Divertimento – Five Pieces for a Chamber Orchestra

In the inventory of Vladigerov works, Divertimento – Five Pieces for a Chamber Orchestra, is entered without opus number under the year 1943. But in the score, which is found in the music library of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, the composer had inscribed the date of 31 December 1938. It is known that this work was performed for the first time under the direction of the author with the Radio Sofia Chamber Orchestra. Founded in the summer of 1937, on the initiative of composer and pianist Dimitar Nenov, the first musical manager of the radio, this formation performed live concerts in the studio. And within several years, hundreds of Bulgarian music works received their premieres on the air of the radio. The dating the work suggests that Pancho Vladigerov probably wrote his Divertimento especially for the Radio Chamber Orchestra. The work is built on the suite principle and consists of contrasting pieces. Four were extracted from previously written music for theatrical productions, and the fifth is arranged from one of his piano pieces. The Divertimento opens with an Eastern March from the incidental music Vladigerov composed for the stage production of Der Kreidekreis (‘The Chalk Circle’) by German dramatist Alfred Henschke Klabund, staged on 20 October 1925 at the Deutsches Theater – Berlin). The next piece is the ecstatic Caress from the Ten Impressions piano cycle op. 9, created in 1920 The third is Carnival Procession from the music to William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice (staged on 26 May 1924 in the Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna). The fourth piece is Romance from the dramatized story Juarez and Maximilian by Franz Werfel (production of Deutsches Theater in January 1926), and the closing piece is Cake Walk from the music to Caesar and Cleopatra by Bernard Shaw (mounted on 18 December 1920 in Deutsches Theater). This is the first theatrical play, which marked the inception of Vladigerov’s collaboration with one of the most representative theatrical institutions in Germany. Writing music and managing the stage design for Max Reinhardt’s theatrical productions in Berlin and Vienna theatres was a great honour to the young composer. The famous director engaged not only Pancho Vladigerov, but also his brother Lyuben as a violinist at the Deutsches Theater orchestra.

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