ALBENA PETROVIC (b.1965): Surviving Bridges of Love, Island of Temptations, Crystal Dream, Mystery Dream, Twinkling Dream, River of Dreams, Hidden Letters.
Catalogue Number: 05V067
Label: Solo Musica
Reference: SM 337
Description: First things first; ignore the titles. While thoroughly approachable, the pieces are far from the new age pablum suggested by what the composer herself describes as ‘sentimentality', apparently to distinguish the works' emotional and atmospheric appeal - which is considerable - from what she calls her "very rational" compositional method. This means that she constructs her thematic material from a limited set of pitches - in the case of recent works at least, musical cyphers representing the names of various dedicatees who are frequently performers associated with the composer; these motifs are decorated in tonal harmony, used freely and non-functionally, and alternately dazzling or meditative piano figuration, to create atmospheric and dramatic works with a strong sense of Impressionism; Petrovic acknowledges Debussy as an influence. An additional coloristic element is incorporated in most of the pieces here by the sparing use of percussion - tambourine, bells, Tibetan bowls - which also contribute to rhythmic passages such as the dance-like section of Bridges. The piano is also called upon to provide 'drum' effects by playing muted bass strings from the keyboard in rhythmic patterns, as frequently encountered in Fazil Say's piano music that emulates folk styles. The Hidden Letters (they spell out 'ROMEO') take the limited pitches to an extreme, as they mostly consist of one note each in various rhythmic constructions, emphasized by ‘drumming' on the body of the piano. Plamena Mangova (piano).