Selections from Miniatures on Ukrainian folksongs

Composer: Vasyl Barvinsky (b. 1888 - d. 1963)
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Composer: Vasyl Barvinsky (b. 1888 - d. 1963)

Performance date: 01/07/2022

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Duration: 00:07:40

Recording Engineer: Simon Cullen, Ergodos

Instrumentation: pf

Instrumentation Category:Solo

Artists: Joseph Havlat - [Piano]

Vasyl Barvinsky [1888-1963]

Selections from Miniatures on Ukrainian folksongs 

1. Wiegenlied

2. Ukrainischer Tanz

3. Leiermannslied

4. Humoreske

In light of the horrific events happening in Ukraine since February, the Festival has reached out to many of the artists coming to Bantry this year, to request that they join with us in showing support for Ukraine by performing repertoire by Ukrainian composers. Joseph received a batch of piano works by Ukrainian composers unknown to him and has selected this delightful set of miniatures by Vasyl Barvinksy. Barvinsky was a composer, teacher, musicologist and pianist probably unfamiliar to most audiences, yet in the interwar years under the Soviets he gained great deal of success. He was appointed the first director of the Lviv State Conservatory and was the foremost figure in the musical scene at the time. He wrote chamber music, piano music, arrangements of folk songs and arrangements for childrens choirs. He was passionate about music education, founding a boarding school that specialised in music in Lviv. But in 1948 he was denounced to the Soviet authorities and exiled to a labour camp. Sadly, his manuscripts were publically burned. Released in 1958 he returned to Lviv a broken man and spent his remaining years trying to recreate his lost works. 

The Wiegenlied (Lullaby) is soft and filled with longing, a simple rhythm and theme recurring throughout. We jump then to the lively and joyful Ukrainischer Tanz (Ukrainian Dance), in which the folk song quality is particularly strong. The Leiermannslied is mysterious and sometimes dark, judicious use is made of the pedal, creating an atmosphere of depth and secrecy. The Humoreske could not be a greater contrast – festive and fun, filled with running sequences and brisk melodies. The composition is mature and thoughtful, exploring the different moods that the piano can create.

Helen Dawson