Bulgarian Rhapsody "Vardar", Op.16 (1951), Version for Violin and Orchestra

BULGARIAN RHAPSODY VARDAR was written in 1922 as a virtuoso piece for violin and piano for the concert repertoire of the two brothers. The main theme is based on the melody of Dobri Hristov’s song “A Single Cry Is Heard”, and the series of subsequent episodes present the richness of colourful traditional Bulgarian dances. The composer orchestrated Vardar specifically for his participation in the Festival of Bulgarian Music in Prague on 23-25 March 1928, where he was personally invited by the chief organiser, the composer Rudolf Karel. This was the most significant presentation of Bulgarian music abroad during this period, works by 15 Bulgarian composers being performed, but a special place was allocated to Vladigerov. The first performance of Vardar in an orchestral version under the baton of František Stupka was given in the Smetana Hall of the Public House, the largest hall in Prague at the time, together with the Violin Concerto by Pancho Vladigerov with Lyuben Vladigerov as soloist and works by Nikola Atanasov, Dobri Hristov and Petko Staynov.

This orchestral version of the Rhapsody became even more popular than its original version for violin and piano, becoming a kind of emblem of the Bulgarian classical orchestral repertoire. Later, in 1951, the author made the transcription for violin and orchestra.


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