The title of this collection of pieces – some written specifically for the album, some older ones – comes from Distance, a composition I wrote in 2001 for trumpet and piano. I reimagined and reworked the piece for solo piano in 2017 and decided to use the Latin word spatium, because besides suggesting the distance between two geographical points or two people, it also means ‘space’ (the English word comes from spatium), cosmos, an interval of time … I liked the depth of its meaning, the multifaceted connotations that it evokes, and how it represents not only the feel and spirit of the pieces on the album, but also the distances between the land of my birth and the land of my current home, and between the three music traditions that find common ground in my work – Bulgarian, Western European ‘classical’ and American blues and jazz.
Music in the moment is the most ephemeral of arts. But those intangible vibrations compensate with remarkable shaping and staying power. They play with our perception of time and space, evoke memories, inspire visions, connect people and places, enlarge both our internal and external awareness and linger long in heart and mind.
That may be an overly grand introduction for an album that reminds us at every moment of music’s more primal pleasures of kinetic rhythms and ear-charming tunes. But the stunning hybridity of Milen Kirov’s music, with its complex, utterly idiosyncratic mix of multiple cultures past and present, provokes big thoughts as readily as it does tapping toes and smiling humming. (It also reminds us how hard it is to write about music – but great fun to try!).