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A MYSTERY?... IS THE BULGARIAN FOLKLORE INDEED A MYSTERY? THE EFFECT OF THE GOLDEN VOICES OF THE BULGARIAN POLYPHONY IS INCREDIBLE. THE MUSIC SOUNDS HERE AND NOW, BUT SEEMS TO BE COMINIG FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE HEART AND TO HAVE BRIDGED OVER THE ABYSM OF TIME... AT THE CLOSE OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY THE WORLD HAS TURNED BACK TO ITS ROOTS IN ORDER TO LOOK FOR THE KEY TO THAT BULGARIAN TREASURE, TO ERASE THE PATINA FROM IT, TO FIND THE CLUE TO IT AND TO INCORPORATE IT WITH THE INTRANSIENT WONDERS OF THE THOUSAND-YEARS-OLD HUMAN CIVILIZATION.

DANUBE MUSIC

There was once upon a time a girl, and she was pretty and kind of heart. One day, as she was strolling about, she came to the shore of a large stream. Sitting there was an elderly woman and they started chatting. Having tried out the girl's cleverness and having become convinced of her good nature, the old woman decided to make her prettier than she was. All that time the water had been changing its colours. From dark blue it had turned to emerald green, then it had flared up like a ruby, had even for an instant become white like the Milky Way... And all of a sudden the colours had blended and the stream turned golden. The old woman immersed quickly the girl and when she fished her out, the girl looked much prettier and was shining like a little sun. And the old woman gave her the name of Goldie – the Golden Girl.

Surely that river of the tale must have been the Danube. It is the great stream with the blending colours, which brings the people together and transforms them. Nowadays, when we are trying to find points of intercession between the East and the West, it comes to our mind that the cultures of many nations had since long ago been coming together and had been merging into a noble amalgam along the large waterway. And each one of these nations had been trying to find its place there and to join the community.

The kaleidoscope of the cantata has proved the most suitable possibility of making a description of the Danube by means of music. I have tried to fill up that varicoloured little box with stylistic imitations, with typical rhythms and intonations, which are floating along that watercourse. A Wallachian melody bursts forth and pulls after itself the Hungarian temperament, from the shores of Serbia there comes to our ears a passionate love call, Romanian cymbals sprinkle with glittering drops the picture of sounds, and then everything gets entangled in the fascinating storm of the Viennese waltz. Microworlds are emerging in tides. The musical movement is from island to island, worlds and colours are merging into one another and in these metamorphoses one ceases to be conscious of the precisely outlined geographic latitudes and boundaries, of the concreteness of time. The music is thus turning into a prototype of the community.

In Vienna where, in the month of March, 1997, the world première of "Danube Music" had taken place, it had been perceived as an expression of the spiritual make-up of a nation. Is this definition a paradox – it had allegedly been meant to be a kaleidoscope of the musical symbols of many nations, but there – the sensation is of an expression of a definite nation by the means of art. What is most probably being meant is not one nation, but a community, united by the great stream. It is a question of the future to perceive it precisely as an integral amalgam. Well, is not the art always ahead of the politics?

STEFAN DRAGOSTINOV PRESENTS
THE KEY TO THE MYSTERY
Volume Four
Danube Music