This installment of the Consonant Classical Challenge features Bulgarian composer Dobrinka Tabakova. Tabakova is an up-and-coming British/Bulgarian composer. At the age of 32, she's already compiled an impressive catalog of works. Tabakova's composed for chamber groups and choirs, (and been commissioned by the Three Choirs Festival) and has even written an opera.
Her output's pretty evenly balanced between choral, chamber, and orchestral music. Included in her catalog are three concertos, for viola, cello and piano respectively. Tabakova's music is indeed consonant, and in a very original "post-tonal" fashion. Her melodic phrasing and harmonic textures manage to seem both familiar and unique simultaneously.
One of the finest examples of Tabakova's melodic gifts is her work "Dawn" for string orchestra. She may use triadic harmony, but the way and the direction they move in is anything but traditional.
Tabakova incorporates elements of Bulgarian folk music into her works. That influence is front and center in her "Suite in the old style." The solo violin sometimes plays in traditional concert style, and sometimes in a folk manner. It makes for an interesting and exciting work.
"Nocturne" is a solo piano piece, strongly reminiscent of Chopin's nocturnes. While the resemblance is there, Tabakova's work isn't derivative. Using the same basic harmonic language as Chopin, she makes the nocturne form a conduit for her own expression.
Tabakova's music has a vitality to it that appeals to many different audiences. And the lyric expressiveness of his melodies is both heartfelt and original. This is the kind of music that emotionally connects with a listener.
According to her website, Tabakova's currently working on an album of her music for ECM. It's the perfect label for her, and I look forward to its release.
Poets from the East