Emanuil Manolov

Emanuil Manolov

7.І.1860 - 2.ІІ.1902

Gabrovo - Bulgaria

composer, conductor, pedagogue, public figure

After Bulgaria’s liberation from the Turkish domination in 1878 Emanuil Manolov left his native town and stayed for a while in Svishtov, where he sang in the choir conducted by Georgi Baydanov, then lived in Bucharest and in Odessa and finally settled down in Moscow. For two years he studied Piano, Flute and Harmony at the Moscow Conservatoire and made his first compositions. After the Bulgarian-Serbian war was declared (1885), he returned to Bulgaria and joined the wind orchestra of the First Sofia Regiment. He taught singing at the Pedagogical School in Kazanlak (1886-1888), later he sang in the Cathedral Choir of Georgi Baydanov in Plovdiv. He was the first Bulgarian bandmaster appointed in the Bulgarian army. From 1890 to 1899 he was bandmaster of the wind orchestra of the 21st Infantry Regiment in Asenovgrad, where he noted down folksongs later published in the Collection of Bulgarian Folklore, Science and Literature. From 1899 to the end of his life he was bandmaster of the 13th Shipka Regiment, conductor of the amateur choir and orchestra at the cultural club Spark in Kazanlak. He created most of his works there and was actively involved in the musical and social life. He also premiered his opera Siromahkinya (The Poor Woman) in 1900.

He was among the first Bulgarian professional composers, author of the first Bulgarian opera Siromahkinya (1900, unfinished), based on urban romance tunes and the Italian classical opera tradition. His works were intended for the Bulgarian both professional and amateur ensembles. The non-professional orchestra in Kazanlak was incomplete and his scores for symphony orchestra took this fact into consideration. Manolov wrote mainly choral songs. Great part of his works collected in the series Nightingale Woods were children’s and school songs. His most popular songs like Kakva moma vidiah, mamo (What a Maid I Saw, Mother) or the cycles Mama Ivanchu dumashe (Ivan’s Mother Spoke to Him) and Povei, povei, buyni vetre (Blow, Blow, Wind) were collected in the music series Sounds. He composed cycles of songs for mixed choir; medleys for mixed choir and piano; church music; marches; children’s and school songs; pieces for wind orchestra; chamber pieces; a quartet; 5 solo songs; 3 duets, etc.


Stage music:


Siromahkinya (The Poor Woman) after a poem by Ivan Vazov (1900, unfinished).

For symphony orchestra (incomplete):

Blown Kisses – waltz; In Hands of Love – fantasy.

For wind orchestra:

Four medleys based on Bulgarian folk motifs (Velo mome (Maid Vela), Popular Bouquet, Pastoral Idyll and A Legend from the Rhodopes); four waltzes; five marches.

Chamber music:

String Quartet; Two Fantasies for flute and violin; Fantasy “Response from the Balkan Mountain” for piano.

Choral music:

For mixed choir and piano:

three medleys of Bulgarian folksongs – Maid Vela; Rise In Arms, Brothers; Ya naduy, dyado, kavala (Play the Kaval, Old Man).

Forward! – march.

For equal voices choir and piano:

Three Songs for male voices choir; Workers’ March after Georgi Kirkov.

For mixed choir a capella:

Three medleys of Bulgarian folksongs – Mama Ivanchu dumashe (Ivan’s Mother Spoke to Him); Povei, povei, buyni vetre (Blow, Blow, Wind); Shila i moma (The Maid Made a Costume) (8 songs, among them Kakva moma vidiah, mamo (What a Maid I Saw, Mother), 1899); Teachers’ March; Seven Liturgical Chants; Burial Service of Jesus Christ.

Children’s and school songs:

87 songs in the series Slaveevi gori (Nightingale Woods) (issue 1-12); 10 songs in the Mladina Magazine (1905).

Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):

Kamburov, Ivan. Emanuil Manolov. Life, Personality, Works (1934); Balareva, Agapia. Emanuil Manolov (Sofia, 1961); Drumeva, Maria. Emanuil Manolov (Sofia, 1978).