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Slavic Roots (Marina Staneva)

Marina Staneva (piano) (Chandos)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Slavic Roots
Tabakova: Modétudes; Vladigerov: 11 Variations for Piano on a Bulgarian Folk Song ‘Majestic Old Mountain’; Impressions
Marina Staneva (piano)
Chandos CHAN 20251   83:38 mins

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After suffering decades of neglect outside his native Bulgaria, Pancho Vladigerov, and his piano music in particular, seem to be enjoying an unexpected level of interest on record recently.

Marina Staneva delivers these piquant and atmospheric character pieces with passion and commitment, bringing a wealth of colour to the heightened Scriabinesque chromatic harmonies in ‘Langueur’, ‘Étreinte’ and ‘Caresse’, but perhaps sounding a tad cautious in the more extravagantly virtuosic passages of ‘Élégance’ and ‘Le Rire’.

She pairs the Impressions with an impressive performance of one of Vladigerov’s earliest works, the 11 Variations on the Bulgarian Folksong ‘Majestic Mountain’. It’s an attractive work conceived in a late-Romantic musical language that owes much to Chopin and Rachmaninov, but on early acquaintance, doesn’t reveal a particularly strong musical personality. In contrast, the Bulgarian-British composer Dobrinka Tabakova presents a very imaginative exploration of simple melodic patterns and harmonic constellations in her seven Modétudes, performed here with great sensitivity.

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Erik Levi