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No mystery to Voix Bulgares-- perfect intonatio



The Bulgarian State Radio and

Television Female Vocal Choir,

Dura Hristova, conductor.

With Bulgarian instrumental quartet

and the Kronos Quartet.

Symphony Hall, May 5.

Event in The Tech Performing Arts Series.


THE BULGARIAN STATE RADIO and Television Female Vocal Choir has justifiably adopted the sexier name La Myst`ere des Voix Bulgares: their sound is mysterious. It is above all pure -- never have I heard the perfect intonation this choir attains.

The sound flows through the ether unfettered -- it is hypnotic, total surround-sound. And it has echoes from the East as much as from the West. Elements combine from Russia, from Asia. One song seemed reminiscent of Sephardic chant, another of Klezmer music, a third opaque but rich in its robust density.

The song of the childless wife was beguiling: sped on its way by lusty harmonies, but with serious, sad undertones. "Little Moon" evoked an unusual peace, conducted as it was by Dura Hristova with absolute precision.

Shope Melodies played on traditional folk instruments were beautifully and skillfully conveyed. "Bekir, my love," was characterfully sung by Nadezhda Hvoyneva, the drone of the bagpipes combining with violin, banjo, wood flute and voice to create a rich variety of heavily-scented textures. Two Shope songs were done with bracing rhythms. The softness of singing in "Leaf out, forest" was extraordinary.

The Kronos Quartet nicely played six songs arranged by Marine Golominov, but despite their tranquil attractiveness, they were hardly daring and seemed out of place in the Kronos modernist repertory.

Kronos next accompanied the choir in "Cry of a Lady" by Terry Riley. This was powerful stuff, with some great crescendi, but I was not convinced the choir with Kronos sounded significantly better than the choir alone.

The favorite of three encores was clearly "Oh Suzanna," as compulsory a part of the program as the Soviet Red Army singing "It's a Long way to Tiperrary." Now, what Bulgarian songs are American visitors going to sing when they tour abroad?