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CD REVIEW: Roumi Petrova - Project Bacillus Bulgaricus
By Francesco Emmanuel - 11/22/2005 - 03:57 PM EST

Artist: Roumi Petrova
Album: Project Bacillus Bulgaricus
CD Review: There's always a first time for everything. This is my first review of classical music. I took classical guitar lessons for a long time and sat grade exams, but I have never done this sort of review before, so needless to say, I am nervous here. I feel as if I'm on stage performing a major piece. My father loved the classics, that and opera; he used to play his records at very loud levels, my mom thoroughly enjoyed it, really she did. That being said, here goes:

Established musician and native of Bulgaria Roumi Petrova has composed an album rich in both contemporary classical format and Bulgarian folk culture.
On Project Bacillus Bulgaricus, Roumi plays viola, soothing and haunting. At times, it carries the main melody of each song. She describes in great depth the rationale behind each song, the timing structure.
Roumi even gives a little history lesson into the birth of Bulgaria and how the coming together of two main tribes has helped define the music of her homeland.

There are beautiful, melodic interchanges involving major and minor keys, and perhaps in some cases use of harmonic minor and major scales as well.

Odd-metered 'compound' timings, irregular rhythms (as noted by Roumi), are performed throughout the album. The first piece, 'Bacillus Bulgaricus' with its four-part series, (as is customary with classical compositions) ranges in time signature from 5/16, to 7/8, 8/8 and 9/8.

Five main pieces are divided into many sub-pieces, creating 15 songs (or mini-pieces), however, there are recurring themes throughout each main piece. It is as if each piece tells a story, and in doing so, each mini-piece depicts a variance in mood, timing and key signature.

'Poem' is the only contrast here, it is one piece, it takes a rather dark turn near to its end, notes are suddenly played in a staccato-like, somewhat violent fashion, short and abrupt, but soon give way to long, smoothe, continuous playing.
'Sonata for Vioncello and Piano' begins with exquisite pianowork, accompanied by cello, it is practically flawless.

It amazes me how musicians can play so well together without need of a timing mechanism, no drums, no percussion. It all just piano, violin, viola, violincello and cello. Subtle in so many ways, the dynamics are everpresent, each little whisper of a note is heard, making its point felt.

This is a great classical album, the calibre of musicians are phenominal here, they all interplay with each other so well, Roumi is accompanied by the Forte String Quartet (of which she is a founding member) and the Bulgarian Piano Quartet. Fellow musician Kalin Ivanov is present in both groups.

Throughout her career Roumi has played as a chamber musician, she has played in orchestras. She has toured the world, she has written and composed pieces that have been performed in major music halls in New York, London and Moscow. With this project of hers, Roumi Petrova has exposed the world to her beautiful playing, and the music of Bulgaria.

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