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PHILHARMONICA. International Music Journal

The concert of the Vladigerovs’ Trio at the Moscow Conservatory

Fedotova Valeriya Nikolaevna

PhD in Art History

Senior Scientific Associate, State Institute of Art Studies

120090, Russia, Moscow, Troitskaya Street 9, building #1
Other publications by this author







Abstract: On September 17, the Rachmaninov Concert Hall of the Moscow Conservatory held the concert of the famous Bulgarian musicians Ekaterina, Konstantin, and Alexander Vladigerovs dedicated to the 150th Anniversary of the prominent Russian university. The musicians actively tour in Europe and the New Word, and successfully participate in various international jazz festivals. Their works are also available on CD. The concert contained the compositions of various generations of the Vladigerov family in arrangements and Dmitri Shostakovich’s miniatures. The material presentation in the article is determined by comparative analysis, traditional for reviews, and the historical angle of presentation of the events. The review underlines the high-level mastery of the musicians, perfect command of musical instruments, remarkable artistic impression, refined and versatile timbre and sound scales of performance. The musicians' sparkling temperament, typical for the national Bulgarian character, was enthusiastically welcomed by Moscow audience.


Pancho Vladigerov, Ekaterina Vladigerov, Konstantin Vladigerov, Alxander Vladigerov, Rachmaninov Concert Hall, Moscow Conservatory, Max Reinhardt, Marionette-heater Schönbrunn Palace (Vienna), Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria, Bulgarian Cultural Institute

On September 17, the Rachmaninov Concert Hall of the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory held the concert of the Bulgarian musicians Ekaterina, Konstantin and Aleksander Vladigerovs (also: Ekaterina, Konstantin and Alexander Wladigeroffs). The concert was dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Conservatory. The musicians have been in Moscow more than once; they successfully performed at the Oval Hall of the M.I. Rudomino State Library of Foreign Literature and the A.N. Scriabin Memorial Museum. A remarkable concert was held in the Heraldic Hall of the Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow. The previous Moscow concerts included not only the works of the academic composers, but also the authors’ versions of Bulgarian songs – bright and energetic jazz spectacles. The creative area of the young musicians is determined by their education: they graduated from the Pancho Vladigerov National Academy of Music in Sofia (Ekaterina specialized in the piano music, Aleksander – the trumpet, and Konstantin – in the clarinet music), and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna (the former Vienna Conservatory), and got the “serious” jazz musicians diplomas. Twice they were rewarded with the prestigious annual “Fidelio” Award of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. The musicians give many performances in Europe and America and successfully participate in various international jazz festivals; their works have been recorded on CDs.


The Vladigerovs’ Trio Performance in the Rachmaninov Concert Hall

The musicians inherited the many-sided character of their work from their grandfather, the significant Bulgarian composer PanchoVladigerov (1899 – 1878), well-known in Russia. He was the first national composer, whose music attracted the attention of the European and American listeners, and whose works are among the records of the greatest performers. The music of Vladigerov is still played in concert halls, being the part of the national and foreign instrumentalists’ repertoires. PanchoVladigerov stood at the origins of many genres of Bulgarian academic music and created the variety of piano, instrumental chamber and symphonic compositions, an opera and a ballet. He graduated from the Staatliche Akademische Hochschule für Musik (now part of the Berlin University of the Arts) and at his young age he was awarded with its prizes twice. It’s interesting to mention that in 1920 the best-known German stage director Max Reinhardt invited Vladigerov to work in the Deutsches Theater, where he got the task to compose jazz and popular music, that was in fashion in Europe where the new music genre was enthusiastically being opened up. Vladigerov’s work in the field of theatre music became the first jazz experience of the Bulgarian music culture. At the same time, the composer always showed his love towards the Russian music culture. It should be mentioned that the Russian language was his native language (his mother Elisa Vladigerova-Pasternak was born in Russia; she graduated from the Medical Faculty in Paris). It’s no coincidence that in Berlin he studied under the professor Paul Juon, the Moscow conservatory alumni; Sergey Rachmaninov was one of his most beloved composers. Vladigerov and Dmitrii Shostakovich also were good friends.

The young musicians, Ekaterina, Aleksander and Konstantin, Vladigerov’s grandchildren, carried on their outstanding grandfather’s tradition. The concert included the compositions on the works of the Bulgarian classic of different periods, particularly, the musical fantasy on the romance from the performance based on the play “Juarez and Maximilian” by the well-known German playwright Franz Werfel, directed in the Deutsches Theater in 1926 by Max Reinhardt and telling about a tragic episode of the death of Archduke Maximilian, the brother of Franz Joseph, the Emperor of Austria, in Mexico in 1867. By the subtle treatment of the wind instruments’ timbres, tenderly accompanied by the piano, the musicians reproduce the intonations, close to the human voice (the romance in the play is performed by a singer on the stage), stressing the expressive melodism, the prominent passages from the dynamic culminations to the “hidden” pianissimo. The rhythmic fragments of the composition refer the listeners to the Mexican music and, at the same time, transfuse the emotional tension, enduing all the compositions of the expressionist playwright. It can be realized due to the musicians’ masterful grasp of various jazz styles and the techniques of the academic music. The stirring “Foxtrot” (1925) by Pancho Vladigerov in the Trio’s interpretation demonstrates another aspect of the Bulgarian classic’s work, successfully mastered by him in his young days. The performers carefully set the Three violin duets and the Fourth Waltz from Shostakovich’s Five Pieces for Two Violins, emphasizing the brightness of the thematic invention and the energy power and perceiving the mischievous epatage, typical for some works of the composer, who had cooperated with such a great stage director as Meyerhold.

The “Ballade”, created by Konstantin Vladigerov on the base of the Vienna Puppet Theatre incidental music, called by the author “Varen’ka”, in which the magic of a good fairy-tale is expressed via the song melodism and jazz harmonies with their unexpectedly flaring colours, sounded strickingly touching. Finishing their performance with the well-known Diniku/Vladigerov “Horo-Staccato”, the musicians demonstrated a special rhythmical intensity and incredible tempo characteristics, typical for the Balkan music, which had been fully realized in their performance (Konstantin Vladigerov played the trumpet solo).

At the present time, the young Vladigerovs, in addition to numerous concerts and world-wide tours, compose theatrical music, as did their grandfather. In particular, they wrote the music to Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” for the oldest Burgtheater in Vienna. We should emphasize the high masterly performance of the musicians, the virtuosic equipment and perfect mastery of numerous musical instruments, the catching artistry, subtle and diverse colour and sound shades of execution. We cannot but mention the bright temperament, typical for the national Bulgarian character, that had been so vividly performed by the remarkable Vladigerovs’ Trio. They presented their shiny talent to the Moscow audience, who enthusiastically accepted this generous gift.

All the spectators are grateful to the Bulgarian Cultural Institute for the organization of this concert. We express special gratitude to His Excellency Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to Russia Boyko Kotzev, who was also present among the spectators and had many times supported the organization of wonderful concerts in the Bulgarian Embassy with the participation of the Bulgarian and Russian artists.

1. Fedotova, V. N. Bolgarskaya muzyka XX veka v kontekste natsional'noi khudozhestvennoi kul'tury. Ocherki.-M.: Izd-vo "Muzizdat", 2012.-320 s