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Bulgarian Songs and Dances for Solo Bassoon and Piano




"...a performance of Bulgarian folks songs as authentic as you can get! The results are in turn exciting, rhythmic, and at times very lovely... I absolutely love this CD! Maria has a beautiful sound and the recording brings this out so nicely... My strong recommendation for this wonderful recording."
IDRS Journal - April 2011
"...curiouser and curiouser the more it goes on... strangely addictive... Wildhaber plays with a totally unexpected toolkit of long wavering pulsating plaintive tones... smooth woody tone..."
Laurence Vittes, Gramophone - February 2011
"Whether slow and contemplative or fast and celebratory, there is a strong tonal underpinning to the music, and the overall language is romantic with an accent... This is Wildhaber’s CD debut, and...there’s no question as to the beauty of Wildhaber’s playing. The bassoon may seem an unlikely candidate to express the more amorous and intimate sentiments of some of these numbers, but Wildhaber proves again and again her ability to transform this goose of the orchestra into the most graceful of swans. Not a single piece on the disc is without interest, and Wildhaber and Tania Tachkova bring out the characterful flavors, both poignant and pungent, in each of them... This is a fantastic release, one I can only urge upon you with the strongest recommendation."
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare - March/April 2011
"You have to give credit to an artist who makes a debut album like this, obviously a labor of love. Maria Jeleztcheva Wildhaber has decided that she wants to share music from her native land in arrangements that she created for bassoon and piano, though she also generously shares much of the success with her pianist... [Wildhaber] has a fine tone, an innate feeling for all of this music (including its complexities of rhythm), and a way of making the sometimes achingly beautiful melodies soar. Pianist Tania Tachkova complements her fluency with a pianism that is light and also well suited to the idiom... Wildhaber makes her case and makes it strongly. Those whose interest is aroused will not be disappointed—she succeeds in presenting this music in a very favorable light... Sound is excellent, with lots of space to breathe."
Steven E. Ritter, Fanfare - March/April 2011
"[the] musical delightful... This is obviously a labor of love for both performers, who give spirited renditions of the music, with the bassoon being a particularly apt choice for instrumental transcription of such works... This disc is recommended to anyone who find this repertoire attractive."
James A. Altena, Fanfare - March/April 2011
"The tone of this program may be classical (the arrangements are thoroughly composed, the bassoon-and-piano texture decorous and refined) but the songs that bassoonist Wildhaber has arranged are sometimes wild and woolly. There are lyrical love ballads and rhythmically spiky dance tunes and several pieces that fall in between, and on some she carefully recreates elements of traditional Balkan vocal stylings. Very impressive and highly recommended."
CD Library HotList - September 2010
When I was growing up in Bulgaria, the local folk music with its dances and songs were part of everyday life and celebrations. Its distinctive asymmetrical and non-metered rhythms are unlike anything in Western music that I’ve performed. While working on my DMA, my teacher, Prof. Frank Morelli, encouraged me to pursue the idea of making this unique music accessible to an audience outside of Bulgaria by arranging it for the bassoon. After listening to traditional recordings and looking for scores both in the United States and on-site in Bulgaria, I narrowed the material down to 13 pieces, six of which are traditional dances, five are art songs containing folk elements and two are non-metered folk songs. All pieces have been arranged for solo bassoon and piano. I couldn’t have done this without my colleague, pianist Tania Tachkova, who, having grown up in Sofia, Bulgaria, brought her own personal view to the interpretation of these pieces. I have provided a synopsis of the lyrics, as the reader will surely benefit from knowing the content of the songs when listening to them. The ratchenizza is a couples dance, while the horo is a line or round dance involving a larger group and a kopanizza is a version of the horo, the name coming from the verb “kopam”, which means to “to dig”; it is sometimes translated as “little digging dance”.

Bulgarian-born Maria Jeleztcheva Wildhaber started taking piano lessons at the age of six and three years later began studying the bassoon. In 1998, she graduated from the music school in her hometown Burgas, on the Black Sea coast. The same year she began her studies in bassoon performance with full scholarship at the University of Arizona with Dr William Dietz. In 2002, she continued with her Master of Music at Yale University, followed by her Doctor of Musical Arts at State University of New York at Stony Brook where she studied with Prof. Frank Morelli. As an avid orchestra and chamber musician, Ms. Wildhaber has performed with various ensembles in Europe, Asia, North and South America. In 2003, she made her Carnegie Hall debut where she performed with the Philharmonia of Russia and Trio Royale. Her work as a chamber musician includes collaborations with Julian Rachlin, Angela Hewitt, Julian Biss, Neil Black and Eli Eban. She has also performed with the Macao Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Verbier and Lucerne Festival Orchestras in Switzerland. Maria has participated in numerous prestigious music festivals such as Banff Centre For The Arts in Canada, National Orchestral Institute in Maryland, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Connecticut, Sarasota Chamber Music Festival in Florida, Verbier Festival and the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. She has collaborated with world famous conductors including Pierre Boulez, James Levine, Gustavo Dudamel, Michael, Christoph von Dohnanyi and Michael Tilson Thomas. Having won various national and international competitions and awards, Ms. Wildhaber’s performances have been broadcasted on several TV stations in the US, Europe, South America and Asia as well as on New York’s WQXR, Washington’s WGMS and Hong Kong’s RTHK radio stations. She maintains a regular performance schedule and continues to be part of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra under Gabor Takacs and the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, where she acts as the Executive Director and Principal Bassoonist. Maria serves on the chamber music faculty at the 92nd Street Y School of Music in New York City and Kinhaven Music School in Weston, Vermont.

Bulgarian pianist Tania Tachkova has appeared as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe. Her performances have taken her to numerous venues which include Wiener Saal at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Centro de Bellas Artes and Museo del Arte in San Juan, the National Palace of Culture and the Grand Bulgaria Hall in Sofia, the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Sarasota Opera House, and Harris Hall at Aspen. She has been featured as a soloist with the Orchestra of the State Academy of Music Pancho Vladiguerov in Sofia, the Shoumen Philharmonic, the Razgrad Philharmonic, and the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Tachkova, a staunch advocate of contemporary music, is the recipient of many awards, grants and scholarships, and her performances have been broadcast on radio and television in the United States and Europe among which are WQXR and Bulgarian National Television. Tania Tachkova holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


Hey, Stoyane (Parashkev Hadzhiev)

Early Morning (Pancho Vladigerov)

Gankino Horo (traditional)

Are you a Tulip, Hyacinth, or Rose? (traditional)

Wedding Ratchenizza (traditional)

Song To My Love (Pancho Vladigerov)

Gagaushko Horo (traditional)

Zlato Girl (traditional)

Gornodikansko Horo (traditional)

Wept My Sweetheart (Marin Goleminov)

Kopanizza (traditional)

Yana (Dimitar Petkov)

Grape-picking Horo (traditional)

MSR Classics
Music for Bassoon and Piano from Eastern Europe MARIA WILDHABER