Alexander Raychev

composer, pedagogue, conductor, public figure

11.04.1922 – 28.10.2003Lom – Bulgaria

Alexander Raichev has been involved in music since an early age. He studied under Prof. As. Karastoyanov and Prof. P. Hadjiev. In 1934 he was a private composition student of Prof. P. Vladigerov. He graduated from the music-theoretical department of DMA (currently NMA “Prof. P. Vladigerov”) in 1947 with piano and composition under Prof. P. Vladigerov. He specialised in Composition with Ianos Viski and Zoltan Kodaly, and Conducting with Ianos Ferencik at the Liszt Music Academy in Budapest (1949-50). During his study he worked at the Music Section of Radio Sofia, later he conducted the orchestra of the National Youth Theatre. In 1950 he joined the staff of the State Academy of Music as lecturer in Harmony and later became full professor of Harmony (1962) and Composition. He was its Rector (1972-79). Since 1971 he was elected Member of Parliament in four Bulgarian Parliaments. In 1990 he was elected Honorary Member-Academician of the Royal Academy of Science and Fine Arts in Brussels, as well as Honorary Member of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Baden-Baden, Germany.

From 1980 to 1990 he chaired the Union of Bulgarian Composers. He was also member of the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers.

He was one of the most prominent representatives of the Bulgarian music and music culture.

He wrote three operas and a radio opera; two ballets; an opera-review; children’s operettas and music fairytales, six oratorios; three cantatas and a liturgy; six symphonies; five overtures, concertos and other works for symphony, chamber and string orchestra; chamber works; over 30 songs for voice and piano; over 600 choral and children’s songs; theatre and film music, etc. His work was prize-winning on many occasions; he was awarded orders, medals, honorary distinctions, etc. As Professor of Composition, Alexander Raychev created his own composition school. The active social involvement and optimistic pathos as witnessed by his work reflects characteristic features of the Bulgarian music after the 1950s. During the 1990s particularly remarkable by its philosophical expressiveness is his Symphony N6 Liturgical.


Stage music:

The Bridge (1965, Ruse);
Your Presence radio opera (1968, Radio Sofia);
Alarm (1974, Sofia);
Khan Asparuh (1981, Ruse).

Haidouk Song (1953, Sofia);
The Fountain of the White-legged Woman (1978, Sofia).

Orchid’s Nightingale (1963, Sofia).

Musical play:
Be Aware of a Jaguar (Addio Fotev) (1971, Bulgarian National Television).

Children’s operettas and fairytales:
Bal of Flowers (lost);
Pot with Wings (1946);
Tale about the Cricket;
Pif, Paf, Puf (1963);
Gecho, Decho and the Bees (1965).

Choral-orchestral works:

For mixed choir and orchestra:
Oratorios: Friendship, lyrics by Pavel Matev (bass solo) (1954); October 1950, lyrics by M. Lyubomirova (baritone, mezzo-soprano) (1967); Bulgaria – White, Green, Red, lyrics by D. Metodiev – oratorio-cantata (with reader), instrumental ensemble (1977); Oratorio-Meeting, lyrics by P. Slavyanski – literature composition (with reader, children’s choir and instrumental ensemble) (1984); Kabile, to his own words and after Ovid’s Metamorphoses (with reader) (1991). Cantata: Varna, lyrics by N. Valchev (1979).

For male voices choir and orchestra:
Dimitrov still Lives – oratorio (with soloist and reader) (1953); Shipka, lyrics by Orlin Orlinov cantata (with readers and soloists) (1988).

For female voices choir and orchestra:
Pioneers Suite, lyrics by Tzvetan Angelov little cantata (1950).

Works for symphony orchestra:

N1 Symphony-cantata He Shall Not Die (1950);
N2 The New Prometheus (1958);
N3 lan (1966);
N6 Liturgical (1994).

Symphony Suite (1945).

Suites from the ballet Haidouk Song: First Suite (1954); Second Suite (1955).
Suite (1955).

Suite from the ballet The Fountain of the White-legged Woman (1978).

Bright Day (1966); Bright Dawn (1971); Academic (1974); Festival (1975); Jubilee (1986); Eulogy (1986).

Four miniatures (1962);
Symphony Glorification “Lenin Generations” (1970);
Symphony Moments “Leipzig ’33” (1972);
Balkan Rhapsody (1983);
Concerto for orchestra (1979);
Symphony Episodes (1998);

PianoConcerto (1947, lost);

Romantic Concerto for violin and orchestra (1992).

Works for wind orchestra:

N1 (1983), N2 (1985) (orchestrated by Nikolay Bratanov). March (1984); Ballad for the Unknown Soldier for bass and wind orchestra (orchestrated by Hristo Tonev) (1986); Levski Overture (orchestrated by Nikolay Bratanov and Hristo Tonev) (1987); Transcriptions form the ballet Haidouk Song (by T. Dimitrov); Dance. Rhodope Suite (transcription by N. Tzonev) (1985).

Works for chamber orchestra:

Symphony N5 (1972). Suite (1937); Suite (1955). Triptych for clarinet, piano, strings and percussion (1989).

Works for string orchestra:

Symphony N4 (1968); Largo and Scherzo (1943); Four miniatures (1962); Thoughts about the Master sketches (1987); Partita melancolica (1995). Transcription of Five Piano Miniatures by Dimitar Nenov (1992).

Chamber Music:

Piece for 12 double basses (1998).
String Quartet (author’s transcription of the first movement of Symphony No. 5 and the second movement of Thoughts about the Master) (1988).
Serenade and Prague Trio for clarinet, piano and percussion (1987).
Rondo-trio for xylophone, small drum, triangle, cymbals and piano (1969).

For violin and piano:
Sonata-poem (transcribed for other instruments) (1940); Burlesque (1956); Three pieces (1981).

For flute and piano:
Aria and Burlesque (1965); Lyrical poem (1999).

Two Pieces for violoncello and piano (Andante and Vigoroso) (1983);
Duo for viola and violoncello (1999).

Aria for violoncello (1976);
Rhapsody-fantasy for flute (1991).

For piano:
Classical opus (1937); Pieces (1944); Children’s album (1957); Youth album in two volumes (1958); Ten Pieces (1962); Autumn Prelude (1995). Theme with Variations for piano for four hands (1959).

Choral music:

A total of 550 published choral and children’s songs,
among them 80 for mixed choir and piano;
30 for four-voiced choir and piano;
120 for three-voiced choir and piano;
100 for two-voiced choir and piano;
220 for equal voices choir and piano;
330 children’s songs and songs for two-voiced and equal voices choir.

About 220 mass songs.

Cantata-ballad “My Dear Girl” for mixed choir, lyrics by Pavel Matev (1974).

Orthodox Traditional Liturgy (Zlatoustova) (1993).

Film music to:

Our Land, directed by Anton Marinovich, Stefan Sarchadjiev (1952);
Years of Love, directed by Yanko Yankov (1957);
The Captain, directed by Dimitar Petrov (1963);
Maverick, directed by Yanko Yankov (1973).

Selected collections (in Bulgarian):

Composer and Contemporaneity. Collection of Articles by Alexander Raychev and about Him (compiled by E. Pavlov) (Sofia, 1985).

Memories of the Staff and beyond (compiled by Manya Popova) (Sofia, 2002).

Ayanova, Ekaterina and Liliana Nikolaeva. Alexander Raychev. Bio-bibliographical Study (Sofia, 1973);

Krastev, Venelin. Alexander Raychev (2001); Klosterman, Evgeni Pavlov. Alexander Raychev [with a list of complete works] (Sofia, 2002).