Monday, 21 August 2017

Experimenting with Eastern Orthodox Chants

Review by Margarita Borisova   
Milen Ivanov/Daniel Spasov | Thou Art Blessed, Lord |Kuker Music, 2007

The record is an inspired project in which two Bulgarian vocals pursue contemporary musical searches while solidly relying on the Eastern Orthodox musical tradition.

Daniel Spasov and Milen Ivanov are the only male vocal soloists in the world-renowned women’s choir The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, but their independent collaborations of many years give them the courage and self-assurance to seek out their own approach to the chants included in this record.

On the one hand, the two musicians have tried to create a traditionally Bulgarian mix of religious and folklore classics which can be heard clearly in “We bless You, Holy Mother,” “God, our Lord” and “We carry the cross.” On the other hand, they attempt to reconcile the thousand-year-old monophonic to the polyphonic choir singing by layering them over one another.

Milen Ivanov’s two new compositions – “Silent World,” based on motifs from the Kiev Chant, and “Thy birth, Christ,” as well as the Daniel Spasov’s attempt to restore “Halleluiah” after motifs of Greek chants from Mount Athos, are all very successful experiments. The performance of Bulgarian composer Dobri Hristov’s “Sepulchral lamentation” was realised on the basis of the author’s manuscripts kept in the St. Aleksandar Nevski Cathedral. With their exquisite mastery and deep piety, the voices of Milen and Daniel are simultaneously uplifting and touching.

In Bulgaria, you can purchase this CD from Dyukyan Meloman – the little store in the basement of 7A “6 Septemvri” Street, which has established itself as an institution for local lovers of non-commercial music.




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