Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, Schubert’s Sting quintet and the Winterreise song cycle, Brahms’s Piano quintet… the Motif Concerts’ 2017/2018 season emphasizes on the absolute 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 Bulgaria Chamber Music Hall from 7:30 p.m.
Motif: Winterreise | November 24th, 2017
IVAN LUDLOW, barirtone
DANIEL TONG, piano
SCHUBERT – Winterreise Song Cycle
Photography: Maya Medic
‘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.
Motif: Christmass | December 7th, 2017
DOROTEYA DOROTEEVA, soprano
ALEXANDER MUTAFCHIISKI, baritone
VENETA NEYNSKA, piano
Christmas mood with popular festive melodies, as well as the audience’s favorite arias and duets from famous operettas and musicals.
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.
Motif: Masterpiece | January 4th, 2018
CHARLOTTE MAClET, violin | GAËLLE-ANNE MICHEL, violin | ELITSA BOGDANOVA, viola
STEFAN HADJIEV, violoncello | MATHIEU FOUBERT, violoncello
HANDEL-HALVORSEN – Passacaglia
RAVEL – Sonata for violin and violoncello
SCHUBERT – String Quintet
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.
Devoted to the French composer Claude Debussy by his compatriot Maurice Ravel, the Sonata for violin and violoncello is written soon after Debussy’s passing. However, in it one could also find the influence by Hungarians Kodaly and Bartok, as well as the Hungarian folk music in general.
Franz Schubert’s last finished chamber work, his String Quintet, is often called Cello Quintet for the additional cello instead of the traditional viola. The composer wrote the piece two months before his death but its premiere was not until twelve years later. Today, the work is considered to be one of the greatest chamber music pieces for all times.
Motif: Romance | February 13th, 2018
SANCAR SAPAEV, violin
YANA ZELENOGORSKA, violin
STEFANIA YANKOVA, viola
ATANAS KRASTEV, violoncello
VENETA NEYNSKA, piano
BRUCH – Romance for viola
SCHOSTAKOVICH – Prelude from Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano
BRAHMS – Piano Quintet in F minor, op. 34
‘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
GRETA MUTLU, violin | VENETA NEYNSKA, piano
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
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.
VASSILENA SERAFIMOVA, marimba
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
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.