STUDIES AND RESEARCH
Nikica Kalogjera: Themes, Evolution and Constants of an Film Composer
The composer Nikica Kalogjera works mostly
in the area of pop music. He used to be a pianist in popular
ensembles, he conducted the Dance Orchestra of the Zagreb
Radio and Televison and produced sound carriers. Also,
he organized pop music festivals. Kalogjera is the author
of popular melodies, chansons and children’s songs, but
also of theatrical music and music for children TV-series.
It is less-known that Nikica Kalogjera composed soundtracks.
In his filmography we can find seven feature films, four
of which were directed by Obrad Gluščević. Therefore, we
decided to analyse two Nikica Kalogjera’s film scores made
for the films of this director: Naked Man and Captain
The score for the film Naked Man brings a number
of theme songs with one prominent main theme. One could
also easily recognize less important parts, such as Špiro’s
theme, neobaroque music for mister Tanto, children’s songs,
street tunes with Italian sound, Dalmatian close-harmony
singing and so on. The main characteristic of Kalogjera’s
music for the film Naked Man is its functionality.
The music supports the story of the film, but because of
the fragmentary quality of the film which is made of a
number of episodes, the music itself seems fragmentary
The problem of the integrity of the score unresolved
in the film Naked Man because
of the fragmentary quality of the story, Nikica Kalogjera
solved much more successfully with the music for the film Captain Mikula Mali.
In the film Captain
Mikula Mali there is only one main theme, that confirmed
Kalogjera’s tendency to write monothematic scores, which
was noticeable in Naked Man as well.
Comparing the two film scores, Naked Man and Captain Mikula Mali,
except for monothematic quality, we discover some other
constants that are the standards of Nikica Kalogjera’s
composer style. These are: frequent neutrality of musical
parts, timpani as main musical instruments for creating
drama and tension, melodic, harmonic and formal simplicity,
firm reliance on tonality, frequent use of sequences, simple
rhythmic and melodic varying of themes and motives, literal
The comparison between the music for the films Naked Man and Captain
Mikula Mali also points to some important positive
changes which show the development of Nikica Kalogjera
as a film composer. The changes relate in the first place
to creating an impression of the integrity of a film
and the way of making leitmotivs.
In the film Naked Man musical themes and sometimes
even whole pieces of music are literally transferred from
one scene to another and they appear in a sequence in only
just one part of the film, so that their quality as leitmotivs
is questionable. In the film Captain Mikula Mali the
theme of grandfather and Mikula appears each time in a
slight variation, and since it is regularly distributed
in the film, it is clear that it represents a real leitmotiv.
The problem of musical cohesion in the film Naked Man which
results from its general fragmentary structure, does not
exist any more in the film Captain Mikula Mali. Since
one theme was created clearly, musical score was also created
clearly, though monothematically.