With the songs of my family


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Concert-show with original music by Krasimir Kondov

On May 16, 2023 at the Ivan Radoev Drama and Puppet Theatre – Pleven, a concert-show titled “With the Songs of My Kin” was held, dedicated to the personal and creative anniversary of Krasimir Kondov (60th anniversary and 40 years of creative activity). The performance included: the entire cast of the Ivan Valev Northern Ensemble, “Eva Quartet”, students from the specialty Folk Singing at the Panayot Pipkov National School of Arts – Pleven, bagpipe orchestra at the Dobri Hristov National School of Arts – Varna, and at the beginning of the concert, students and teachers from the Philip Kutev National School of Arts – Kotel presented a special musical greeting, again with the performance of a bagpipe orchestra.

Krasimir Kondov is a famous Bulgarian bagpiper, arranger, and composer, chief artistic director of the Ivan Valev Northern Ensemble (since 2016), lecturer at the Panayot Pipkov National School of Arts. His virtuoso and influential instrumental performances of bagpipe are present in CDs of famous musicians, in his solo album “The Bagpipe” (2006) and others. His compositions are included in the fourth disc of Marcel Cellier’s series “The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices”, and the song “Radke, Mom, Radke”, performed by “Eva Quartet”, is part of the compilation album Spiritus, released by PolyGram, containing ethnomusic from around the world with such names as Deep Forest, Era, Andrea Bocelli, Goran Bregovic and others. With his work, he supported “Eva Quartet” in the first steps of the ensemble. He worked at the Bolgrad G. S. Rakovski High School in Bessarabia, Ukraine, and with his overall activity on this territory, it left a bright mark – it created folklore ensembles and provided methodological assistance to local performers.

The performance was built entirely on the basis of the original music of Krasimir Kondov, presenting the rich spectrum of genres in his work: solo, chamber, and choral songs accompanied by a folk orchestra, a cappella choral and chamber vocal compositions, instrumental concert and dance music. They were all united by the idea of a common spectacle with a unified dramaturgy, in which bright, different types of climactic accents emerged. They were related, on the one hand, to the explosive appearances of favourite performers – Krasimir Kondov himself as a soloist of the orchestra in the concert play “Quadruple Horo”, “Eva Quartet”, as well as to the audience’s beloved choir and dance cast of the Northern Ensemble. Here we will mention, of course, the final scene that united all the performers against the backdrop of the enchanting bagpipe performance of “The Circassian” (Dobri Hristov National School of Arts – Varna). On the other hand, the performances themselves set their lyrical, ritual, or ecstatic culminating moments: the choral arrangement “Prituri se planinata” (performed by the choir of the Northern Ensemble), “King Murat”, performed by the “Eva Quartet”, both symmetrically arranged in the program ritual scenes with impressive music, choreography and speech. All the while, the orchestra of the Northern Ensemble was the unifying unit that maintained the dramatic rhythm, and the performances of students from the Panayot Pipkov National School of Arts carried the wonderful idea of continuity.

The program of the concert show gave us the opportunity to follow the different manifestations of the style of the composer Krasimir Kondov in terms of a specific genre – for example, the different approach in the development of musical material with the songs are accompanied by an orchestra and when they are conceived as an a cappella work. In the first case, the composition follows the principle of homophony. In the second, Kondov uses a rich set of compositional means – imitation technique, dissonant harmony, original fresh chord connections, rhythmic diversity. I would especially like to emphasize Kondov’s magnificent ability to position in his choral compositions each of the parties in the tessitura that is most suitable for it, so that it can express to the maximum extent its most typical timbre characteristics. Perhaps that’s why Kondov’s choral treatments sound so soft and dense at the same time. His knowledge of the specifics of the voice is especially evident in the moments when the main melodic development is delegated to the inner voices.

The choreographer of the ensemble Martin Mochkov said about the dances presented at the concert show: “The performance of the dance ensemble included three dances (the inaugural dance “From the Megdan”, “Kalushari” and “Laduvane”) from my author’s thematic-dramatic folklore performance “From the Megdan”[1]. The idea was to present typical rituals for Central Northern Bulgaria. As a basis for the performance, I used ethnographic descriptions of rituals, incl. recordings of musical material. Krasimir Kondov wrote the music of the show on the basis of authentic musical samples as only he could … ”.

At the end of the performance, the Mayor of the Municipality of Pleven, Mr. Georg Spartanski, presented Krasimir Kondov with the “Honorary Sign of Pleven” with words of gratitude for his creative work. Kondov received another award – “Golden Lyre” from the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers for his creative contribution to folklore art. The award was presented by the Principal of the Panayot Pipkov National School of Arts – Pleven, Mr. Rumen Todorov.

Krasimir Kondov said: “Thank you to the audience! Without your attention and applause, we artists cannot exist! You are our faithful corrective, which makes us continue to create, to perfect our wonderful folk music and so we will move forward as we breathe!”.

We wish Krasimir Kondov to continue to delight the audience for many years with new works, the fruit of his unique gift!

[1] The titles of the dances as quoted from the concert program. In the thematic-dramatic performance “From the Megdan”, the dances are marked as “From the Megdan”, “Rusaltsi” and “Fortune-telling”.

With the songs of my family

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