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A chance meeting thousands of kilometers away from Bulgaria provoked this abundance of sounds and ideas, this musical "conspiracy" between two musicians belonging to two different generations yet equally sharing their love for the traditional Bulgarian folk music. This meeting gave birth to the programme entitled Nа Trapeza.

Nikola Iliev belongs to that generation of musicians who grew up with the music of the wedding orchestras. Together with this, he received classical music education, first at the Plovdiv School of Music and after that, at the State Academy of Music in Sofia as pupil of Prof. Petko Radev (a soloist of long standing in the Milan La Scala and the Sofia Philharmonic). Theodosii Spassov, on the other hand, graduated from the School of Folk Singing in Kotel and from the Academy for Music and Dance Arts in Plovdiv. The two performers are representatives of two different systems of education and schools of playing! And while Nikola Iliev introduces in traditional music the classical sound-production (the clarinetists from the older generation play with an open tone, reminiscent of the bagpipe and the zurna) and elements from the European form-building, Theodosii Spassov follows the same process, yet in the reverse direction - from the pure, unsophisticated folk music to jazz, pop music and even to classical musical forms.

Na Trapeza is a unique professional achievement because of the spontaneity of the idea and its practical realization, the incredible synchrony in the two performers' musical ideas and the brilliant improvisations. The uniqueness of the release lies in the fact that the musicians have never rehearsed or discussed the music they perform. The recorded melodies date as far back as their childhood although they have never played together. Moreover, the traditional accompanying band has also been excluded. The two players take turns in the performance of the leading melody and harmony

Na Trapeza is like a reunion between friends, who have not seen each other for a long time and have too many things to share!


Recorded in the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Bulgarian Church, New York, January 1999


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