Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Bulgarian National Folk Ensemble from Sofia
Saturday Evening, March 16, 1991, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Pirin Dancers The Thracian Orchestra
and The Stefanov Bulgarian Women's Chorus
Kiril Stefanov Chief Artistic Director and Conductor
Stoyan Stoyanov, Orchestra Conductor
Lyudmila Dimova, Musicologist and Choirmaster
Kiril Apostolov, Choreographer
Yanko Yanev, Artistic Secretary
Vasil Dokev, Stage Designer and Costumes
Pirin is represented by Columbia Artists Management Inc., New York City.
SoBaConcert Representative: Nelly Ladova
The box office in the outer lobby is open during intermission for purchase of tickets to upcoming concerts.
Thirty-second Concert of the 112th Season Twentieth Annual Choice Series
A Breath of Pirin Air ...............Choreography: Kiril Apostolov
Music: Kiril Stefanov
Festive folk tunes from the beautiful Pirin Mountains, breathing fairy tales and legends; a unique combination of the emotion and temperament of the mountain dwellers. The names of the dances speak of their character: "tezhkoto" (the heavy one), "zaeshkoto" (the rabbit's dance), "vurtyanota" (the winding one), and "mulchalivoto" (the silent dance).
A Game Before the Engagement..........Choreography: Nikolai Tavetkov
Music: Kiril Stefanov
Before marrying his beloved, the young man introduces her to his friends, and they organize a dancing contest in praise of his approaching wedding. The engaged couple do not touch each other. It is as if the tenderness between them flows through the girl's embroidered handkerchief.
Dance by the River Danube.............Choreography: Georgi Hinov
Music: Kiril Stefanov
A playful men's dance from Dobrudja, the vast plain in northeastern Bulgaria, accompanied by original folk instruments with wooden spoons rhythmically beating time. Typical Bulgarian characters are introduced.
Bulgarian Folk Songs:
Pirin Wedding ....................Music: Nikolai Kaufman
A Little Bell Is Ringing
Horo Dance ......................Music: Kiril Stefanov
A Forest Bursts Into Leaves Golden Mars
The Bulgarian folk song treasure trove offers a rich world of emotions, based on
traditional Bulgarian folklore.
The Stefanov Chorus
Thracians ....................Choreography: Todor Bakirski
Music: Kiril Stefanov
The rich expression of the Thracian dances is accompanied by the lively sound of the Bulgarian bagpipes.
Girls from the Sredna Gora Mountains ........Choreography: Georgi Hinov
Music: Kiril Stefanov
A graceful spring girls' dance, from the old custom of casting bunches of flowers in the river on St. Lazarus' Day. In whatever direction the water takes the flowers, from there the girls' luck will come.
Thracian Mixed Dance...............Choreography: Todor Bakirski
Music: Kostadin Lyolev
The supple melodies and rhythms, the varied patterns of the dances from Thrace illustrate the multilayered centuries-old tradition of this region -an ancient cradle of human civilization and one of the roots of Bulgarian culture.
Men from Thrace.................Choreography: Todor Bekirski
Music: Kostadin Lyolev, Stoyan Stoyanov
With much humor and brisk movements, and sudden changes of rhythm, the men present many typical Bulgarian folk patterns.
Puppets ....................Choreography: Margarita Dikova
Music: Zhivka Klinkova
A dramatized folk game presented at fairs and gatherings, accompanied by an old folk instrument, the gadulka. The dancers simulate the movements of puppets, activated by strings from above.
Competing...................Choreography: Kiril Haralampiev
Music: Kiril Stefanov A dance of youthful temperament, of merry-making, and competing in the dance.
Voices from Bulgaria................Music: Krasimir Kyurkchiiski,
Kiril Stefanov, Nikolai Kaufmann, Lyudmila Dimova
Songs by the chorus and soloists, featuring original melodies from different regions of Bulgaria.
Ruska Stoimenova Sings -a featured soloist of Pirin.
Wedding Mood..................Choreography: Kiril Apostolov
Music: Kiril Stefanov
A musical tableau, recreating the wedding customs in southwestern Bulgaria. The bridegroom will seek his fortune in distant lands. Will the young bride wait for her beloved
A Musical Walk Through Bulgaria
A presentation of the traditional Bulgarian folk instruments: the kaval, the bagpipe, the gadulka, the tambura, the zurna, and the tupan.
Dance With Drums (Tupans) ............Choreography: Todor Bakirski
Rhythmic patterns: Kiril Stefanov
A men's dance from the southern part of the Pirin Mountains telling of its ancient origin with intertwining gestures and rhythms.
Shoppe Moods ...........Choreography: Kiril Djenev, Nikolai Tavetkov
Music: Alexander Kokereshkov, Kiril Stefanov
Fiery temperament, love of life, inexhaustible energy, joy, and intoxication with the rhythms characterize the Bulgarian Shoppe dances, which blaze like fireworks.
Festive Dances: Choreography: Kiril Haralampiev; Music: Kiril Stefanov In the Square: Choreography: Kostadin Ruichev; Music: Kiril Stefanov
About the Company
Bulgaria boasts several outstanding folk ensembles, but Pirin, Bulgarian National Folk Ensemble from Sofia, has been selected as its country's cultural ambassador to the world. Pirin has garnered acclaim in more than 20 countries on four continents, and the 1990-91 season marks the third North American tour for this company of 75 -dancers, an orchestra, and the celebrated Stefanov Women's Chorus. Pirin has performed in Ann Arbor on each of those tours, in 1979, 1982, and now this evening.
The Bulgarian lands cradle one of the most ancient cultures in Europe, dating back through the Thracian, pre-Christian era, to the present. A diverse climate, flower-covered meadows, the imposing Balkan and Rhodope Mountains, clear lakes, and deep forests of pine and walnut adorn the heartland of the Balkan Peninsula. Pirin's presentation reflects a country of incredible mountain ranges, the Black Sea coast, the plains of the Danube, and green, rolling hills. Folk costumes of yesteryear and today constitute a visual feast of silks and embroideries, headpieces, jewelry, vests, caps, and pantaloons. The dancers, chorus, and vocal soloists are complemented by the folkloric instrumentation of the orchestra -the kaval, lute, rebec, and bagpipe adding to the aura of the performance.
Pirin has distinguished itself in major competitions, winning highest honors in laureate titles and gold medals at the Sixth Moscow Youth Festival; First Prize at the Third International Folk Festival in Carthage; Bearer of the Red Banner of Labour Order and the Cyril and Methodius Order First Class.
Bulgarian Folk Music
Excerpts from an article by Nikolai Kaufman
Bulgarian folk music stands apart from the folk music of the other Slavic peoples. It has a specific idiom of its own, though influ?enced by Eastern music and an ancient native musical culture.
Bulgarian folk music is as varied and rich as is Bulgaria's landscape. Prior to World War II, Bulgaria was mainly an agricultural country, and the folk songs reflected the life of the rural population. Urban folk songs, influenced by neighboring European and Bal?kan peoples, began to make their appearance in the second half of the nineteenth century. In recent years, Bulgaria has become an industrial country, and with mechanization, farm work has become lighter. Many of the old work songs are gradually disappearing, and new songs are taking their place.
Variety is one of the most typical fea?tures of Bulgarian folk songs. There are sev?eral clearly marked regions of song: the Pirin, Graovo (including the Sofia district), Rhodope, Srodna Gora, Thracian, North Bulgaria, and the Dobrudja regions. The Pirin region covers the villages and hamlets of southwest Bulgaria in the foothills of the Pirin Mountains and in the valleys of the Strouma and Mosta Rivers. Two-part singing is typical of the region.
Many of the folk songs are linked with customs or work processes and are divided into three groups: work, horovodna, and ritual folk songs. The work songs include harvest, working songs, shepherds', and many other songs connected with everyday life. There are special harvest songs, sung when going to the fields, during reaping, at noon, songs urging each other to return to work, and "songs along the way" sung at dusk on leaving the fields. In addition to the harvest songs, others are linked with people's work. The horovodna songs are highly varied. All the well-known chain dances have their respective songs, their names derived from the characters in those songs. There are horos associated with special days, such as Christ?mas, St. George's Day, and Easter. There are also men's, girls', brides', and old men's dances.
Ritual songs are sung only on special occasions, as on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Lazarski songs on St. Lazarus' Day, St. Basil's Day, and Easter Sunday. The songs sung at weddings are among the oldest folk songs. In some villages the long wedding ceremony, which begins a few days before the wedding and continues on after it, is still preserved.
There is a great variety of instruments and instrumental music. Though the instru?ments vary in different parts of the country, the shepherd's flute and the bagpipe are to be met nearly everywhere. The rebec is also very popular. It has a strong tone similar to the viola. It is found with different numbers of strings and with different pitches. A jingling instrument called tambura, a kind of mando?lin, is frequently found. It is a soft, tender instrument and is very popular in the Pirin region. In some regions one comes across the dvoyanka, a double flute, consisting of two pipes attached to each other, one of which plays the tune and the other keeps to an even droning tone.
It is usually the men who play the musical instruments. The kavcd is the chief shepherd's instrument. There is hardly a Bul?garian shepherd who has not played for hours on end, first on the small flute called svirka (whistle), consisting of a one-piece pipe, and later on a three-piece kaval. Every region has its own shepherd melodies, which express his tranquil soul and his freedom and love of the surrounding countryside. The bagpipe, unlike the idyllic, soft-sounding shepherd's flute, is a strong instrument which is used mainly for the round dance and the joyous festivals.
In recent years the clarinet, trumpet, and accordion have become popular. Folk musicians have become accustomed to these instruments, imported from abroad, and they have developed a specific style of performing Bulgarian music.
The changing times have created new songs; the new folk songs have assumed a new place in people's lives. Folk choirs throughout the country have become part of the people's lives. They are to be found in the remote villages, in the large towns, and in factories.
These choirs are a kind of folklore center where the singers can study folk songs. They have also made possible the preservation and revival of Bulgarian music. Besides the folk choirs, folk orchestras that use the folk in?struments have been formed.
Bulgarians love their folk music. Every village has outstanding singers and instru?mentalists who are held in high honor. The repertoire of many good singers includes be?tween 200 and 400 folk songs, and oftentimes as many as a thousand or more.
The government has done a great deal to preserve folk music. The Institute of Music at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, among many other institutes, does admirable work in the study and preservation of Bulgarian musical folklore. Its archives have recordings of over 60,000 folk songs and instrumental melodies.
The devotion of Bulgarians to their folk music is a guarantee that this folk art, which has survived centuries, will be preserved for a long time and will serve as the basis for new types of folk music.