Sofia Music Weeks, Bulgaria

Anniversaries were plentiful on this final evening of Sofia Music Weeks – the city’s 140th as Bulgaria’s capital, for example – and among them was conductor Plamen Djouroff’s own 70th. He led the Sofia Soloists, established for only a decade or so less, in a programme that covered most of the post-WW II period, seen from the point of view of a group of senior composers.

Varna Summer Festival, Bulgaria

The trouble with Paganini and the rest of the cohort of virtuoso violinist composers is that, after a while, a listener’s astonishment gland goes on strike. Having gone ‘wow!’ at the brilliance of the eleven and twelve year-olds, a couple of fifteen year-olds and one player of seventeen, as they rattle off Caprices as if they were tapping out a facebook message, it becomes hard to think sensibly about the music…