21 април 2006


Reykjavík Arts Festival, 20. and 21. May 2006


The foundations of the Bulgarian church music were laid in the 9th century, under the influence of the eastern Christian religion. The programme includes compositions of anonymous authors from the 13th century, from John Kukuzel ( 1280-1360) - an outstanding figure in the Bulgarian church music and most significant representative of the middle ages. The fall of Bulgaria under the Ottoman domination interrupted the development of the Bulgarian church music for a long time, but its traditions were adopted and developed by other Slavic and mainly Russian composers – Rimski-Korsakov, Chaikovski, Rahmaninov.
The revival of the Bulgarian musical culture which started in the 18th century, is connected with the composers Nyophyte Rilski, Peter Dinev, Dobri Hristov, Nikolai Strumski. We have presented a contemporary interpretation of the orthodox musical tradition by including the work of the modern Bulgarian composer Ivan Spassov – the prayer “Holy God”

1. GOSPODI, POMILUI (Lord, have mercy) by Anonymous, 13th century.

2. BOGORODICE, DEVO (Holy Virgin)
, Orthodox / arr. by priest Kiril Popov
Rejoice, Holy Virgin, God is with you
Blessed are you among women
And blessed is the child you will bear
He is the Saviour of our souls
Let the name of God be blesses from now and for ever.

3. OUR FATHER (Otche nash) by N. Rimsky-Korsakov
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

4. PRAISE THE NAME OF THE LORD (Hvalite ime Gospodne) by D. Hristov
Let us praise the name of the Lord, for His is the glory of heaven and earth.

5. BLAGOSLOVEN ISI, GOSPODI ( Blessed be the Lord) by P. I. Tchaikovsky
Thou art blessed, Lord, teach me the wisdom.

6. VELIKO SLAVOSLOVIE (Great song of Praise)
by A. Strumski
Glory to God in heaven, to peace on earth and to the virtue of man.

7. TEBE POEM (Unto thee we sing)
by D. Hristov
Unto thee we sing. We glorify thee, we thank thee. And unto thee, our Lord we pray.

8. SVIATII BOJE (Holy God) by Ivan Spasov (1934-1997)
Holy God, holy Power, holy Eternity, have mercy upon us.


The program of traditional Bulgarian music offers some of the best traditional songs using complex and rich harmony. The mystical voices of the singers have managed to eliminate barriers between East and West, pop music fans and classical listeners. The basis of the choirs’ repertoire is derived from the a cappella music sung from centuries in peasant villages and churches. Isolated from the West, the vocal traditions of Bulgarian folk music have maintained their original characteristics and spirituality.

1. ZHENALA DYULBER YANA (Yana is reaping in the field)
arr. by Georgy Petkov.
Beautiful Jana is reaping alone in the field near crossroads. In these troubled years she feels so lonely and unprotected.

2. RANO RANILA DILYANA ( Dilyana is an early riser) arr. by St. Mutaftchiev

3. LALE LI SI… (Are you a tulip…?) arr. by Filip Kutev
Are you a tulip, are you hyacinth, are you a rose – the lad in love is at a loss finding a flower as beautiful as his beloved one.

4. DVA TAPANA BIYAT (Two drums are beating) by Ivan Spasov

5. DRAGANA I SLAVEI (Dragana and Nightingale) by Filip Kutev
The nightingale challenges Dragana to a singing contest, wagering its wings; Dragana bets to cut her long hair. She wins, but refuses the bird’s sacrifice, satisfied with her triumph alone.

6.TRISTA SA PUSHKI PUKNALI (Three hundred guns fired) by Stoyan Gagov
A song from the Thracia folklore region telling about a young hero who got killed.

7. IBISH AGA (vocal group), traditional song
On his deathbed Ibish aga takes final farewell with his beloved wife.

8. KALIMANKO DENKU (Godmother Denka) by Krasimir Kyurkchiyski
A sad love story about a young one who is desperately in love with his godmother.

9. DYULMANO, DYULBERO (Beautiful Dyulmana)
by Krasimir Kyurkchiyski
Beautiful Dyulmana, teach me how to plant green peppers so they can flower and bear plentiful fruits.

10. DUMBA by Georgy Petkov
A cheerful song about the working-bee gatherings in the winter time.

11. PILENCE PEE (A bird is singing)
The bird is singing and warning: Let the young one love and be loved because the forthcoming years will be difficult.

12. MEHMETIO by Ivan Spassov
The song is based on folk tunes from the Rhodope Mountain. An unhappy love story revealed through aleatoric composition technique. The young shepherd keeps hearing the voice of his beloved girl in the ring of the sheep’s bells.

Conductor: Georgy Petkov
Born in the town of Gabrovo on the 24th of April, 1961 in a family of traditional musicians. He finished secondary music school and in 1986 graduated from the Music Conservatorium in Plovdiv with the specialty of “Choral Conductorship”. Since than he has worked as a conductor and chief conductor of many of Bulgaria’s finest choirs and has toured with these groups throughout Europe. Georgy Petkov is regarded as one of the leading young composers in Bulgaria. His compositions are included in the albums of various internationally acclaimed groups such as: Chieftains, Enrique Morente, Vartina, etc.