"BULGARIAN CUSTOM SONGS" - THE MYSTERY OF BULGARIAN VOICES CHOIR
- artist:THE MYSTERY OF BULGARIAN VOICES CHOIR
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The famous choir The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices conducted by Dora Hristova again conveys its challenge to Bulgarian folk music lovers, this time with their interpretation of songs from the most widely spread and cherished customs, those at Christmas and at St. Lazar's Day. The songs sung at Christmas and St. Lazar's Day lend specific colour in the repertoire of many ensembles. This programme is a successful attempt to select songs which represent a comparison between the two customs.
Christmas is celebrated on the day when the church commemorates Christ's nativity. Yet the deep meaning of the custom is in the ancient pagan beliefs about the birth of the new sun. There are young men-Christmas-carollers and their leader is always an older man, called stanenik. According to the custom, the time for Christmas celebration is specifically set - from midnight till sunrise. The Christmas carollers make their rounds always starting to the east. They sing songs glorifying the host in every house and bless him for health and fertility. In their turn, the hosts present them with Christmas ring-shaped buns decorated with a coin and meat, beans, etc.
The celebrations at St. Lazar's Day are also connected with the well-wishing for health and fertility. This custom is celebrated one week before Easter, at St. Lazarus's day. The main participants in the celebrations are young girls, lazarki, lead by an elder one, called a god-mother, leader. They make their rounds in the village yards, dancing horo dances and singing songs, according to the hosts' age and status. Like during the Christmas-tide celebrations the hosts give them money, flour, eggs, etc.
Both customs follow a strict pattern, which has been observed here by the producer, Nikolai Kaufmann. His is the idea for this programme. Even though some other composers were also invited to include their works in the programme (Peter Lyondev, Kosta Kolev, Ivan Vulev), the listener still perceives it as an inseparable piece.