Depuis 1999, avec sa Sonatine, et jusqu’à 2012 avec Babini Devetini, Atanas Ourkouzounov a créé une oeuvre pour flûte et guitare personnelle et reconnaissable entre toutes. Il y a là un style fait de partes comme improvisées (avec des idées à la Chick Corea et Gyorgy Ligeti), de rythmiques d’inspiration balkanique, d’un usage particulier des harmoniques, mais aussi d’influences nippones. Tout cela ne tombe jamais dans les mélanges affadis souvent entendus, mais crée un langage qui garde constamment sa personnalité profonde, tout en évoluant dans le traitement d’éléments qui, peu à peu, s’éloignent de l’origine pour quelque chose de plus contemporain. L’ensemble est mis en lumière par le jeu unique des deux instrumentistes. En effet, la flûte passe de la mélodie au souffle ou aux explosions percussives, et la guitare mêle phrasé mélodique, filigrane intimiste d’harmoniques et attaques percussives expressives. Voilà un excellent enregistrement – en partie live, ce qui ne gâche rien, au contraire –, d’une musique aussi subtile qu’unique.
« Atanas Ourkouzounov (Sofia, Bulgaria). a first prize graduate at the Paris Conservatory (1997) continues to dazzle with his intensely rhythmic compositions. He currently holds a full time position at the Conservatoire « Maurice Ravel » in Paris. Here we have six titles written for flute and guitar featuring his duet partner Mie Ogura from Japan. The sheet music is conveniently available from the publishers Doberman-Yppan. The flute part frequently utilises many of the contemporary techniques available such as flutter tonguing, multiphonics and key clicks (slaps). Mie Ogura’s playing is nothing short of virtuosic. The guitar and flute have always been happy companions and here they are exultant forces weaving magical tapestries. The CD booklet has no biographical details of the performers or compositions, which is fine if one is prepared to look things up on the Internet but that is the only niggle. The Three East Tales, The Fox’s Dance, The Red Eifs Lullaby and Dracula’s Caprice, all captivating titles begging for a little insight into their origins. 4 Legends, especially Mekedonska Pesen (Macedonian Song), are quite beautiful. Also the infectiously amusing Hiiar Peter (Naughty Peter). with its whistling flute are more than worthy of a mention. As are all the tracks, space notwithstanding. There is much to enjoy here, especially if you love the flute and guitar combination in a contemporary setting. It is demanding listening but is equally appealing and without a hint of saccharine. It is impossible not to delight in the Balkan ‘bounce’, where it appears that the time Signature of 4/4 does not exist. Actively ‘live’ performers, many of their performances have been captured for all to enjoy on YouTube, which is now becoming even more enjoyable thanks to such technology as Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. A highly recommended CD for all the curious and inquisitive lovers of guitar music out there. »
Tim Panting (Classical Guitar Magazine)
I have previously praised this duo highly, and I am happy to do so again. They possess an outstanding musical and technical level. Just the mere fact that they deliver one flawless CD after the other withoout losing musicality and joy of performing is very unusual. This CD is a mixture of previous recordings – live and from studio. All of the music is composed by Atanas Ourkouzounov and published on Doberman-Yppan (Canada). The first piece ”Sonatina” (1999) has 3 movements: A rythmically swinging Bulgarian dance followed by a slow movement ”Comme un chant”. The guitar and the flute are perfectly balanced: Thin, airy tones from the flute blended with crystal clear harmonics from the guitar. To finish, we get a joyful and charming little Serbian rondo. Great! The title piece ”Bul-Bob”, composed in 2009, is in a slighty more modern style. We har dynamic rythms – and the flute really sings. After this follows a cute little suite ”Three East Tales”, composed 2009-2010. It is delightfully melodious – containing sounds and rythms from Eastern Europe. ”4 tales” (a 4 movement piece) also has folcloristic roots and posseses a touch of humor. ”Babbini Devinti” from 2012 is a suite in 5 movements written in a modern tonal language. Lively, rythmically dynamic movements interchange with slow, dreamy movements characterized by tonal density and variety. We get plenty of airy sounds from the flute and many timbral effects on the guitar: Harmonics, pizzicato, playing with the left hand alone, etc. ”Labyrinthes” in 3 movements starts off with a cadenza for guitar, followed by an interlude for the flute, in which we hear both singing and blowing from the flute. To finish, the two soloists join each other in a virtuoso bursting toccata. This CD presents world class contemporary chamber music. Atanas’s music bursts joyfully and has a nice timbre, but the magic decreases upon hearing the entire CD. So the advice is: Enjoy it bit by bit – or even better: See the duo live! The CD can be obtained from Doberman-Yppan.