Piano Concerto

Dragostinov is composer of two piano concertos. For his Piano Concerto No 1 (Polytempi 4), he was awarded First Prize at the Karlheinz Stockhausen International Composition Competition in 1980. The first performance of the work was in June 1981 with the Radio Symphony Orchestra of  Milan and soloist Antonio Bacchelli.

The Piano Concerto No. 2 was composed between June 2020 and June 2021 and is dedicated to Milena Mollova. The concerto is large-scale, four-movement, in traditional forms, with folk stylisations typical of Dragostinov’s musical expression, with a very mobile, lively texture and orchestration, with unusual twists and turns in the instrumental cues, which reflect the composer’s vast experience in folk treatments, his musical subtlety, invention, originality, colour, mixing modernity and classicality on different levels. In the classically constructed sonata form with a reverse reprise of the first movement, Dragostinov introduces a theme which he himself defines as part of a dodecaphonic series. In it, pairs of tones sound on intervals of diminished fifths in the ranges E flat♭ and La flat♭. This is extremely reminiscent of the 12-tone series in Anton Webern’s Symphony Op. 21, in which the boundaries of both the theme and the central interval are precisely the quoted tones in the P11 and P4 positions of Webern’s version of the series. The instrumentation in Dragostinov is also very similar to that in Webern: it begins with woodwind and strings mixed in. The second theme is traditionally more lyrical and is based on Rhodopian song.

In the second part, which is traditionally lyrical, Dragestinov “chants” a tuneless melody in the spirit of Thracian and Rhodopian song. Here the composer introduces 8 tones from the 12-tone series again within the limits of a diminished fifth. The middle section of this three-part form Tempo di Valzer. Quasi Allegretto (see No. 9) is dance-like, followed by fugato.

The third movement as a self-contained cadenza is uncommon for music history. The melodic and intonational basis is Eastern maqam, as well as thematic material from the previous movements.

The fourth movement, Finale. Toccata Reminiscenza, includes an original development of the folk song “Dilmano, Dilbero,” known for its metrical structure of alternating unequal bars of 8/16 and 11/16. Dragostinov gathers thematic material from the preceding movements.

Past events

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