Dobrinka Tabakova: Orchestral Works & Concerti



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This album contains two of Tabakova’s major orchestral works. The three-part Earth Suite, which the composer says was inspired by ‘the overwhelming force of Nature’, recently drew ‘exquisite playing’ from the Hallé (Bachtrack, April 2023). Orpheus Comet features fast rhythmic material combined with atmospheric transparent orchestrations and a glorious climax featuring quotations from Monteverdi.   The two significant concertos for strings and soloists included on this album solidified Tabakova’s reputation as an outstanding contemporary voice and display the composer’s close affinity with string instruments. Ukrainian-British Maxim Rysanov, is one of Tabakova’s longest collaborators who premiered the Concerto for Viola and Strings in 2004, a piece described as being ’saturated with an inner, captivating and natural energy’ (Culture Magazine, Nov 2004).  The Concerto for Cello and Strings (whose score was described as ‘gorgeous’ by the Daily Telegraph, Australia) is here performed by Guy Johnson, one of the most exciting British cellists of his generation.


Bulgarian composer Dobrinka Tabakova—a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and a PhD in composition from King's College London—has been the artist-in-residence at the Hallé (2022–2023) and has just recorded two of her main orchestral pieces and two concertos, for violin and cello, with the Hallé Orchestra.
Tabakova's creative work is intimately linked to the human experience, and this recording is an important chapter in the production of these years. We remember that she made her debut with String Paths (see the review), for ECM Records, that in 2014 she was nominated for a Grammy and that in 2017 she was composer-in-residence at the BBC Concert Orchestra.

One of the most remarkable characteristics of his work - for those who do not know it - is the beauty of the harmonic constructions. Her orchestral music is a party, as in the first piece on the album, Orpheus' Comet ('El cometa d'Orfeu', 2017), written during his residency at the BBC. This five-minute orchestral piece is based on the myth of Orpheus, found in the fourth book of Virgil's Georgics. The preeminence of metal, with bright and jovial themes, evidence the author's attention to detail. The exchange of impressions between two women, between two levels of communication—the composition and the direction—is fundamental in this recording. Dobrinka Tabakova and Delyana Lazarova, at the head of the Hallé Orchestra, give an immediate outlet to the expressiveness and rigor of the score in a receptive orchestra formed by the excellent Hallé musicians, who have captured the compositional essence of the pieces and have embodied through music the freedom and originality of the two professionals. Both the Concerto for Violin and Strings (2004) and the Concerto for Cello and Strings, and the symphonic movements of the Earth Suite ('Earth Suite'), link us to emotional states or experiences lived with passion. The two soloists, Guy Johnston (on cello) and Maxim Rysanov (on violin), are brilliant, striking and original in the corresponding concerts. Tabakova, who has explored various aesthetic paths, has been able to develop different compositional techniques, which move within the realm of melody, modality, dissonances and the rhythm of accentuated contours. This results in a mastery of consciousness in the elaboration of each of the works. Maria Ivanova, Sonograma Magazine


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