Gheorghi ARNAOUDOV (b. 1957)
The Way of the Birds (I for soprano, flute and violin (1991) [10:28]; II for soprano and chamber ensemble (1996) [10:04]; III for soprano, clarinet, violin, cello and percussion (1998) [6:43]) [42:23]
Footnote (...und Isolde/ns Winkfall Lassen...) - an imaginary interlude to the second act of Tristan und Isolde based on the poem A Prayer by James Joyce from Pomes Penyeach (1924) for sprechstimme and chamber ensemble (1991) [15:08]
Tanya Kazandjieva-Chauche (soprano), Christo Pavlov (flute), Ludmil Nentchev (violin), Mila Pavlova (flute), Kostadin Yotsov (oboe), Rossen Idealov (clarinet), Stoyan Pavlov, Maria Palieva (percussion), Roumen Kroumov (piano), Yossif Radionov (violin), Angel Stankov (violin), Alexandra Docheva (violin), Gheorghi Stoyanov (viola), Kalina Krusteva (cello), Nadja Dimitrov (piano)
rec. March 1991, August 1995, August 1996
LABOR RECORDS LAB 7068 [57:31]

The Labor label Ė rather like their Ďcousiní Innova - can be relied on to take the way less frequented. Arnaoudovís melody-based uncluttered and aerated music fits this bill to a tee.

The Bulgarian Gheorghi Arnaoudov has written works for orchestra, chamber group and solo instruments and voice. He has had a special interest in distant history with settings of old Bulgarian texts from the early Middle Ages ďas well as Orphic texts and rituals, studies of sound and fiction based on Gothic and Renaissance musicĒ. Add to this musical theatre works, incidental music for plays and film music.

All four sound-poems presented here are the outcome of the composerís collaboration with the Bulgarian choreographer Mila Iskrenova in various dance events with the Arabesque Dance Company, theatre actors, and students from the New Bulgarian University.

A graduate of the Bulgarian Academy of Music "Pancho Vladigerov", Arnaoudov tends towards meditative music conveying a sense of stasis and contemplation.

Stillness and medieval-tinged mystery pervade The Way of the Birds I. The lightly applied soprano voice of Tanya Kazandjieva-Chauche is intimately painted in amid the slowly intoned bird-song susurration of the two instruments. Mysticism is intensified in The Way of the Birds II. The soprano sings and whispers amid the confluence of pattering percussion and delight-dancing violin figures; the latter sounding like a marriage between Bartůk and Hovhaness. The voice line in The Way of the Birds III speaks of some elysian highland scene. One sometimes catches a slow breath of Appalachian mists and forests counterpointed by tabla-like percussion and something close to the sound of the cimbalom. All three works are based on medieval Bulgarian love texts from the time of the Bulgarian National Revival - around the 17th and 18th centuries.

FOOTNOTE (...und Isolde/ns Winkfall lassen...) is for voice (Sprechstimme), cello, and chamber orchestra. The words are breathily and seductively intoned rather than sung by Kazandjieva-Chauche who is central to all four works. As with the other works here the music is more tonal than atonal. It draws no rigid lines in its pursuit of a sort of prayerful yet sensually unhurried intensity. The textures established by the bigger chamber ensemble have a degree more complexity but the results are still pellucid and diaphanous.

Arnaoudovís pursuit of materials from ancient folk sources has certainly not produced desiccated academic results. Thatís for sure.

Rob Barnett

Arnaoudovís pursuit of materials from ancient folk sources has certainly not produced desiccated academic results. Thatís for sure.