“The Nightingale's Song” is Svetoglas Quartet’s new album − polyphonic folklore voices from past and present

Photo: svetoglas.com

The Svetoglas male a cappella vocal quartet marks its 10th anniversary with a new album. The polyphonic rendering of ancient examples of folk tradition, reinterpreted, is at the heart of the musical aesthetics of the Svetoglas Bulgarian Polyphony. The four singers: Daniel Spassov, Stanimir Ivanov, Viktor Tomanov and Milen Ivanov sing a cappella, which is another sign of their high performing class. As good experts in musical dialects, they give life to songs of our archaic heritage through today's worldview prism thanks to their timbre vocals. The four have also had successful tours around the world - Norway, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Colombia, Sweden, France and more. Milen Ivanov - artistic director of "Svetoglas", author of all the arrangements in "The Nightingale's Song" has told us more about already released albums and the latest one:

“Creating chamber music is very precise and hard work but this is what I wanted to do. That's why we created Svetoglas together with Daniel, with whom we have been singing in duet for years. In our previous album, we had to overlay voices in order to achieve polyphony as effect. When we gave the album to Swiss producer Marcel Celier, he said, ‘Great, but where are the other two singers?’ He suggested we find two more singers to present the songs in a stage version. I'm glad we found like-minded people in the face of Viktor and Stanimir. I'll go back in time a little bit... Whenever we make a new album, we rely on the concept. The first one called The Wheel of Life, includes folk songs and church chants that traditionally accompany the life cycle - birth, growing up, wedding, death, but are also in accordance with the annual calendar. The second album consists only of church chants, which we recorded in the church of the Klisura Monastery, near the town of Varshets, in a natural environment, without technical intervention. The third album, The Nightingale’s Song, is a combination of songs that we perform in our concert programs. Almost all of them were recorded "live" because we are seeking for this sincerity and genuineness. We even left the applause in the recording. We count on more modern combinations of genres. In an old song, we even used a modern beat box technique. In another experiment, as a classical musician and graduate of the Pancho Vladigerov National Academy of Music, I combined ancient Bulgarian folklore with the fugue from Mozart's ‘The Magic Flute’. I used part of a song from the Thracian folk region, known from the performance of Bulgaria’s great folk singer Valkana Stoyanova. I hope the meeting of the two genres has been successful. It was not easy for me - Mozart is perfect and even if you take one tone away, everything falls apart like a sand tower. The recording is from a premiere performance at the cathedral in Crest, France, and we called the play ‘Igra’ (A Game). The audience has welcomed it heartily.”

“The first track is in fact an ancient song called ‘Sa nok mi bilbil pripea’ /Nightingale Singing at Night/, known in the rendition of another great Bulgarian folk singer − Kostadin Gugov. We sang it in a new rendition with an accompaniment of Nikolay Antov’s acoustic guitar. The album contains 22 songs and has enjoyed its first positive reviews. The official presentation will take place at the Sofia City Art Gallery on November 28. Thanks to the Art Gallery and the Sofia Municipality, we will be able to present the album in such a beautiful art space, with good acoustics. Anyone interested is welcome to the concert!”


English: Alexander Markov


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