SYMPHONY-CONCERTO FOR VIOLONCELLO AND ORCHESTRA: The idea for a violoncello concerto was considered by Lyubomir Pipkov after visiting Russia in 1949, where he met with distinguished colleagues. Following the model of Prokofiev and Britten, the composer entitled his work as a symphony-concert. He finished the work in 1959, with the idea of its performance on the fourth Festival for New Music in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, in the same year. At his request, the premiere of the new work was postponed and the concerto was first heard in 1963 in Moscow with Mstislav Rostropovich as soloist, to whom it was dedicated. The concerto was one of many dedicated to this brilliant twentieth century artist and given premiere performance by him, including works by composers such as Prokofiev, Shostakovitch, Britten, Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio, Leonard Bernstein, Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold Lyutoslavski, Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt , Sofia Gubajdulina, and Henri Dutilleux.
In Bulgaria, the Concerto was first heard at the March Music Days Festival in Russe in 1966 with Prof. Zdravko Yordanov as soloist. Its three movements evoke different moods. The openng movement is more lyrical, with an unfolded cadenza – a recitativo episode of the cello, repeatedly interspersed by tympani, playing a repetitive rhythmic pattern in 8/8. The brief second part (Scherzo) features a sarcastic version of the theme of his score to the film Anxiety. The third part is a theme with variations, contrasting in nature. The first, third and fifth variation are slow and philosophically bemused. The second resembles a folk dance, and the finale returns to the atmosphere of the first theme in the first movement. The violoncello solo part is masterfully crafted and expressive. The connection with the folklore and the composer’s conception for nationally marked compositional style determines the variety of instrumental techniques employed (long melodic lines, leaps, pizzicatos, rhythmic variety, etc.).