Philip Koutev: Polegala e Toudora

June 24, 2008

One of the great songs by the late Philip Koutev, a brilliant composer and choral arranger, is called “Polegnala e Toudora.” David Crosby turned me on to this amazing song in the early 80s. This appears to be a later performance of the song.

“Polegala e Toudora” by Filip Koutev, sung by the Bulgarian Women’s Chorus

I’ll never forget the last time I heard this group. It was at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s. We were up in the nose-bleed seats, row XXX. It was half way through the second half. An small ensemble of eight women came out and sang a long plaintive an highly ornate folk arrangement. Suddenly, there was an earthquake. I swear to you, being at the top, I saw a sine wave slowly move across the balcony. People, especially in the balcony, were terrified and got up and ran. The poor octet on ground level seemed oblivious to the quake but looked but later baffled as to why there were so many people in the balcony were suddenly leaving. They looked at each other: “are we singing flat?” “is the microphone off?” They finished the number. We stayed and moved forward into better seats and came home satisfied with a great concert and an amusing LA story.

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