volume three


The Bulgarian has never been notable for a deep feeling of religiousness, even less so for having been seized by some kind of fanaticism. Characteristic of him is a feeling for the reality. The anonymous authors have, in the folk stories and in the folk songs, as well as later on in the professional art, described their heroes as being a person, who talks with God and is at the same time having his feet firmly on the ground. His dialogue with Heaven is full of respect and at the same time full of doubt: co-existing are the trust and the good-humoured banter. Not characteristic of him is also any kind of fetishism. It may most porbably be for this reason that the images of the saints, painted in the Bulgarian churches, do very often not conform to the canons. Painted in the frescoes and on the icons are not images of super-beings, bur representations of human beings, offered to whom are prayers, but expected from whom is a response as well. The church of Boyana (built in 1259) near Sofia is one of the examples of a breaking of the canon, having thus become a forerunner of the Renaissance.

"Sonic Icons" is the name I have given to these series of composer's songs, inspired by our folklore, because my attitude to the musical sources is similar to the Bulgarian's attitude to the images of the saints, painted in the Orthodox churches. When one stands facing them, he is teeming with a feeling of reverence, but this has nothing to do with the fanatic fetishization, which would deprive the religion of its most valuable role: to inspire confidence and to fill one with faith and hope, thanks to which the life has its continuation. Likewise, my connection with the sacred things of our folk culture is also full of restpect, but devoid of any idolatry. In the song examples, which I have selected, I have found that store which stimulates the composer's creative work. And this is one of the ways for the tradition to retain its vitality through renovation.