Slezni, slezni male mome (Bulgarian trad. arranged by Laurel Isbister Irby)

Last month I wrote a post about a Bulgarian composer, Ivan Spassov, who was one of my mentors during the academic year I lived in Bulgaria. Today I’m sharing an arrangement I worked out that fall while I was working with him. The song is a very simple melody with a complex, additive meter of 11/8 + 7/8. I still recall the happy surprise on Spassov’s face when I chose to move the melodic contour to a c-natural rather than c-sharp in the second section. He smiled at me, like, hey, maybe you do have potential after all!

This version is from a recording produced by Superdevoiche, a Bulgarian women’s choir at UCLA that I founded in 1999 when I was a graduate student there.