<< -- 2 -- Howard Smith UNRUFFLED LIFESTYLE
Poem for Violin and String Quartet (2002), appropriately performed by its dedicatee Yuri Kharenko, is again engaging enough with its low-key opening, a lively section to follow, the soloist's own cadenza, and finally a reprise of both earlier sections.
Pictures from Bulgaria (1999) in three movements has historical associations; first in reference to early Nomads, then quoting a sepulchral Orthodox anthem ('Angel Vopiyushte'), and lastly taking up a brief tune originally written for the Gadulka, a traditional stringed instrument
[listen -- track 12, 0:00-1:06]).
The impressive Sonata for Cello and Piano (2003) with Kalin Ivanov and accompanist Elena Antimova is arguably the most satisfying item on Petrova's album. It utilises folksongs in its first two movements (Journey and Elegy
[listen -- track 14, 2:30-4:05])
and a Bulgarian dance for the concluding Rondo. The Elegy has the substance and dignity (Bulgarian qualities) I missed elsewhere on this CD and the duo brings the work to its conclusion with a robust degree of fiery abandon.
While Petrov's five chamber works are clearly influenced by native peasant idioms, they nonetheless lack a wholehearted Eastern sound -- typically found in true folk instrumentation -- notably the kaval, gadulka, kaba gaida (deep pitched bagpipes), clarinet and accordion.
Above all other forms of expression, music mirrors Bulgarian people's daily life; the work and numerous festive celebrations -- their hardships, joys, and sorrows. On many an occasion a Bulgarian will sing when in sorrow, yet much of the present album evokes a largely unruffled lifestyle.
The Petrova Publishing recording is clean and full-bodied with splendid performances from start to finish.