The Bulgarian violist Dimitar Penkov, who has lived in Germany for a number of years, again presents an interesting program. For his two previous CDs on the Gega New label he recorded Jean-Marie Leclaire’s 6 sonatas for two violas, performed together with Johannes Flieder and the concertos for viola and orchestra by Krzysztof Penderecki and Karl Stamitz. The present program features two concertos, which are representative of the music of the 20th century. Both works were written at the end of the composers’ lives and both were dedicated to legendary violists – Bartok wrote his concerto commissioned by William Primrose, while Schnittke kept a promise he had given Juri Bashmet nine years earlier. The premieres of the works were outstanding events among music circles at that time.

Dimitar Penkov continuously proves his skill at performing difficult works. His interpretation of the Honegger sonata for viola and piano was the first studio recording of this work. He also performed the French premiere of Penderecki’s viola concerto.

During his career Dimitar Penkov has performed under the batons of such notable conductors as Aldo Cecatto, Pierre Bartholomee, Vassil Stefanov, Vassil Kazandjiev, Lutz Herbig, Gilbert Varga, Konstantin Iliev, Antoni Bramal, Mihael Tabachnik, Nikos Athineos, Otmar Maga, and Plamen Djouroff. He has realized numerous recordings for the radios of Paris, Sofia, Zurich, and Hannover. Two films produced by Bulgarian National Television document the instrumental art of Dimitar Penkov.

The conductor Nikos Athineos studied at the Athens Conservatory, the Cologne Hochschule für Musik and the Robert Schumann Institute in Düsseldorf. He has toured throughout Germany, Spain, Russia, Lithuania, Israel, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. As a guest conductor he has appeared with various major European orchestras such as the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Sinfonia Varsovia, the Prague Gustav Mahler Orchestra, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra of the Bulgarian National Radio.

The Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra is one of Bulgaria’s oldest and most respected ensembles. The orchestra was founded by its chief conductor of more than thirty years, Vassil Stefanov. Other chief conductors have included Alexander Vladigerov, Vassil Kazandjiev, Ruslan Raichev, Milen Nachev. The orchestra is now led by Rossen Milanov.

BÉLA BARTÓK AND ALFRED SCHNITTKE

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  • Track Listing

    BÉLA BARTÓK

    Concerto for viola and orchestra

    [1] Moderato 13’43’’

    [2] Adagio religioso 4’38’’

    [3] Allegro vivace 4’47’’

    ALFRED SCHNITTKE

    Concerto for viola and orchestra

    [4] Largo 4’16’’

    [5] Allegro molto 12’30’’

    [6] Lento 14’17’’

    DDD 53’14’’

  • Participating

    Dimitar Penkov, viola

    Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Nikos Athineos, conductor