Thursday, 2 December 2021

BBC Symphony Orchestra Plays Dora Pejačević, Croatia’s First Female Composer

Listen to the most famous works of Croatia's first female composer Dora Pejačević, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and pianist Nataša Veljković


BBC Radio 3 recently featured three works of Croatian composer Dora Pejačević in their Radio 3 in Concert musical programme. 

Named ‘Masterpiece Rediscovered’, this episode centers around Symphony in F sharp minor written by Dora Pejačević. It was broadcast live from the Barbican Hall and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra with conductor Sakari Oramo at the helm. 

Symphony in F sharp minor op.41 is considered to be the first modern Croatian symphony and one of the most distinguished works of Croatia’s first female composer.

The programme also features another famous work of Dora Pejačević, the piano cycle Blumenleben op.19 (The Life of Flowers). Performed by pianist Nataša Veljković, the opus consists of eight individual pieces inspired by different flowers associated with certain stages of life. 

Countess Dora was a member of the House Pejačević, an influential noble family who were based in Slavonia and counted high state officials, military officers and politicians among their ranks. 

Born in 1885, Dora Pejačević first received piano lessons from her mother at their family residence in Našice. She went on to study music privately in Zagreb, Dresden and Munich, but considering that she never studied continuously for a longer period of time, she’s considered to have been largely self-taught. 

She had written her first composition at the age of 12 and went on to compose 58 opuses with 106 compositions in total between 1897 and 1922. 

Her piano concerto (1913) is the first concerto ever written by a Croatian composer. 

Even though she’s known as one of the most notable Croatian composers of classical music and was a highly prolific creator, most of her work still hasn’t been published and given the recognition it deserves. 

Tune in to listen to the Symphony in F sharp minor on BBC. The recording will be available until December 26th, 2021 and also features Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major and two works of British composer Edward Elgar. 


Learn more about the family Pejačević and their two castles in Našice in this feature.


Tuesday, 5 October 2021

RK NEXE Plays in EHF European League Group C!

October 5, 2021 - Handball club NEXE from Našice will play in the EHF European League Group C!

Although the impressions have not yet subsided after the NEXE handball team made up for 6 goals against the Danish club Bjerringbro Silkeborg and qualified for the European League, the future is already being planned in Našice. The European League groups have been drawn in Vienna.


Slobodan Kadic

NEXE was in the last pot this time. Regardless, the draw could have been better. The Našice club is in group C with the German team Magdeburg, French PAUC, Swedish Savehof, Spanish Logron la Rioja, and Slovenian Gorenje from Velenje. Coach Branko Tamše was most pleased with the latter. Born in Velenje, he became a player at Gorenje and later started a very successful coaching career.


Slobodan Kadic

"We knew that all groups would be strong, but ours is very difficult with six different styles of play and therefore attractive. There will be everything; I am already looking forward to new matches. And now, slowly, game by game, we will prepare well for as many points as possible. I think the easiest is group D, and group B is like ours. It is what it is!" pointed out Tamše, who, together with his players, will enjoy the victory for a few more days.


Slobodan Kadic

NEXE begins in the European League Group C on October 19, visiting Provence in Aix against PAUC. Then, they will play at home against Savehof on October 26, a slightly more challenging opponent than last year's Alingsas, which NEXE defeated twice in the European League group last year. Savehof is the current Swedish champion.

NEXE will then make their fourth visit to Magdeburg (November 16). The draw put them in the same group for the second year in a row. Magdeburg went to the very end last season, so they will try to defend their title as European League champs.


Slobodan Kadic

A week later, NEXE will visit Logrono La Rioja in Spain. They are nominally the third-best club in Spain, behind the European champions Barcelona and Bidasoe Irun, and were knocked out by NEXE last year on their way to the European League.

The first round will close on November 30 against Velenje in Našice, and a week later, NEXE will play in Tamše's hometown, where the team prepared this summer.

Four teams from each group will advance to the round of 16. 

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Monday, 27 September 2021

EHF European League Qualifiers: NEXE against Bjerringbro - To Be or Not To Be?

September 27, 2021 - It will be NEXE against Bjerringbro in the second match of the second round of the EHF European League qualifiers in Našice on Tuesday. 

To be or not to be? That is the question. This is the simplest way to describe tomorrow's scenario of the EHF European League match between RK Nexe and Danish club Bjerringbro from Silkeborg, which will be played at 6:45 pm. To go further and achieve a real feat, Našice would have to make up for six goals. The NEXE handball players had two minus goals at halftime in Silkeborg. In the first attack, Mario Tomić reduced the lead to 16:15. After that, it was only -1, and less than half an hour later, the scoreboard showed 33:27 for the hosts.

With this result, the first match of the second qualifying round ended. Bjerringbro Silkeborg recorded a big six-goal difference ahead of the return match, played in Našice on Tuesday (September 28) at 6:45 pm. It is pretty clear that the NEXE has a difficult mission ahead, but not an impossible one. Some things need to be kept, like great goalie releases; first of all, Moreno Car kept NEXE in the game for 45 minutes. Halil Jaganjac was excellent again. Ten goals scored against the Danish runner-up were yet another one of his great performances. This confirmed that he is no longer just national team potential but already a player that coach Hrvoje Horvat and NEXE's Branko Tamše can rely on. The problem with Jaganjac was already two exclusions in the early phase of the game, in the first half. In general, playing with a player less and conceding goals on an empty goal was crucial in the first game against the Danes.


Slobodan Kadic

"I'm still talking with a hothead, but I think that they made less difference with our player. We fouled on two or three clean shots, hit the post, and instead of connecting, our shutdowns happened as well. Instead of scoring, we conceded goals on an empty goal three or four times. These gifts were not just given that way. They turned it into goals, and of course, morale, no matter how strong, must fall. We conceded too many goals. It is difficult when the Danish machine flies around the court," said NEXE coach Branko Tamše, who will not agree that the first half was good.


Slobodan Kadic

"The game is played for 30 minutes, and we were not great all 30 minutes. We were good as long as we had concentration and did what we agreed in both attack and defense. The goalkeeper also helped us then, but we didn't use it. First of all, in our transition, we were aggressive too few times, especially after good defense. And what now? Hope dies last. This is not a result that cannot be compensated. That is to be believed. And we believe that the NEXE players started believing in that as soon as they boarded the plane to return to Croatia."

He believes in a great turnaround.

"I already told the guys that we would be very, very prepared for the return match in a week. If they did it and beat six differences, then so can we. I firmly believe in that. Let us now realize all those posts and what went next to the goal. We hope to have a bit more breadth, but 16 who run against Silkeborg have to do everything to enter the EHF European League."

Tamše and his players are already inviting the audience.

"In Denmark, it smelled like victory, but as the match progressed, something was not good. We lost, but now we have to fix it and enter the group stage. Certainly, for every good goalkeeping defense, the defense is also important, i.e., teammates, so for me and my colleagues Radovanović and Kuzmanović it is imperative because then we are also good in our defenses," said Goalkeeper Moreno Car, adding that he counts on spectators and invites all fans to Našice because they also saw in Denmark how much the support from the stands meant to the hosts.

A real refreshment in NEXE's ranks is goalkeeper Dominik Kuzmanović from Dugo Selo, multiple Croatian champion at the cadet level and winner of the Dražen Petrović award as a member of the Croatian cadet national team that won gold at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku.


"I feel like I have been in NEXE for several years, my teammates have accepted me very well, and I am satisfied with Našice as a peaceful town. Although the summer was very successful for me, we won European silver at the cadet championships in Varaždin and Koprivnica. It remains a pity that we didn't get gold, but we will have two more competitions in the younger categories to be able to correct it," said Kuzmanović.

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Monday, 27 September 2021

New NEXE Website and Handball Arena Announced in Našice

September 27, 2021 - A new NEXE website, vision, and strategy for the Našice handball club was announced for the upcoming period. 

During the pandemic, but also otherwise, clubs rarely organize gatherings with journalists. Members of the "seventh force" are often considered a necessary evil, but the real shift in these relations was made by the leadership of RK Nexe from Našice. A gathering was organized in Feričanci, and a new vision and strategy of RK NEXE for the upcoming period were presented.


Slobodan Kadic 

Welcomed with the sparkling wine "Nice To See You," the facilities and the new cellar were toured, wine was tasted, and new projects were presented, especially the plans for the construction of the new Nexe handball Arena in Našice. Josip Ergović, president of RK NEXE, briefly explained the club's vision, strategy and goals, and organizational structure. Among the planned new projects, he pointed out working with young people - the launch of NEXE Academy 2.0 and the Mini Handball League, in which children from two Našice and seven regional primary schools should participate.


Slobodan Kadic 

J. Ergović was pleased to announce good news regarding infrastructure. Namely, following the plan and estimates, as many as three sports halls should be built in the next five years. This is a hall in Feričanci that would be used mainly by athletes and recreationists from the area of the Municipality of Feričanci. At the same time, the development of handball in that area would be encouraged. The construction of the hall should be financed by European funds from measure 7.4.1.


Slobodan Kadic 

In Našice, the plan is to build a smaller training hall for training purposes, which sports clubs would mainly use for the needs of their younger teams, and the construction will be financed by NEXE d.d.


Slobodan Kadic 

The largest and most significant investment would be the construction of the NEXE Arena, a modern arena-style sports hall with a capacity of 4,000 seats, which would provide the opportunity to hold competitions at the highest level. The construction company NEXE d.d., jointly financed with the City of Našice, Osijek-Baranja County, and state funds, and whether some other accompanying facilities will be built next to the hall has not been fully defined yet. The hall must be functional and beautiful, but, Ergović continues, there should be space for fitness, cafe, or restaurant so that people can gather and socialize there, said J. Ergović, emphasizing that they still thought about the pool. However, it is difficult to do because it makes the project very expensive.


Slobodan Kadic 

The new RK NEXE website was also presented, which was discussed by Milan Zdjelar from the German company COBE, which was hired to create the site and is also one of the club's sponsors. The site also contains a webshop where you can buy RK Nexe jerseys and T-shirts at affordable prices and souvenirs and match tickets. The joint gathering of journalists and representatives continued at the Goveđa glava site with a reception and tasting of Enosophia wine.


Slobodan Kadic 

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To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Samir Haj Barakat Begins Campaign for Našice Mayor

March 21, 2021 - Dr. Samir Haj Barakat presented his political campaign for Našice mayor in the upcoming local elections, which he will run with coalition partners from the HNS and HSS.

Peđa Grbin, President of the SDP, Sabina Glasovac, Vice President of the Parliament and Vice President of the SDP, Domagoj Hajduković, President of the SDP County Organization of Osijek-Baranja County and Member of the Croatian Parliament, and Romana Nikolić, Member of Parliament, all came out in support of Haj Barakat.


Slobodan Kadic

Samir Haj Barakat presented a strategy with a clear vision of the city as it should look in the next eight to ten years, a city with a university, a developed economy, incubators, and successful tourism. It is a city from which residents are emigrating. Entire young families are leaving due to lack of jobs and insecurity, and Našice is losing its cultural identity.

"Pejačević Square used to be written on the beautiful square that is being renovated. Along with Virovitica, only Našice has the right to have a square of that name. Now that square is called Dr. Franjo Tudjman Square. We do not think that he does not deserve his square, but we do think that the main square should be Pejačević for historical reasons. As a city councilor, I asked for tourist panels to be set up in the city, and the government put a fountain instead and showed where they see the development of Našice, not in the west, but in the east," Haj Barakat explained, emphasizing that the slogan "Heart to change" was chosen because the mind can be manipulated, but not the heart, just as the Croatian defenders defended the homeland with their heart and courage.


Slobodan Kadic

He also believes that it is necessary to encourage demographic recovery with free kindergartens and extended school stays, but also turning to eco-agriculture, opening a youth center, multicultural center, sports development, building a retirement home, encouraging energy efficiency to create the conditions for job creation, building a modern European society and city based on innovation, excellence and fostering diversity.


Slobodan Kadic

"Believing in Našice, which consists of hardworking, good and capable people, but also those disappointed, devalued and humiliated, with a pure heart and clear mind, I am ready to become mayor to change our city and make it the most beautiful and best city to live. Allow me to give our city a heart for change, a future that does not exist now," said Haj Barakat.

Peđa Grbin pointed out the pride in having people like Dr. Haj Barakat in their ranks, who work diligently for society's benefit and offer changes for the better.


Slobodan Kadic

"Neither Samir nor I see politics as the realization of their personal ambitions. If you are a doctor, you do not enter politics because of some personal status or to live more comfortably, but to redirect your will, energy, and knowledge to your community's betterment. The community's betterment also means ensuring that the people of Našice pay for utilities at an acceptable price and not, as now, to pay for almost the most expensive water in Croatia. The betterment of the community means that the mayor works from morning to night to attract investors, entrepreneurs and provide jobs for fellow citizens," said Grbin, adding that the great problem of Našice is the emigration of young families where the government offers excuses and never answers.

Sabina Glasovac from Našice has known Samir Haj Barakat her whole life because they grew up together. She appreciates him because he has remained a great man and an exceptional doctor all this time.


Slobodan Kadic

"Competitors scare voters by saying if they elect Samir Haj Barakat as mayor, they will lose a good doctor. I guarantee you won't. Samir has so much energy, serenity, determination, and will to be successful on both sides, and he will not be the first mayor who will skillfully combine both," concluded Glasovac.


Slobodan Kadic

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Nexe Handball Team Tops Vardar in 5th Round of SEHA League

March 18, 2021 - The Nexe handball team recorded a 36:32 victory at home in Našice against Macedonian club Vardar in the 5th round of the SEHA League Group B. 

Motor leads the table with 9 points from three games, followed by Nexe with nine points from five games, and Vardar with six points from four games. In last is Vojvodina who recorded four defeats in four matches.


Slobodan Kadic


Slobodan Kadic

In the clash of these two teams in Skopje, the hosts celebrated 27:26, so Wednesday's victory in Našice could prove crucial in the fight for second place in the group.


Slobodan Kadic

Halil Jaganjac and Janko Kević scored eight goals each, and the great goalkeeper Moreno Car recorded 16 saves. Timur Dibirov scored nine goals for Vardar. 

DSC_4018.JPGSlobodan Kadic

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Nexe Našice Handball Team Records Fourth Consecutive Victory in EHF European League

February  24, 2021 - The Nexe Našice handball team achieved their fourth consecutive victory in the EHF European League, defeating CSKA Moscow 32-31 (14-14) on Tuesday in Našice.

The victory was confirmed by Mario Tomić with a goal seven seconds before the end when he sent the ball into the undefended net.


Slobodan Kadić

With this Nexe victory and the expected defeat of the Swedish team Alingsas away to the leading Magdeburg (36-21), Nexe theoretically secured their spot in the last 16 of the EHF European League's first season.


Slobodan Kadić

Nexe played a very even match against the Moscow team, who they lost to in November by 11 goals (29-18).

Halil Jaganjac and Janko Kević scored six goals each for the home team, Fran Mileta scored five times, and Dorian Markušić scored four goals. Goalkeeper Moreno Car had 15 saves, and Mihailo Radovanović had two. Ilchenko, Astrashapkin, and Fokin scored five goals each for the Russian side.


Slobodan Kadić

One round before the end, Nexe is in fourth place with 10 points. CSKA and Montpellier have 10 points each, but with a better goal differential. In first is Magdeburg with 14 points. Alingsas has four points, and the Turkish club Besiktas, which lost all nine games, will not advance to the next round. 

Nexe will play in Montpellier on March 2 in the last round of the group stage.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Pozega-Slavonia Hunters Send Two Tons of Game to Earthquake Area

February 2, 2021 – In an admirably understated manner, Pozega-Slavonia hunters humbly pitched in to the relief efforts and sent two tons of game to those in the earthquake-affected area of Sisak-Moslavina

It's fair to say that in this day and age, hunters often get a bad rep. There are far more people in the world today who abstain from eating any meat – vegetarians and vegans – than those who go hunting. Changing times. For sure, it wasn't always this way.

In Croatia, hunting associations play a vital role in maintaining the beauty and accessibility of the country's rural landscape. Not that you much hear about this aspect of their undertakings. Perhaps they are typically just rather understated people?

You might easily come to that conclusion when considering the recent humanitarian action undertaken by Pozega-Slavonia hunters. Organised by the county hunting association and county officials, Pozega-Slavonia hunters from each of the region's district societies contributed in an effort to send the game taken by each – mostly deer and wild boar - to the earthquake-hit areas in Sisak-Moslavina County. They so far managed to send a whole two tons!


At the same time, Pozega-Slavonia hunters from the county association began collecting funds for the families of those tragically killed in the 29 December earthquake. They have so far collected some 50,000 kunas that will be directed to the intended recipients through the Croatian Hunting Association.

“This is a small help, but undertaken with an open heart,” said a representative from the County, who jointly organised the effort.

“We go to visit friends,” he said, in reference to the delivery of the Pozega-Slavonia hunters game, “and a Slavonian does not go empty-handed. We have loaded more than a ton of meat here (in this shipment), but there will be more because in co-operation with Croatian Forestry, Brod-Posavina County and the Radinje hunting ground, today we will take (in total) about three to four tons of game.”

“(Perhaps) the people of Moslavina will remember Slavonia next time they eat Slavonian čobanac (a local specialty stew, made from game) because she (Slavonia) is always thinking of her (Moslavina),” he concluded.


“Lovački savez Požeško – slavonske županije (Hunting alliance of Pozega Slavonia County) was the main organiser,” Mateja Tomasevic, Head of the County office told TCN. “Within it, there are 28 separate societies of Pozega-Slavonia hunters. They all participated in the humanitarian action.”

Among the 28 contributing societies were Hunting Associations 'Fazan' and 'Košuta' from Pakrac, 'Psunj' from Orljavac, 'Šljuka' from Brestovac, 'Jelen', 'Šijak', 'Sokolovac' and 'Sveti Hubert' from Požega, 'Dilj' from Buk, 'Vidra' from Sapna, Čaglin, 'Slavonac' from Kutjevo, 'Strijela' from Bektež, 'Papuk' from Biškupci, 'Sokol' from Bučje, 'Seljak' from Jakšić, 'Vepar' from Kaptol, 'Krndija' from Našice, 'Vranovac' from Vetovo, 'Šljuka' from Pleternica, 'Fazan' from Ruševo, 'Vražjak' from Sesvete, 'Sjeverni Dilj' from Seoce, 'Slavuj Gaj' from Poljana and 'Kuna' from Paka. Over 1300 residents of the county belong to one of the Pozega-Slavonia hunters associations.


AnyConv.com__BZENICA_LOVNO-STRELJASTVO_POZESKA-ZUPANIJA-1.jpgSome of the members of the Hunting Associations of Pozega-Slavonia County © Hrvatski Lovački Savez

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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

A Dying Trade: Marko Zidar is the Only Shoemaker in Town - Našice, Slavonia

The situation in Slavonia is far from a blooming one, at least in economic terms, and while Croatian pensions continue to be small, often forcing their recipients to continue to work in any way that they can, for some that just isn't sustainable, not because of the economic situation as such, but because of time.

As Novac/Jutarnji writes on the 21st of May, 2019, despite the fact that shoemaker Marko Zidar has now retired, he chose to continue to work. He says that he does so for some additional income, because Croatia's pensions are small, but also because of the love he has towards this work. He has been the only shoemaker in Našice, a town in Slavonia in Eastern Croatia, for more than thirty years, and he continues to work because this occupation is considered to be scare, Glas Slavonije writes.

His work is well known to Našiče's locals, but over the last several years, the locals of this town in almost overlooked Slavonia have barely visited him. Why? Because there is no longer any high quality footwear that needs to be repaired.

"It's easier to buy [shoes] cheaper now, and people with lower wages can't even afford leather, expensive but high quality footwear," says Zidar.

He repairs women's, men's, children's shoes, those that need only a little stitching up, those that are completely worn down, those which just need a new heel, and also those that just need a bit of ''scrubbing up''. In additon to working with shoes, he also works with purses and belts, but everything is much less than it ever was before in this dying profession. Although the cost of his work has been sustainable and has barely changed for almost twenty years now, Zidar's number of customers has dropped significantly, and the materials he needs are more expensive, so this type of job is carrying with it less and less profit, not to mention sense.

"The problem is the raw materials that I can't get in Croatia, I've got to order it from Germany and Italy," says Zidar, and concludes that he can't make a decent living from that job. He's been known to have repaired as many as forty pairs of shoes in a single day, but today, he deals with that amount in one week, if he's lucky. Today, he grabs work here and there and whenever he can, and it happens that people bring their shoes to the repair and then just leave them there, not returning to pick them up again.

"I waste material and my time, and I can't get either of them back - it's disappointing," says the shoemaker from Slavonia.

He studied this craft in Zagreb and this profession did very well when such a trade was in high demand, once upon a time, but then things began to change rather drastically. Despite the change ''of the wind'', Zidar never regretted his choice. Now, after thirty years of work as an entrepreneur, and after having retired, he nurtures his skill and his craft. At the beginning back when he started his own business, he worked all day and all night and earned very good money, even training his son in the same skill.

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