GEORGI MINCHEV (b.1939): Concert Music for Orchestra, Contrasts for Orchestra, Monodia and Concerto Grosso for Viola, Harpsichord, Percussion and Strings.
Catalogue Number: 11L108
Reference: CD 344
Description: Contrasts is a kind of concerto for orchestra, allowing ample opportunity for displays of virtuosity from groups or individuals within the context of a large-scale, free-ranging structure. In terms of vocabulary, the piece oscillates between an harmonically accessible free atonality and a more straightforward tonal language, often underlined by precise, dynamic rhythmic propulsion, sometimes apparently derived from Le sacre, sometimes from Soviet-era symphonic marches and allegro movements, and sometimes hinting at big-band jazz. An eclectic mixture, but a high-energy, communicative and accessible one. The Monodia of the 2007 work is an expressive, virtuosic, six-minute unaccompanied soliloquy for the solo viola, before being joined by the ensemble, led by the harpsichord with rapid gestural decoration leading into a motoric allegro. Thereafter the piece functions as a broadly conventional concerto form, unquestionably tonally based but harmonically very free. Concert Music is a much earlier piece, from 1976, with conscious echoes of Stravinsky, and early examples of the motoric, jazz-inflected fast music that characterizes many of Minchev's orchestral scores. Although frequently not really tonal, the music hovers around tonal centers and presents an harmonic cohesiveness that never strays far from the border of tonality. Dimitar Penkov (viola), Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vassil Stefanov, Rossen Milanov, Plamen Djouroff.