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Vladigerov: Bulgarian Rhapsody, Bulgarian Dances, Etc

Release Date: 04/24/2007 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777125   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Pancho Vladigerov
Conductor:  Horia Andreescu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

VLADIGEROV Bulgarian Rhapsody, “Vardar.” Traumspielsuite. Bulgarian Dances Horia Andreescu, cond; Berlin RSO cpo 777 125 (79:49)

Hard on the heels of Hungaroton 32301, a release of his early-chamber works, comes this collection of orchestral music from Pancho Vladigerov (1899–1978). The composer was a Romantic whose music combined a penchant for Impressionistic harmonies with easily accessible nationalistic rhythms and melodic material. Vladigerov Read more made his mark composing incidental music at Max Reinhardt’s Deutsches Theater in Berlin. He returned to Bulgaria in 1932, where he joined the staff of the Sofia Music Academy, and remained a staff fixture until his retirement 40 years later, submerged beneath innumerable state prizes. The Bulgarian Communist regime favored his music: conservative, colorful, atmospheric, emotionally undemanding, ingeniously composed, and technically consummate fluff.

The three pieces on this album give a good idea of his strong suit. “Vardar” began life as a 1922 work for violin and piano, performed in Germany by Vladigerov, an outstanding pianist, and his virtuoso violinist twin brother, Liuben. It was a tremendous success; six years later, the composer’s orchestral arrangement received an identical response at the First International Festival of Bulgarian Music. Vladigerov subsequently rearranged it for solo piano, piano four hands, and two pianos. The piece’s popularity isn’t difficult to understand when one takes into account its similarity to Enescu’s pair of Romanian rhapsodies from 1901 and 1902. Like those pieces, “Vardar” is essentially a well-chosen arrangement of memorable folk themes, westernized for the tourist trade.

The Bulgarian Dances date from 1931 and follow the same aesthetic convention. In his liner notes, Eckhardt van den Hoogen makes the point that if the First and Fifth Dances were replaced with something slightly jazzy, the whole effort might pass as something from Broadway, but that surely takes matters too far. There are deft Bulgarian and Impressionistic touches throughout each of the seven dances, often transforming the character of the originals while producing something more slightly distinctive and original than “Vardar.”

The third work on this album is interesting in that it reveals a different Vladigerov, the young Reinhardt composer, invariably submerged beneath the creator of Bulgarian picture postcards. The Traumspielsuite derives from incidental music to a 1921 production of Strindberg’s A Dream Play . It is a charmer, owing much stylistically to the likes of Korngold and his contemporaries, but none the worse for it. The six extended pieces convey a broad range of emotional content, from the ethereal Prologue to the noble but weary-footed tread of the Promotions March, to the witty, gossamer fabric of the Ballet Music and the colorful charm of the Swedish Dance.

Andreescu is capable of great warmth and a refined sense of phrasing. I’ve admired his work over the years in Glazunov, Enescu, Rogalski, and Socor. He has never been a precipitate conductor, and that hasn’t changed in his sixth decade; one doesn’t go to him for flash. On the other hand, his “Mar, Dimitro Lio” and “Radka” movements (from the Bulgarian Dances ) are richly detailed and rhythmically flexible, while the Traumspielsuite shows the range of color and dynamics he can persuasively evoke from the Berlin RSO, where he’s principal conductor these days. More subtlety might be welcome, but this is not the kind of music that really gains much from that. Sound is good, without too much reverberation to cover the beauty of Vladigerov’s orchestration.

If you enjoy Khachaturian’s folk ballets, chances are you’ll really like Vladigerov’s music on this album.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

Bulgarian Rhapsody, Op. 16 "Vardar" by Pancho Vladigerov
Conductor:  Horia Andreescu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922 
Length: 9 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 1928
Jesus-Christus Kirche, Berlin, Germany (04/07/2004 - 04/10/2004); Jesus-Christus Kirche, Berlin, Germany (05/31/2005 - 06/01/2005) 
Bulgarian Symphonic Dances (7), Op. 23 by Pancho Vladigerov
Conductor:  Horia Andreescu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; Bulgaria 
Length: 37 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Jesus-Christus Kirche, Berlin, Germany (04/07/2004 - 04/10/2004); Jesus-Christus Kirche, Berlin, Germany (05/31/2005 - 06/01/2005) 
Traumspiel Suite by Pancho Vladigerov
Conductor:  Horia Andreescu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Bulgaria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A Distinct Listening Pleasure March 2, 2013 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "The Bulgarian composer Pancho Vladigerov may be an unknown quantity among American audiences and listeners, but his works are definitely worth a try, if this excellent CPO disk is any indication. I found all 3 compositions to radiate energy, folk melodies, and charm, all superbly supported by the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin. Vladigerov's signature work 'Bulgarian Rhapsody', a short, folk melody-laced number, leads off the recording with exciting, colorful flair. The second work is a lengthy suite of incidental music to a stage play and features wonderful melodies and varying tempos and rhythms. Concluding the disk is a 7-section work 'Bulgarian Dances,' which present the color and emotional expressiveness of Southeast European culture. Vladigerov was a 20th century artist, but his music is consistently tonal and pleasant. Overall, this recording is a real treat and an adventure in music from a region which has not produced a lot of world-class orchestral products. Therefore, I give this disk a strong recommendation to all who are interested in hearing a different, yet high quality, musical voice." Report Abuse
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