Music for Cello From Bulgaria

Roumi Petrova

Elena Antimova, Piano

Charles Schwartz Foundation



"Petrova’s heart is firmly in the right place... The music on this release is disarmingly simple and direct, deeply primordial in its affect, and, paradoxically, subtly sophisticated in its harmonic and rhythmic construction. The essence of her language can be found in the second movement of Sonata No. 1 [which] gradually and eloquently builds to moments of almost unbearable poignancy... Kalin Ivanov plays with impeccable intonation, idiomatically telling phrasing, and projects a gratifyingly large and variegated tone. The last offering, Five Ancient Bulgarian Portraits, is for cello solo, and reveals the full extent of his musicianship. In the other pieces, he and pianist Elena Antimova are always on the same wavelength. The recording is to my liking―close up to the point where I can smell the rosin coming from Ivanov’s bow, but with enough space that the full-throated tone of his instrument registers fully at the music’s louder moments. His balance with Antimova’s piano is fine. One can hear the subtlety of her touch, voicing, and pedaling."
Fanfare [July / August 2007]
"this collection of works by the talented young composer Roumi Petrova is a real find and a very pleasant surprise... the native elements [of Bulgarian music] are wielded with a fine-tipped brush, and Petrova's own melodic turns, fluent balancing of lines and structural economy are very impressive... [In the Passacaglia] Ivanov brings a finely differentiated array of expression to this music...Ivanov produces a big, rich tone, his idiomatic fruity timbre and astringent edge bringing exciting bravura to the tearaway coda...[In the Sonata No.1] Petrova displays deft and inventive writing for piano as well as cello... [The central movement] is compelling and beautifully crafted, artfully blending the folk essence and elegaic inspiration...Ivanov's dark, rich timbre is eminently well-suited to the dirge-like expression... [the coda is] magnificently played by Ivanov and Antimova... [The lullaby of the Second Sonata is] played with utmost tenderness... Possibly the most impressive work here is the Five Bulgarian Portraits. The number of memorable works written in recent years for solo cello is not expansive, but Petrova's delightful, ear-catching miniatures deserve to be added to that concise canon, gratefully written for the instrument and hugely communicative... Cellists looking for new recital material are strongly urged to investigate these new works, as are all with open ears who will find in Roumi Petrova an intriguing, distinctive and greatly gifted new voice on the music scene."
Gramophone [Awards Issue, 2006]
"Four gorgeous new pieces by the young Bulgarian composer Roumi Petrova... The rhythms are vigorous and strange, the melodies haunting and modal, and the playing exquisite. Highly recommended to all libraries."
CD HotList for Libraries [September 2006]
"Petrova demonstrates in her music her strong connection with the Bulgarian folk songs and rhythms of her home country. She is a friend of fellow Bulgarian cellist Ivanov and has written these works for him. The folk flavor is a major part of these pieces and though exotic in both melodic construction and rhythms, it is tonal and accessible music. Pianist Antimova is also Bulgarian and the combined artistry of the three musicians results in some heartfelt exploration of the Bulgarian musical soul."
Audiophile Audition [March 2007]
"[a] most pleasant program... Petrova's music has a very natural sound, incorporating folk styles from her native country in a lively way... Ivanov and Antimova seem to be enjoying themselves very much and so did I"
American Record Guide [November/December 2006]
"the Adagio [from the Passacaglia] possesses a soulful legato line, played with singing tone by Ivanov... The first sonata starts with an opening movement...that has a palpable sense of flow about it, the thematic material affording richly sonorous playing from Ivanov. [In the slow movement] Petrova affords many opportunities for introspection to both instrumental parts: the cello contrasts nobility and pride with enigmatic pianissimo playing; the piano underlines the movement’s character by intoning repeated chords akin to a peal of bells...there is much to recommend the incisive playing of Elena Antimova...[In the second sonata] Ivanov [provides] bouncy and fleetingly inflected playing, spurred on by Antimova."
MusicWeb International [October 2006]
ENCHANTED RHYTHMS is a collection of accessible music for solo cello, written specifically for a Bulgarian cellist by a Bulgarian composer and based upon Bulgarian folk tunes and rhythms. The works are infused with all the qualities that make Bulgarian music a form unto itself. Composer Roumi Petrova and cellist Kalin Ivanov, with support from pianist Elena Antimova, create an evocative world of dances and lullabies in which the very musical soul of Bulgaria is conjured. The long-standing friendship of Petrova and Ivanov no doubt adds to genuine feeling of the music-making. Unusual and spirited rhythms, coupled with interesting harmony and very catchy tunes, make for a compelling and satisfying listening experience.

Bulgarian-born composer ROUMI PETROVA is a cosmopolitan artist with years of study and work in Europe, Africa and America. Her compositions have been performed in major halls around the world, and broadcast on radio and television. She studied at the Bulgarian Academy of Music, after which she performed with South Africa’s Pretoria State Opera and Cape Town Symphony and with the Natal Philharmonic in Durban. In 1999, she moved to New York and joined the faculty of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, becoming Director of the Brooklyn Conservatory Community Orchestra. During her years in South Africa, Ms. Petrova discovered her passion for composing, and being a chamber musician herself, turned to that genre as a favorite medium. She found that despite having left Bulgaria, she maintained a strong connection to the folk traditions there, and thus formed a compositional style deeply rooted in this rich history.

Cellist KALIN IVANOV is a soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist. A native of Bulgaria, he holds a degree from Brooklyn College. Ivanov has performed in the concert halls of Bulgaria, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, France, England, Russia and the United States, and has appeared with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Virtuosi Orchestra and Ensemble Du Monde, among many others. His recordings have been broadcast on radio and television. Mr. Ivanov teaches cello and chamber music at Adelphi University, Long Island Conservatory, SUNY and Brooklyn College, and has taught at Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music Summer Music Camp, Manchester Music Festival and others. He had led master classes at international competitions, and is a founding member of the Forte String Quartet, Trio BG, and Bulgarian Piano Quartet.

Bulgarian born ELENA ANTIMOVA began playing the piano at age of four, and gave her first solo recital at age of six. She has received honors from several national competitions, and was the Special Prize winner at the First National Piano Competition for Contemporary American Music. She studied piano at the Tanglewood Institute, and performed with the Young Artists Orchestra at the Tanglewood Music Festival. As a solo and chamber musician, she gave performances at Weill Hall, Klavierhaus, National Arts Club and CAMI Hall. She studied with Gilbert Kalish among others, and her performances have been broadcast on radio and television, both in the United States and abroad.
Five Ancient Bulgarian portraits for Solo Violoncello

Sonata No.1 for Violoncello and Piano

Passacaglia on a Traditional Bulgarian Melody for Violoncello and Piano

Sonata No.2 for Violoncello and Piano

MSR Classics