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AB ORIENTE LUX – MUSIC OF ORTHODOX EAST

10 - Copy                 Св.Йоан Кукузел и                 16

Since the conversion to Christianity of Bulgaria – an important pro-European act, Orthodox music is also our music – Bulgarian, of the Bulgarian people, but also all-Balkan music of Europe. Music, which on our soil is originally converted and adapted to the liturgical texts of Old Bulgarian and other Old Slavic languages. An inherently unique project devoted to years of research in the field of orthodox music, presenting its most important works of all times. A team of specialists – musicologist and theologian, are engaged in the difficult task of finding, reading ancient manuscripts of chants from different monasteries, archives, stockpiles, and making them into contemporary sheet music of five scale notation.

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An ensemble of contemporary church singers – acolytes will perform musical pieces from the appearance of the notation in the X century, through the original works of St. John Kukusel – a symbol of the Bulgarian musical pride, the Athos and the Turnovo Literary Schools, to Rila singing school with a central figure, Neofit Rilski. A novelty in the project is the release of unusual musical examples that will sound for the first time. Among them is a musical stychiraire, kept in the Athenian National Library, commissioned and completed in 1367, during the reign of the pious Tsar Ivan Alexander. Another important musical monument from the same period is the obituary of Tsar Boril, whose transcript from the National Library in Sofia is the first Bulgarian manuscript written with Byzantium neumes. In the days of the Council in Ferrara, along with numerous treatises, St. Mark Eugenik, the great theologian of the Orthodoxy, wrote a musical manuscript. In this manuscript of 1438, which today is miraculously present in Sofia, are preserved unique and unpublished works of Constantine Assen, an artist whose identity poses many questions – a noble in the Byzantine court, writer-philosopher and hymnographer, coming from the Asenevtsi family. Songs and works from the IX to the XIX century will be recorded and published in a CD accompanied by a luxurious bilingual book edition. Completed by four concerts, the project will summarize the liturgical music used in the Bulgarian lands and influenced the development of Western European culture for over more than a millennium.

Concerts will take place in:

May 9 – Varna – City Art Gallery – 17h.

May 31 – Sofia - church “Holy Transfiguration of God” – 18h.

June 7 – Sofia – church “Ascension of the Holy Cross of the Lord”, Lozenets – 18h.

15 June – Sofia – church “St. Paraskeva” – 18h.

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 News No Comments

Bulgarian Musical Society, in partnership with the French Cultural Institute and Kinomania, presented to the audience in Sofia and Varna the silent movie concert “The Boat of Lovers”

Bulgarian Musical Society, in partnership with the French Cultural Institute and Kinomania, presented to the audience in Sofia and Varna the silent movie concert “The Boat of Lovers”.

The show “The Lovers’ Boat”, was shown to a native audience on 14.11.2017 in Sofia and 18.11.2017 in Varna and opened this year’s edition of the movie festival. “Kinomania”.This movie concert was conceived as a “mini opera”, as a series of music pictures that are commenting and complementing each other. It was an unexpected combination between a silent film of a great author in the history of European cinema, Jean Epstein, the female choir of The Great Bulgarian Voices, led by Iliya Mihaylov and the trio of French jazz artists, led by the pianist Francois Rulan. The project is truly a European happening, a real symbiosis between impressionist cinema and the music of the eastern Balkans.”

“This music represents European jazz, which is different from the American jazz. Jazz has a lot of freedom and it is open to interpretation. We are self though, because we learn from the things we like and enjoy”, said Rullan. According to him, European jazz musicians have another culture: “I listen to a lot of ethno and folk music. When I heard “The Great Voices of Bulgaria,” I was very impressed. Their album is now in the collection of every jazz musician.”

“We must be proud because it is very important, that our art is placed in a European context. We are all part of this world, for which we only speak of, but this ist he way to see how we can collaborate together, to do a synthesis like this one tonight.”, said Ilia Mihaylov, conductor of the People” The Great Voices of Bulgaria”, co-author of the project.”It was my decision to use this film as a link between French jazz and Bulgarian folklore, to give it a new life to this film after so many years.”

The event:

“The Lovers’ Boat” Film concert opened the festival “Cinemania” with French jazz and our folklore in silent cinema. The choice of film is not accidental. Although created 93 years ago, “The Lovers’ Boat” is woven by storyline, emotions and conflicts comparable to our times. And the idea of a cinema concert comes from the distant year 2000, when the conductor Iliya Mihaylov sees a created cinema story at the festival in the Italian city of Aosta.

Emotions in ‘LaBelle Nivernaise’ are complicated and amplified by the magical power of Bulgarian voices as well as by the original compositions of the trio musicians. The result – an unseen osmosis between European jazz and the ability to use improvisation combined with eternal, timeless folk music.

Cinematography accompanies music, not the other way around, the project authors explained.

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 News No Comments

Aristocrats and celebrities applaud the “Great Voices of Bulgaria” choir

by Maria De Brabendere

Princess Claire de Gibon de Boisanger, Count Gilles-de-Nazil, Earl Emmanuel de Mortemar, Polish Princesses Sonia and Sarah Poniatowski, Alain Cartier – heirs of famous fashion empire, the top model Irène Salvador, Monsignor Francisco Follo – the Vatican representative at UNESCO, Catherine Lalumiere – Secretary General of the Council of Europe (1989-1994), Fabian Edelstam – a painter and famous art collector, producers, filmmakers and composers, were among the long list of distinguished guests who attended a concert given by the “The Great Voices of Bulgaria” choir at the Bulgarian Embassy in Paris. This significant event was part of a tour in the French capital, due to an invitation of Université Paris 8. This is the university where the famous psychologist, linguist, semiotics and philosopher Julia Krasteva shares the professorial chair of semiology with Umberto Eco and Tsvetan Todorov. The occasion was the traditional Choral Meetings organized in the French capital.

Europe’s Crème de la Crème was assembled in Paris to experience the sonority of the Bulgarian orthodox and traditional folklore music. Most of the noble and aristocratic guests did not know much about Bulgaria prior the event. They went to the concert without prejudice, “unprepared for what they were about to experience”, says the conductor Ilia Mihaylov. They were amazed by the brilliant singing performances of the 14 female and 4 male singers, who stroke them with their power, vocal purity and the crystal sound of the tones that sprung from the depths of the Bulgarian ecclesiastical and folkloristic traditions.

The preparation for the spectacular concerts took over six months, and was orientated to the Choral Meetings as well. During the preparation period, about 100 local choristers were learning Bulgarian songs. Together with their Bulgarian colleagues, they amazed the French audience.

“Our guests were people who have had the chance to see all the beauty in the world. We managed to surprise them pleasantly. We have exceeded their high aesthetic criteria. The tour was a great and successful test for us”, says the conductor Ilia Mihaylov. His words are confirmed by the favorable material for our singers and their performances published in Le Point by Patrick Besson, one of the influential French journalists of today.

Mrs.Veneta Galabova, the main producer of the event in the Bulgarian Embassy in Paris decorated it with an exceptional style and chic and turned the concert into a superior and tasteful celebration. “Culture is our best way to make politics”, said the Bulgarian Ambassador to France His Excellency Mr. Angel Tcholakov at the opening of the concert. Our diplomat is from the new generation of ambassadors who embraces culture. “He was very cooperative and gave us a warm reception”, remember the artists with gratitude.

The pragmatic part of the preparation of the tour was undertaken by the Bulgarian Music Society (BMS) with its President Mr. Stefan Galabov. In fact, BMS was established in 2005 with a goal to support the Bulgarian culture nationally and internationally. Mr. Galabov’s leadership makes this non-for profit organization successful. He supports it unreservedly, with his own resources, energy and connections. During my meeting with Stefan Galabov in Abu Dhabi, the young man impressed me with the great fervor and love when he was talking about the future projects of the Society and the “Great Voices of Bulgaria” choir. Here is one of them: The conductor of the choir will lead a team of specialists; together they will research and record Byzantine music from the Balkans. The chants range from the 9th up to the 19th century, and were used in the Bulgarian Holly Mass. The Great Voices of Bulgaria’s recording will be a world premiere. Thus, our contemporaries will have the opportunity to return centuries back and immerse themselves in the authentic melodies of the past.

BMS is an association of Bulgarian individuals, who not only love their culture, but try to make a real contribution to its future development. Famous names are affiliated with the projects of the choir. For example, the world-famous Bulgarian musician Theodosii Spassov composes original pieces especially for them. The contemporary Bulgarian composer Yavor Rousinoff, who has worked with Grammy-Award winners like Jose Feliciano and Chaka Kahn, and other musicians such as Supermax, Bonnie M, Falco and the Vienna Boys Choir, wrote a piece for triple choir. The premiere of his composition was performed by all 100 French – Bulgarian singers during the Choral Meeting in France.

Another affiliation is the album cover of the CD “Anthology” – an artwork and donation by the Swedish painter, Fabian Edelstam. He is also a collector of Bulgarian art, and possesses some fine examples of Early 20th-Century Bulgarian painters that resided in Paris such as Jules Pascin a Georges Papazoff. A curious fact is that Edelstam’s grandmother was a muse and a model of the great artist Amedeo Modigliani.

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 News No Comments