orne et danse, prend du plaisir et le partage, tout en sachant lâcher la bride pour de grands moments méditatifs. En parfait osmose avec l'Illyria Consort, il offre les couleurs très personelles.
On tiens en Bojan Cicic un interprète de tout premier ordre: son phrasé coursif se coule sans difficulté parmi les festons et autres figures ornamentales dont regorge la partition. Pyrotechnique dans les finales, son violon déploie des accents lyriques d'une étonnante suavité pour un instrument ancient dans les mouvements lents... Réjouissant.
These performances are eloquent, engaging and really nicely ornamented. It’s one of my favourite discoveries this week.
BBC Radio 3 Record Review
Carbonelli's music is stately, taut and elegant in the hands of Bojan Čičić (a UK-based Croatian violinist) and his excellent Illyria Consort. They sound effortlessly stylish in these six chamber sonatas – Čičić makes even the high-wire showy stuff sing with a lyricism that is shapely, aerated and totally unforced.
The Guardian ****
Cicic and his ensemble every opportunity to shine … the playing [is] noteworthy. Splendid sound.
Classical Music *****
The music has a unique appeal – lively, restless, catchy and extremely well written. The long- forgotten Carbonelli is a major find by a boutique label, Delphian, a Scottish firm that rarely issues a dud disc.
Norman Lebrecht, Musical Toronto *****
On so many levels, this is a must-have CD. Fascinating music by a little-known composer, played with outstanding musical conviction by four excellent musicians.
Andrew Benson Wilson