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Album review: Dobrinka Tabakova, String Paths (ECM New Series)


Aptly for a Bulgarian composer educated in England, the music of Dobrinka Tabakova pivots on the cusp of East and West European, as well as sounding both ancient and modern. As with many modern composers, there are echoes here of Arvo Pärt, both in the tintinnabuli effects occasionally discernible in the turbulent first movement of her “Concerto for Cello and Strings”, and in the ascetic but radiant tone of her string trio “Insight”.

Elsewhere, violin keens wistfully over a wanly pulsing double bass and droning accordion to achieve the appropriately glacial tone of “Frozen River Flows”, while her “Suite in Old Style” employs viola, harpsichord and orchestra in a manner part folk dance, part elegy, and part reverie.

Download: Insight; Concerto for Cello and Strings; Frozen River Flows