Nikica Kalogjera: from Musicals to Film Scores
Composer Nikica Kalogjera
mostly works in the field of popular music. He played the
piano in popular bands, conducted the Dance band of RTZ,
produced compact discs, and organised festivals of popular
music. Kalogjera also wrote popular melodies, chansons
and songs for children, as well as music for theatres and
children TV series.
It is less known that he has also composed
film music. His filmography includes seven motion pictures,
four of which directed Obrad Glušević. Thus, we decided
to analyse two of his scores from films directed by this
Man and Captain Mikula Mali.
The score for Naked Man has several themes among which
stands out the main theme, although we can easily recognize
even less important parts like Špiro’s theme, neo-baroque
music for Mr. Tanto, children songs, street themes with Italian
overtones, Dalmatian harmony-singing, etc. The main characteristic
of Kalogjera’s music for Naked Man is its functionality.
The score supports the film narrative, but since the film
is dissected into a series of episodes, the music itself
seems fragmentary and incomplete.
The problem of a coherent score, which remained
unsolved in the movie Naked Man due to the fragmentary
nature of the film, Nikica Kalogjera skilfully resolved
in the motion picture Captain Mikula Mali. Here
we encounter one main theme, which affirms Kalogjera’s
inclination towards writing monothematic scores, observable
already in Naked
Comparing film scores for Naked man and Captain
Mikula Mali, besides their monothematic quality,
we also reveal some other constants which appear as standards
of Kalogjera’s style of composing. These are: musical
pieces are often neutral, he uses timpani as basic instruments
for creating drama and tension, displays melodic, harmonic
and formal simplicity, has a firm base in tonality, frequently
uses sequences, makes simple rhythmic and melodic variations
of themes and motives, uses repetitions, etc.
The comparison of these two scores also
points to some positive changes that suggest that Nikica
Kalogjera has developed as a composer of film music. These
changes mostly refer to the creation of the impression
of coherence and the manner of forming a Leitmotif.
In Naked Man, musical themes, and
sometimes even whole musical parts, were transferred from
scene to scene. They appeared in sequence, only in one
part of the movie, so that their function of Leitmotifs
was rather questionable. In Captain
Mikula Mali, each time we hear grandfather’s and
Mikula’s theme it is slightly different, but since it
is spread over the film in orderly fashion it is obvious
that we are dealing with a true Leimotif.
The problem of cohesion, which in Naked Man arose
from film’s fragmentary structure, in Captain Mikula Mali no
longer exists. Clearly defining one theme, the composer
created one coherent monothematic score.