Some 40 years ago the oases of the unspoiled folk culture in Bulga-ria had survived sufficiently intact to feed the illusion that this country might prove able to preserve itself as one of Europe's most promising folk-lore reserves. The symbiosis between the rural way of life and the cons-ciousness which was getting ever more urbanized had still the size of only a germ, the shadow of which did not at all seem dangerous for the roots of the tradition. Foresight was needed in order to realize that along with the withering away of the life-style, along with saying farewell to a mate-rial culture, running dry are also the natural sources of a spiritual wealth, associated directly with the way of life. Did any possibility exist to pre-vent the still living treasure-house from becoming transformed into one of the numerous cultural layers upon which the modern civilization is buil-ding its mainstays — a fact, which it is often inclined to forget?
Music researchers have in good time taken pains to collect and pre-serve the gold-bearing sand, which used to "escape between the fingers", by recording on phonotapes and on music scores the memory of a vita-lity which was irretrievably melting away. They have thus created their, static museum against oblivion.
Philip Koutev has preferred to catch the languishing pulse and to turn it into a generator of impulses, running ininterruptedly and feeding up and renovating the vitality. In that way he has managed to create his dynamic exposition of the evolving tradition.
Today, when the world rediscovers a spiritual tseasure, when that rediscovering is, without any excessive exaggeration, termed a "boom" of the Bulgarian folk culture on the international concert stages, it has turned out that at the "time of decision" forty years ago there was an equal need of both a careful preservation of the authentic folklore arche-types and the latter's colouring with a specific stage-magic, without which they would seem more inaccessible and remote to the world outlook of the 20th century.
In the art of the song and dance company, which today bears the name of its founder — the composer Philip Koutev (1903-1982), there co-exist in complete harmony the virgin beauty, created by the anony-mous genius of the people, with the unchained creative consciousness of the contemporary professional composer. Already Philip Koutev's closest followers and founders of the company — Margarita Dikova, Ivan Ka-valdjiev, Mihail Yordanov, Maria Kouteva and Kin! Djenev — had laid down this harmony as being a sine qua non for developing a style and an idiom of one's own in the renovation of the tradition, in creating new models. In that re-creation of the tradition through hundreds of songs and instrumental pieces, dozens of choreographic miniatures and musi-cal-and-choreographic scenes, have over the years been taking part, along with the company's gifted women-singers, pipers and dancers, also such composers as Lyubomir Pipkov, Ivan Kavaldjiev, Krassimir Kyurkchiiski, Zhivka Klinkova, Kosta Kolev, Dimiter Christoff, Bozhidar Abrashev, Nikolai Kaufmann, Anastas Naumov, Mihail Yordanov, Angel Philipov, Stefan Dragostinov, Dimiter Trifonov, Pavlina Bedrova, Ivan Kirev. . .
This festive album makes no claims for a retrospection, for a generalization or a balance-sheet of the company's four decades of existence. Even if the will was there, the sound-recording could in no way compete with the live performance, in which the music, the plastic movements and the costumes are in an inseparable synthesis. Our album is a phono-image of the company with the freshness of this very day. But also with the fruit-ful strata of a rich biography and a carefully treasured tradition. ..
text by Elena Dragostinova
100 Years Philip Koutev [Disc 1]
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