EMIL TABAKOV (b.1947): Complete Symphonies, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 8, 5 Bulgarian Dances.
Catalogue Number: 08S009
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOC 0365
Description: The booklet notes mention 'taste and restraint' but both are refreshingly absent from the riotous Bulgarian Dances, which emulate the rhythms, melodic contours and modality of Bulgarian folk idioms without using any authentic material. The first three are foot-stompingly energetic; the fourth builds a powerful crescendo from repetitions of an increasingly densely orchestrated sinuous phrase, and the last is a hectic scamper to the finish. The composer's colorful use of large orchestral forces is reminiscent of Khachaturian, though his gleeful use of drums (school of Gene Krupa) to propel the music onward not infrequently impart an incongruous but undeniably exciting big band jazz feel to the proceedings. The symphony is another matter altogether. Ambiguously tonal, it is based on small motifs which build into dense textures, which approach sonorism in their surging masses of sound. These themes suggest a kind of tonality, and their pervasiveness throughout the symphony lends continuity and a sense of development, though not in the conventional sense. The first movement is a huge prefatory, scene-setting tableau, commencing in looming, primordial textures and gradually allowing the material on which the work is to be built to emerge in ever more definite, imposing form. The main theme is hammered out in an impressive, percussive climax; the vision suddenly recedes and the mist-shrouded vistas of the opening return. The second movement does much the same thing, re-examining the same material in different ways, again coalescing from inchoate beginnings to two brief declamatory climaxes this time, then subsiding into the gloom. In the finale, the pent-up energy suppressed beneath the weight of the first two movements erupts into uncontrollable dynamism, rapid versions of the work's persistent leitmotifs flung about in the irresistible current. An ominous episode recalls the opening, then the music gathers strength and explodes into action again, before a final, exhausted coda. Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Emil Tabakov.