The music of the Bulgarian composer-conductor Emil Tabakov (b. 1947) explores the darker side of the human spirit in epic scores as austere as they are powerful. His mighty Fifth Symphony, a work almost an hour in length, is obsessive and violent, with the two outer movements, wild kaleidoscopes of whirling colors and driving energy, framing a tragic slow movement and a sardonic march. The much earlier Double-Bass Concerto, which sits downstream from Shostakovich, shows the same grim sense of humor in the teeth of the dancing indifference of fate. A critic once wrote of Tabakov's music: "In his concert music as well as in his symphonies, Emil Tabakov insists on selection and dynamics, on the large-scale development of a small in volume, but focused, thematic material. Tabakov's music is the music of movement, it rarely carries us into spaces of contemplation or frozen calm; it's movement forward in time is determined by the composer's magnificent technique with which he works the material, turning it into music and theses and antitheses, of culminations and lows."