16/04/2008

The Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir / Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares - Ritual (1993)

«In 1951, the father of Bulgarian concert folk music, Philip Koutev, established the Ensemble of the Bulgarian Republic. His goals was to join the rich heritage of his country's solo folk songs with harmonies and arrangements that highlighted their beautiful timbres and irregular rhythms. One year later, the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir was founded. Then as now, its members are singers from the rural regions of Bulgaria, each an informal apprentice in the folk songs of her home. The ensemble, now under the direction of conductor Dora Hristova, has refined Koutev's original idea into a fine art. The Choir's imaginatively arranged songs join traditional folk melodies with sophisticated harmonies and compelling rhythms, performed in an exotic six-part vocal style. Repertoire is drawn from arrangements created by Bulgaria's most esteemed composers, among them Mr. Koutev, Krasimir Kyurkchiyski, Nikolai Kaufman and Petar Lyondev.

Ritual is an unusual recording for the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir. For one thing, two male guest artists make appearances on two of the songs and a measure of instrumentation on half a dozen tunes includes one instrumental (gasp!). It's a wonderful dance tune which only enhances the feel of the recording dealing mostly with tunes meant for St. Lazar's Day and also Christmas carols. This recording (1994) is the first studio album since the group's two Le Mystère anthologies of the late 1980's. The tradition established by Philip Koutev in the 1950's of applying the compositional methods of concert practice to folk material is still the origin of the famous sound of this choir, now directed by Dora Hristova. Another fascinating aside on this recording is the group singing "A Jewish Triptych (Sephardic)" composed and arranged by Nikolai Kaufmann. This is glorious music that anyone literate in world music should know.» (Singers)

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5 comments:

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