TABAKOVA Insight1,2,3. Concerto for Cello and Strings2,4,5. Frozen River Flows1,6,7. Suite in Old Style3,4,5. Such Different Paths3, 9, 10,11, 12, 13,14 • 1Roman Mints (va); 2Kristina Blaumane (vc); Maxim Rysanov (va, cond); Read more class="SUPER12">5Lithuanian CO; 6Raiondas Sviackevi?ius (acc); 7Donatas Bagurskas (bass); 8Vaiva Eidukaityt?-Storastien? (hpd); 9Dzeraldas Bidva (vn); 10Janine Janses (vn); 11Julia-Maria Kreetz (vn); 12Amihai Grosz (va); 13Boris Andrianov (vc); 14Stacey Watton (db) • ECM 0018364-02 (72:14)
Dobrinka Tabakova was born in 1980 in Bulgaria but moved to England at age 11 and has completed her musical education there. This solo album shows her to be a confident composer who fluently blends a variety of influences.
The unifying sound of the disc is that of strings, and the composer has formed a series of useful friendships over her student years with many of these superb players. She also knows how to get a full sound from both soloists and ensembles, and how to bring out the greatest power of a sustained line. She has absorbed a lot of music from the preceding compositional generation, especially other Eastern European composers. One hears particular “Pärtian” progressions and chord voicings in the string trio Insight; hints of Kancheli, Gubaidulina, and even Piazzolla in the trio Frozen River Flows; Gorecki as a model in Suite in Old Style (though Tabakova cites Rameau, and especially in the final movement, this makes sense). While I caught a scent of Gypsy music in the trio, I also heard at other times something that seemed almost Appalachian. I was chalking this up to coincidence until I read the composer’s remarks in the notes, where she extols Alison Kraus and Union Station, so if alt-country is meaningful to Tabakova, more power to her, and my ear wasn’t so far off.
Two works, putting aside the game of identifying influences (which is particularly natural for a younger composer), strike me in particular. The Cello Concerto has a compelling opening, with driving motoric rhythms and a lot of low register unison doubling. Its second movement is perhaps the greatest lyric outpouring of the program, a set of variations on a single phrase (reminding me a little of Vladimir Martynov’s The Beatitudes, which I reviewed in 35:5. The final movement, in its ecstatic, slightly folky quality, actually made me think of such as Holst and Warlock, and perhaps that’s not too far off, as Tabakova seems very open to the variety of environments in which she finds herself, in this case the English one.
The concluding work of the program is a string septet, and is perhaps the most adventurous work of all. It’s a web of intricate interlocking patterns; the resultant harmonies are lush but not always predictable. Its opening reminds me a bit of change-ringing, which mutates towards a gently swinging folk-fiddling convention. Ultimately the music slows into spacious rapture (the notes reference Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending, and that’s not far off the mark).
The notes say all these pieces were written between 2002 and 2008. It would have been nice to know the chronology within that window, so as to see if there was a particular direction evident in the composer’s development. Tabakova is obviously a natural; the music is quite free in its openness to varied sources of influence and inspiration. It’s a little early I think to say just what the nature of her fully mature voice will be, but the pleasures of this disc make me want to hear the sequel.
Suite in Old Styleby Dobrinka Tabakova Performer:
Maxim Rysanov (Viola)
Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra
Such different pathsby Dobrinka Tabakova Performer:
Torleif Thedéen (Cello),
Stacey Watton (Double Bass),
Donatas Bagurskas (Double Bass),
Roman Mints (Violin),
Julia Maria Kretz (Violin),
Amihai Grosz (Viola),
Boris Andrianov (Cello)
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Outstanding new and oldAugust 18, 2014By Frederick Walz (Ravenna, OH)See All My Reviews"I am an amateur reviewer but I need to commend this brilliant piece of music. Old and new but exciting throughout -I can't stop listening to it!"Report Abuse