Motif Concerts, 2017/2018 Season

Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise, Schumann’s Piano quartet, Brahms’s Piano quintet… the Motif Concerts’ 2017/2018 season emphasizes on the absolute Romantic chamber music masterpieces – works which lead an ages long fight for the first place in the “Favorites” chart, chosen by the toughest jury ever – the audience.

Besides meetings with glamorous musicians such as the English baritone Ivan Ludlow, his Bulgarian colleague and our audience’s sweetheart, Alexander Mutafchiiski, the volcano-like percussionist Vassilena Serafimova and many others, the Motif Concerts’ fourth season offers its admirers exciting top-quality events with young and charismatic performers who gather in Sofia for six unforgettable music celebrations.

All concerts will take place at Sofia’s House at 12, Midzhur Street from 7:30 p.m.

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Motif: Winterreise | November 24th, 2017


PERFORMERS

IVAN LUDLOW, barirtone

DANIEL TONG, piano

PROGRAM

SCHUBERT – Winterreise Song Cycle

Photography: Maya Medic

CURIOUS FACTS

‘More beautiful German songs probably do not exist’ – claims with certainty Schubert’s childhood friend, Josef von Spaun. Despite this high appraisal, the genius of song is to be forgotten for decades, similar to his difficult fate as a composer during his lifetime.

Among the several hundred songs Franz Schubert writes, are his two eminent song cycles – Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin. Both are based on Wilhelm Müller’s poetry, both are considered the absolute masterpieces in this genre. Winterreise is distinguished by the lack of narrative and is focused on the psychological states the main character experiences.

Born in London but raised in Brussels, Ivan Ludlow received his education at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio. He is a regular guests of some of the most prestigious European opera stages such as Napoli, Spoletto, Paris, Lyon, Athens, Toulouse, Welsh National Opera, Strasbourg, Marseille, Bordeau, Lausane, and many others. Ivan performs in recitals throughout Europe and USA, most often in partnership with Daniel Tong – the London’s Bridge Ensemble’s pianist.

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Motif: Christmass | December 7th, 2017


PERFORMERS

DOROTEYA DOROTEEVA, soprano

ALEXANDER MUTAFCHIISKI, baritone

VENETA NEYNSKA, piano

PROGRAM

Christmas mood with popular festive melodies, as well as the audience’s favorite arias and duets from famous operettas and musicals.

CURIOUS FACTS

An unforgettable joy and genuine furore accompany every concert of Doroteya Doroteeva and Alexander Mutafchiiski for our audience. For those who also know her off the stage, the famous Bulgarian soprano is an exceptional professionalist, never comes late and always planns her programme up to the smallest detail. Sharing the same strive for perfection, the Sofia Musical Theatre’s star Alexander believes that the great artist can not be dishonest as a person; as a child, he dreamed of becoming a cook, and he would kill for… sweets! The grand piano will be taken over by pianist Veneta Neynska, a student of world-renowned pianist John Perry and Modo Bulgaria’s artistic director.

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Motif: Masterpiece | January 4th, 2018


PERFORMERS

CHARLOTTE MAClET, violin | ELITSA BOGDANOVA, viola
STEFAN HADJIEV, violoncello | VENETA NEYNSKA, piano

PROGRAM
HANDEL-HALVORSEN – Passacaglia
KODALY – Duo for violin and violoncello
SCHUMANN – Piano Quartet

CURIOUS FACTS

Norwegian composer Johan Halvorsenpublished his Passacaglia in 1894. The piece is based on the G minor Suite’s last movement by German baroque master Georg Friedrich Handel and impresses with the high level of virtuosity, required by the performers.

Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly wrote his Duo for violin and violoncello during World War I but the piece is not performed in public for ten years before its premiere in Salzburg in 1924. Its three movements are full of Hungarian folk songs motifs and are shaped as a dialogue between the two instruments.
Typical for Robert Schumann is the obsessive concentration on a specific genre in the music he composes. Thus, in his “Chamber Music Year” he created his famous Piano Quintet, three string quartets, as well as the Piano Quartet, op. 47. His works until this point do not include a chamber piece, except for an early juvenile attempt.

Motif: Romance | February 13th, 2018


PERFORMERS

SANCAR SAPAEV, violin

YANA ZELENOGORSKA, violin

STEFANIA YANKOVA, viola

ATANAS KRASTEV, violoncello

VENETA NEYNSKA, piano

PROGRAM

BRUCH – Romance for viola

SCHOSTAKOVICH – Prelude from Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano

BRAHMS – Piano Quintet in F minor, op. 34

CURIOUS FACTS

‘The beauty of the quintet cannot be put into words’, exclaimed conductor Hermann Levy but this appraisal comes after some wandering among chamber music’s depths. In fact, the Piano Quintet’s original version by Johannes Brahms doesn’t include a piano and is scored for a string quintet. The transformation that followed is for two pianos without strings and only the third version we know best today is for two violins, viola, violoncello and piano. Brahms destroyed the original for strings but published the other two versions of the piece.


Motif: Catalyst, March 24th, 2018


PERFORMERS

GRETA MUTLU, violin | VENETA NEYNSKA, piano

PROGRAM

SCHUBERT – Sonata for violin and piano No. 2 in A minor, D 385

FAURE – Sonata for violin and piano No. 1 in A Major, op., 13

PROKOFIEV – Sonata for violin and piano No. 2, op. 94

P. VLADIGUEROV – Four pieces for violin and piano, op. 12

CURIOUS FACTS

Where does music come from?

The image of lonely artist, this romanticized myth, has little to do with the reality of creative life. Much of the chamber music we know and love today was conceived thanks to the relationships between composers and their dedicatees. In this program, violinist Greta Mutlu and pianist Veneta Neynska look at the fascinating connections between composers and the individuals behind the creation of these fine and much beloved works.

Many of Franz Schubert’s pieces, including this sonata, were written as gifts. Throughout his life, his circle of close friends was a source of inspiration.

Gabriel Faure’s moving sonata came to be through his encounters with the Viardot family. It is dedicated to the violinist Paul Viardot, son of famous singer Pauline Viardot, and brother of Marianne – the beauty who broke Faure’s heart after a short-lived engagement.

Though originally a piece for flute and piano, Sergei Prokofiev’s sonata became a staple of the violin repertoire thanks to legendary violinist David Oistrakh. It was at his request that Prokofiev reworked the piece a year after originally composing it.

Pantcho Vladigueroff left us a treasure-chest full of violin and piano music. Much of it was written for the extensive tours he and his twin brother Lyuben went on together.

Performers, audience, composers and their muses, it is in only the space between us that music can truly live in.


Motif: Marimba


PERFORMER

VASSILENA SERAFIMOVA, marimba

PROGRAM

CANGELOSI – Bad Touch (musical theater and electronics)

XENAKIS – Rebond a

JAVIER AVARES – Temazcal (maracas and electronics)

JOHN PSATHAS – One Study, One Summary (marimba and electronics)

THIERRY DE MEY – Silence Must Be (chef d’orchestre et électroniques)

J. S. BASCH – Chaconne in D minor

XENAKIS – Rebond b

CURIOUS FACTS

Vassilena Serafimova was born in Pleven but in the past ten years lives, studies and works in Paris. She is a laureate of numerous competitions, among which Music and Earth (Grand Prix), ARD Munich (Second Prize), Fifth International Marimba Competition in Stuttgart (First Prize), and many others. The percussionist’s debut CD is in a duet with pianist Thomas Encho and is a production of Deutsche Grammophon. Incredibly popular in France are the specially produced mallets with the Bulgarian musician’s name.