Although Nikola Kodjabashia has an extensive output and a very busy schedule, it is rare that he releases any of his work on CD. This London-based Macedonian composer, orchestra conductor and pianist graduated from the Faculty of Musical Arts at the University of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, Macedonia in piano in 1993, and in 1997 in composition. He is also an assistant to Rolf Gehlhaar for his multimedia sound experiments and a lecturer in creative technological music at DeepBlueSound Studios at the Eastover Community College in Plymouth.
Subsequently, he continued his studies in composition at the Music Academy of Bucharest with Anatol Vieru (student of Katchaturian and Shostakovich) in 2001, and later he attended a specialisation course in composition taught by Harrison Birtwistle at King's College, London, where he was later invited to return as a professor. He was awarded the British Council Chevening Award of 2000/2001 and nominated for the Arts Foundation Award 2004, and among other awards, notably, he received the public's prize for best new composition at the Autumn Festival in Moscow for Crossfader. His reputation as one of the premiere young Macedonian musicians is further proven by his work on the orchestration of the music composed by Kiril Dzhajkovski for Milcho Manchevski's film Dust , as well as the Macedonian 2004 Academy Award candidate The Great Water.
The title Reveries of the Solitary Walker was taken from a book by Jean Jacques Rousseau. This CD consists of nine variations derived from a traditional Byzantine chant, "Bogorodichen Tropar" (Hymn of the Virgin Mary, by 18th-century Macedonian cantor St. Joan Harmosin-Ohridski, which forms the basis for the whole album), as transcribed by musicologist Yane Kodjabashia. Actually, the song cycle adheres to the melodic principles of Orthodox chant music. The atmospheres that prevail are subtle and mysterious, and the works on this recording explore themes of quiet and introspection, yet the music is not solemn. An extended blend of darker and lighter moments interweave into one overall meditation.
The opening "Cowboyskaya" conveys a sense of an otherworldly soundscape which permeates throughout the whole record. The theme subject is presented in its entirety in "Cowboyskaya," and it also appears in its original form (as a vocal chant) at the end of "Sugarking," an upbeat tune with Middle Eastern percussion and melodies. It features guest Shezair on saz and Gazmend Berisha on violin, as well as backing vocals that resemble the Sufi variety, and it ends with a Byzantine chant sang by guest Yane Kodjabashia, a known musicologist with PhD in Byzantine Music.
The musicians who play on this recording are members of Project Zhlust, and one of the tracks (credited to Dzhian Emin) is "7th Walk," a quiet theme echoed through an ambiental and distant piano. Some of these musicians were once part of Nikola's ex-avant band Alshar. The closing track is "Ludus Gothicus," a live and dynamic duet between Oleg Kondratenko on violin and Maria Pendeva on piano. This music has a haunting quality and a seductively spiritual twist. Simply beautiful!
Track Listing: 1. Cowboyskaya;
2. Kinderlied I;
3. Ave Tatho;
4. Searching for Young Godot;
5. Little Requiem;
7. 7th Walk;
8. Kinderlied II;
10. Ludus Gothicus [Live][*].
Personnel: Project Zlust Ensemble:
Dzijan Emin: french horn, piano, vocals;
Ivan Bejkov: double bass, percussion, vocals;
Gazmend Berisha: violin;
Vladimir Pop-Hristov: violoncello, vocals;
Goce Sevkovski: percussion.
With Nikola Kodjabashia: piano, percussions, sampler, vocals & conducting;
Oleg Kondratenko: violin on track 10;
Maria Pendeva: piano on track 10;
Yane Kodjabashia:Byzantine Chant on track 6;
Aleksandar Pop-Hristov: electric guitar, double bass;
Shezair: saz on track 6;
Martin Allen: percussion;
Marko Petrovski: guitar.
All music composed, arranged, written, produced & mixed by: Nikola Kodzabashia
(Except 7 composed by Dzhian Emin, arranged, produced and mixed by Nikola Kodjabashia).