Giovanni Giornovich 'London Concertos'

Giovanni Giornovich was one of the most colourful and popular violin virtuosos of his day. Apparently of Croatian descent, he was seemingly known by a different name in every country he toured (Ivan Jarnović and Giovanni Giornovichi, among some thirty variants), deliberately making the most of his mysterious origins.

More mysterious still is why these concertos – full of wit, charm and character, and redolent of the international musical life of Haydn’s London in the 1790s – should have waited so long to be recorded. Modern-day virtuoso Bojan Čičić and his Illyria Consort, fresh from their triumphant revival of the sonatas of Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli on Delphian, are ideal champions to bring this delightful music back to life.

"Čičić acquits himself well in the tricky violin writing, and the lean-sounding Illyria Consort is on its toes."

"Čičić is a clean and assured soloist, well on top of the technical, often high-lying writing Giornovich puts his way. The tone of his period violin will sound thin to people used to modern-instrument Beethoven Romances, but it doesn’t take long to adjust. The Illyria Consort is a small orchestra without sounding particularly so on this recording … this disc is well worth hearing, especially for fans of the Classical period."

"One of the year’s most enjoyable discs..."

"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."

"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."

"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 theDelphian 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!"


"A thrilling musical discovery…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."


Producer: Paul Baxter
Recording dates: 20-22 June 2018
Physical format: CD
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 11
Release date: 22 March 2019
Total playing time: 1:05:46
Album ID: DCD34219

Featured interview

Bojan Čičić on Giovanni Giornovich

The violinist talks to Presto Classical's Katherine Cooper about the shifting identities of Giornovich.

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