Dobrinka Tabakova

Dobrinka Tabakova

Tenderness and yearning are rarely absent from the music of Dobrinka Tabakova. The composer, born in Bulgaria and resident in Britain, possesses the courage to explore her rich inner emotional world and channel whatever she finds there into scores that speak direct to the heart. Tabakova’s exquisitely beautiful musical language, hallmarked by its expressive strength and inventive vitality, features in the Hallé’s recording of four distinctive works that span the creative output of two decades. The Manchester-based orchestra is conducted by Delyana Lazarova, a native of Tabakova’s home city of Plovdiv. “We’d never met before working on this recording,” the composer tells Apple Music Classical. “We have the Hallé’s general manager, David Butcher, to thank for making that wonderful connection.” The album, recorded live during Tabakova’s term as the Hallé’s composer-in-residence, includes two characterful concertos, and the complex interlocking blocks of orchestral colors that form the Earth Suite trilogy. “If I connect with people,” adds Tabakova, “maybe they will find a home in this music, or in art, or in literature, as I do.” Read on as she takes us through the works on this very special album. Orpheus' Comet (2017) “Orpheus’ Comet touches on apparently unrelated things merging and suddenly making sense. I guess it’s inspired by our world’s chaotic reality. It was commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the European Broadcasting Union’s Music Exchange. The fanfare from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo is Euroradio’s signature tune, and I've encoded little phrases from the opera into the piece before quoting the fanfare. “I read the Orpheus myth in the version told by Virgil in his fourth book of Georgics. He’s mostly writing about beekeeping, and the idea of industrious bees really stuck with me. You can hear an almost aleatoric buzzing in the horns that start Orpheus’ Comet.” Concerto for Viola and Strings “I wanted to make a big statement with this piece. There’s something of the confidence of youth about it! It was written almost as a four-movement viola symphony, although the last two movements are connected. “I composed it for Maxim Rysanov who plays with such deep understanding on this recording. I’d heard him perform Alfred Schnittke’s Viola Concerto in the early 2000s and was so impressed by what he could do. Maxim was one of the first people to perform my music in public and commission a piece from me. I wanted to highlight his wonderful virtuosity in a work that celebrates the viola.” Earth Suite “The pieces that make up this suite date from my residency with the BBC Concert Orchestra. They metamorphosed into Earth Suite, which contemplates the natural world and our impact on it. “‘Tectonic’ is about Earth’s shifting geological plates. But it’s also about the seismic shifts in our society. “I wrote ‘Pacific’ just before lockdown, when I sensed that something was about to happen. So perhaps it deals with uncertainty. “And then ‘Timber & Steel’ connects with the Industrial Revolution and the conductor Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, who was known as ‘Timber.’ I’m very proud of this piece, of the way a seamless mind appears to run through it.” Concerto for Cello and Strings “This technically challenging concerto has had a very good life since its premiere in 2008, and has already been recorded. In this live recording, the cellist Guy Johnston overcomes all of those challenges. He paced himself and found his way of dealing with the difficulties, and became deeply immersed in the nuances of the score by the fifth performance, which is essentially when this recording was made. “The fundamental concept of the piece is about an ascent that runs across its three movements. Although each movement has an indication of its nature—‘Turbulent,’ ‘Longing,’ ‘Radiant’—they come together almost as a single, seamless form.”

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