Capriccio continues their reissue of Pancho Vladigerov recordings with his collected string concertos. Though these recordings were originally done in the 1970s, they all sound quite good in this release. The sound, though a little soft, still has plenty of detail. And that’s especially important for this volume.
Pancho Vladigerov defined Bulgarian classical music. His blend of national folk elements with classical form was seamless. In his violin compositions, Vladigerov let more of Bulgarian folk tradition slip through. And the results are (I think) electrifying.
The two violin concertos are true masterworks. The first concerto, from 1920, is barely contained emotion. The solo violin weeps, cajoles, teases, and generally delivers an outpouring of feeling that seems to define the soul of the country.
The second concerto, completed in 1968 is more austere but no less emotive. Here Vladigerov’s orchestrations provide a more sophisticated setting for the soloist, but the emotional content is as unfettered as it was in the first concerto.
Also included is the Bulgarian Rhapsody for violin and orchestra, “Vardar.” Culturally, it’s considered the equivalent of Chopin’s Polonaise in A. “Vardar” serves the same role in defining the musical identity of a nation.
These recordings were all done by Bulgarian ensembles, with Bulgarian soloists. They were conducted either by the composer or his son. These are indeed definitive performances. Everyone involved gets the cultural subtext of Vladigerov’s music and it informs their playing.
Another not-to-be-missed installment in this important series.
Pancho Vladigerov: String Concertos
Georgi Badev, Dina Schniedermann, Emil Krmilarov, violin; Ventseslav Mikolov, cello
Bulgarian Chamber Orchestra; Pancho Vladigerov, conductor
Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Vladigerov, conductor
2 CD Set