Returning to the Midwest during a break from their advanced studies in California, this classical guitar trio of brothers from Varna, Bulgaria made an even deeper impression man in their many previous appearances here. Additional polish, greater technical facility and heightened emotional response to their wide-ranging repertory made the occasion immensely rewarding. As before, the ease and grace with which they slip from one style of music to another is remarkable. While respecting the music, they manage to say something personal about it, something they're eager to share with each new audience.
Their impending recording, made at the state-of-the-art Allemande Studio in Sister Bay, should be something treasure-able. If the size and enthusiasm of the audience were any indication, the new CD should sell handsomely.
The trio, which soon will be identified by a yet-to-be-determined new name, began with a transcription of Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5, light and fleet in execution, it was played with a wonderful sense of rubato, the frequent hesitations coming back up to speed with absolute unanimity. Two movements from Diabelli's Opus 62 Trio in D major evidenced the trio's gift for achieving sympathetic sonorities astonishingly rich in texture. To Franz Schubert's familiar "Serenade," they brought a satisfying rhythmic freedom, albeit one that never allowed the shape to be distorted.
Inserting a transcription of one of Granados's six Waltzes, die brothers Chekardzhikov affirmed their affinity for Spanish music. Delicate and sophisticated, their reading was aristocratic - and all the stronger for it.
Another BG Brothers specialty, Ivanov-Kramskoi's Tarantella," held more subtle abandon, an internal passion con-tamed within carefully-considered boundaries. With untrained voices, but musically-guided instincts, the trio sang and played the Bulgarian folk song "Liliano Mome" with fervor and obvious pleasure. Prudon's rushing "Etude" delivered more crisp and shimmering ensemble and Antonio Cartos Jobim's "Girl from Ipanema" took one's breath away with its seductively undulating strains. No version known to us has quite matched mis sumptuous, constantly modulating realization. Complete, and completely satisfying.
A bright, flashing "Brasiliera” and a tribute to their home city, "Varna," finished the first half.
After intermission, a brisk traversal of the Allegro from J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 was marked by the clarity of counterpoint while "Green-sleeves" was chastely pastoral in its quintessential Englishness. The Waltz from Khachaturian's "Masquerade" held as much heady assertiveness as the symphonic original while another Bulgarian folk song and Albeniz's "Asturias" lent contrasts mat flavored the mix rather man overpowering the context Dieter Kreidler's witty "Three Pieces" has appeared before in die brothers' repertory and it's a good fit, the middle item ("The Naughty Song") coming off especially well. A light touch embued the short trilogy with just the needed measure of teasing irreverence. "Tico-Tico," "Bam-boleo" and "Volare" saw no diminution of exuberance while a quick encore brought die afternoon to a decisive finale.
Beyond their undeniable musicianship and technical polish, the brothers Chekardzhikov bring such spirit to their performances that one is simply and wholly disarmed. Such a serendipitous combination of assets assures mem devoted audiences no matter what new name they may choose. (EE)