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Critical Acclaim

27 July 2012

The world-premiere of Tabakov’s Concerto for 4 solo drums and orchestra became a crazy performance. This composition, unique  in contemporary music,   involves also a uniquely attractive stage experience. Stoyan Yankulov, Stoyan Pavlov, Good Paliev, and Radosvet Kukudov found shelter in the organ of the hall - drums in the lap of the "king of instruments", which not only received them, but also lent them some of its own acoustic resources. The concert combines improvisation and thoroughness and shows themes from two key practices in our history - folklore and church. The contrast between the two was essential to the dramaturgy of the work, the second of three parts goes beyond ...

Two possibilities of using the 8/8 beat demonstrates the composer,  and  not only this.  If you get a score of Tabakov’s, you can admire his high technical mastery, the author's ability to create his colossal space from very economical material. Thus, the individual timbre shines, stands out   fantastically . As the clarinet, for example, which sounded like zourna and the piccolo  - like a shepherd’ s flute.

The quartet of soloists played drums with different pitches, "entering the game" courageously, combining text discipline with an improvisation impulse. The concert will enjoy a very intense life, I am absolutely convinced.

 The Culture 

23 March 2012

The mood of the work (Concerto for viola and orchestra) is again depressing, the music tears, confession brings no optimism. I would say though, that if you expect to have fun, you are not a listener of the composer Emil Tabakov. But at the same time, he "plays" with the attention and concentration of the listener, and keeps it firmly. His music takes time, but it does not have excessive length, there is constantly something going on - the need for the author to express it through sound is bright and focuses full attention on itself. This effect was observed also at the Russe town premiere of the composition. And another thing: the music of Emil Tabakov has always convinced me personally  that it had to be written; inside it there sits a destiny of its existence - so naturally it goes  in time and space.

The Culture

20 March 2007

For his concert, Tabakov has invited a fantastic musician – Tim Hugh, the lead cellist   of the famous London Symphony Orchestra  . His feeling of great pleasure to play this amazing work at his solo concert party was absolutely clear (and he confirmed it). As was the fact that he enjoyed the ideas in another assertion of the personal style Tabakov’s. The concert has three parts (slow, fast, slow), written for classical symphonic orchestra with a lot of percussion and again is significant evidence of the composer's mastery of jewelry in building a great shape.

The musical score is absolutely beautiful with its structure. Despite its length, the concert seems to happen in a single breath, and was heard this way by the audience. The composer has always had the talent to keep the attention of the listener - he weaves the musical invoice so that he puts you in the process and makes you an accomplice, gives you the opportunity to guess  where he will go in its musical structure. And Tim Hugh, I would say again, is really an amazing instrumentalist    , a very smart and dialogical musician open to this kind of playing.

The Culture

 1 February 2002

Emil Tabakov’s Sixth Symphony  continues the dramatic  and tragic line of his previous opuses in the genre. In aphoristic words, the composer wrote another major part of the symphony of his life and creative credo. In this respect, he is one of those "artists who do not change." The work is "forged" masterfully and imperiously engrosses the attention of the listener. It was accepted by the Bulgarian audience with rare and continuous delight.
And it really deserved it.

The Culture

June 2  2000

I think this Requiem is like a musical monument of our era, bringing together the excitement of modern man with his rational view of the world. And because of all this, especially because of its artistic qualities, I would place it next to the great works of Bulgarian classical music. And it is unique to us as the first work in its genre ... pathos, drama, despair and protest, tenderness and severity, they all deepen into your soul and leave an indelible memory of empathy in a complex, timeless, familiar and completely undiscovered     human history. Maybe the fact that the Requiem was conducted by the author contributes to raising the emotional tone of the performance.

The Culture


A truly remarkable event in the musical life of Bulgaria - the performance of Requiem by Emil Tabakov will remain long in our memory.

Vek 21

21 December  1999

The next piece in the program was the Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra by Emil Tabakov. If this concert were honored even with an international award, this still would not be a sufficient argument for its high creative achievement. Emil Tabakov is a significant composer, but because he is a great conductor too, it inadvertently obscures the name and value of the composer. The double bass, due to its weak and dull, muffled timbre, is not particularly appreciated as a solo orchestra instrument. The double bass is the instrument of Tabakov himself, but it was not for this reason alone that he   created a brilliant solo part.

It is in constant eloquent dialogue with the individual orchestral parts. Each line in this dynamic dialogue was originally painted, and the voice of the solo instrument is not only equivalent to the sound of the others, but even dominant. Emil Tabakov   resolved with his superb talent and imagination that particularly difficult problem of creativity. The complex world of work keeps the listener awake and in an enjoyable tension of mind. I think I will not exaggerate if I determine  that   virtuoso concert as a valuable contribution to the literature of world music ...

 Lazar Nikolov,  The Musica Viva




"... the Sofia Music Weeks Festival began with the world premier of Emil Tabakov's Requiem, commissioned for the Festival's 25th anniversary. For the first time... a Requiem was composed using the traditional Latin text of the catholic requiems...This rich, difficult and complex work was brilliantly performed, showing deep internal commitment of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra musicians and the Bulgarian A Cappella Choir Svetoslav Obretenov, as well as the soloists and children's choir, all under the composer's baton.

21st Century Newspaper

"..the remarkable Requiem [composed by Emil Takabov] was a monumental event in Bulgarian musical history and as well as in Emil Tabakov's work. The [Requiem] performance was very strong owing to the general fascination and accord shared by the large number of musicians and conductor Emil Tabakov. ...the effect was a culmination of emotion and exultation that would resound in the soul for a long time."

Democratia, Bulgaria

"... The original and stirring Third Symphony of Emil Tabakov also presents a moving and delicate picture of the richness of human sensitivity.".

Musik und Geselshaft

…In the Fifth Symphony the emotionally suspense is near to the extreme of the psychical endurance. One-step more and the emotion will become in a passion maze, in tragic violence. It is not chance that the composer is need an huge orchestra, all the groups are increased and many not traditional instruments are used for the sound power and coloring. The composer doesn't need long entries -the theme of the first part enters into the third bar, and in the fourth part into the second. And this means that exposing the primary material from the very beginning of the parts the composer throws immediately into the emotional and social drama-it goes impetuously, without a break, without any meditative digression. The picture is apocalyptic and the theme of the first part reminds the catholic secvention "Dies irae"- the most tragic day of the humanity. May be I am subjective, but in the last part of the Fifth Symphony the composer will exalt even more this bringing to the most terribly march -not only with the invariably pulsation of the obstinate rhythm, but by a impressive "conjuration" theme with the same apocalyptic sounding, so typically for the "fateful" religious tune (it remind elusive our "bolgarski napev"). We can admire the dramaturgy talent of the symphonist Tabakov in building the parts, in spite of absence of contrast themes .The two endmost parts are monothematic and just their masterly growth forms the final completeness of the form. The contrast is not inside the parts, but in the complete structure of the Symphony. In this way the second part transfers the listener to a meditative sound with fleeting improvisations, to the coming from the infernal element of the Middle Ages mythology images.
The third part is really a masterpiece of the symphonic lyrics of E.Tabakov.The contrast with the two next part is so striking, that I have to remind again the original dramatic structure of the Symphony. But in the growth of the third part the lyric will turn back again to the changing masks of the laughter, grotesque, the satiric-sinister. This will remind that the world of the lyrical and poetical is only a moment and the human is again in the captivity of the marching toward the abyss rows of the" leaded to the dead". 
May be somebody the orchestra power of the Fifth Symphony is in excess, the instrumental timbres in "tutti" are blear, and the culminations too over saturated and the parts too long. I would not undertake to asses categorically this large work, just compelled our attention. But without doubt the Fifth Symphony of Tabakov is one of the unique phenomenon in the greatest forms of the Bulgarian symphony music, which impresses successful with the still alive European dramatically -tragically tradition.

Prof. Venelin Krastev "Horizonti"

October 2002

The colossal work (about one hour) shacked everyone, bringing perhaps the orchestra to the utmost dynamic substance, with impetuosity in the time and the space, which exceeds the frames of the concert hall and this evening?
Everyone who has followed the evolution of the composer Emil Tabakov during the years, has observed how the subtle coloring in his earlier scores (Concerto for double bass and orchestra, Concert piece for trumpet and string orchestra, Concerto for percussions, Concerto for 15 string instruments, Concert piece for orchestra), or "Astral music" and "Ad infinitum" passed into the Serious philosophical pages of his three Symphonies and Requiem, and latter- in the Concerto for orchestra, Symphony -concertante, Symphony № 4,founding base on the national genre tradition and more laconic music language .The Fifth Symphony unit the most characteristic lines, bringing out the spirit-emotional level to a new, , full of significant suggestions height -reflection of the everlasting problems, generalization of the leaving epoch collisions, presentiment of the next coming?

Anda Palieva "Music"- newspaper