Press about Days of Ukrainian Music in Warsaw
Press releases published over the years about the event “Days of Ukrainian Music in Warsaw”
This is another Days of Ukrainian Music accompanied by Russian missiles, but we were deaf to them until February 2022. This year’s concerts were held in an atmosphere of special festivity – joy in the celebration of Ukrainian music, hope, bitterness and melancholy. Almost all of the composers whose works we listened to – with the exception of Valentin Sylvester and Yuriy Laniuk – were in Warsaw. (…) On the last pages of the Days program, we could read excerpts from reviews of previous festivals. Each of them states: “we don’t know much about the music of Ukraine. In 2022, there was a lot of talk about the absence of Ukrainian culture from the world, which was by no means due to its mediocrity, but to centuries of symbolic and economic violence. I hope we – we music listeners – have managed to learn something.
Chwile odchodzące w tym właśnie momencie
29th of September 2022
When I was recently reviewing the repertoire plans of Warsaw’s music institutions for the upcoming season, a sad reflection dawned on me: it only took Russian aggression for music by Ukrainian composers – virtually absent for years – to start appearing regularly in concert programs. All the more credit is due to Roman Rewakowicz and the “Pro Musica Viva” Foundation, which he heads, which has tirelessly and consistently presented the treasures of Ukrainian musical culture to Warsaw audiences for almost a quarter of a century. The first Days of Ukrainian Music in Warsaw took place in 1999; at first they were organized irregularly, and since 2019 they have adopted an annual formula. (…) The second part of the concert featured the powerful symphony-requiem Dusza sprawiedliwa [Праведная душе] by Bohdana Frolak to the poetry of Taras Shevchenko. (…) The work, which lasted almost an hour, kept the audience in suspense throughout, helped by the excellent performers – soloists Tamara Kalinkina (soprano), Natalka Polowynka (mezzo-soprano) and Hubert Zapiór (baritone), whose strong voices were wonderfully in tune with the huge cast of the work, as well as the National Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, conducted masterfully by Roman Rewakowicz. The concert ended with a standing ovation.
8. Dni Muzyki Ukraińskiej w Warszawie
2nd of October 2022
After Tuesday’s concert, when the Chain Ensemble played music mostly from the 1990s, the symphonic finale at the National Philharmonic was devoted to works from the last decade (by composers of the middle generation). To be precise, they can be called war works – they were created after 2014. If they are considered representative, it must be said that there has been a major turnaround – while the previous concert was dominated by a style that was considered avant-garde at the time, today the new romanticism reigns supreme. (…) Frolak’s oratorio is a lament full of tenderness and love for the homeland, written in a wide breath, in language that is accessible but not simplistic. The FN choir and orchestra under the baton of Roman Rewakowicz, who conducted the entire concert with calm assurance, sounded magnificent.
Nowy ukraiński romantyzm
9th September 2022
The conclusion of the 8th Days of Ukrainian Music in Warsaw took place in an atmosphere of premieres. We didn’t know any of the works presented at the National Philharmonic (…) We found out who Shevchenko is for Ukrainian culture by listening to the third composition, by Bohdana Frolak (…) In general, her oratorio “Soul of Righteousness” for chorus, solo singers and symphony orchestra, entirely to texts by Taras Shevchenko, could be called a “Ukrainian requiem.” (…) The very first poetic appeal to the “just soul” with the hope of hearing a song about Ukraine, directs us to transcendent and mystical regions. The composer wove some 10 poems into the course of the oratorio, which is an epic tale of the Ukrainian land, nature, the Ukrainian home, the children and their mother, and ends with a monologue by the poet himself, who confesses his desire to be buried in the land that gave him birth. The entire text of the oratorio is printed in the program in Ukrainian and in Polish, with an excellent poetic translation by Adam Pomorski. The musical-dramatic distribution of accents is interesting, as there are parts sung by soloists, Tamara Kalinkina, a soprano from the Kiev opera, Natalka Polowynka, a mezzo-soprano from the Lviv Theater Center, and Polish baritone Hubert Zapióra. (…) The beautiful sound of the National Philharmonic Choir must also be singled out in the oratorio, especially in the a’cappella sung parts. The performance of this ensemble reached the mastery usually attributed to the best Ukrainian choirs. Summing up the impressions after the concert, one can say that it was not important in the concert whether one says “in Ukraine” or “in Ukraine,” but whether one listens attentively to the musical art from Ukraine.
“Na” czy “w” Ukrainie
12th of September 2022
The entire festival became a successful presentation of iconic works of Ukrainian classical music of various genres for the Polish (and in the information age – and any other world) listener. The highest quality of performance, often highly sought after in Ukraine, contributed to the discovery of treasures of our culture: from the oldest examples of choral singing to the most modern achievements of chamber and instrumental music.
The Claquers 17 of September 2021
We know little about the music of our neighbors. This year’s three concerts of the festival helped change that somewhat, presenting Ukrainian music of the centuries from the 18th to the 21st. (…) The program of all three concerts of the Days of Ukrainian Music provided a good cross-section and encouraged us to learn more about the musical culture of our eastern neighbors, and to visit the festival more than once.
Ruch Muzyczny, 25th of September.2021
The final orchestral concert, which also took place on September 11 at the Witold Lutoslawski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio, was undoubtedly the strongest highlight of the festival. Roman Revakovich himself was behind the conductor’s desk, and the stage was filled with the magnificent National Ensemble of Soloists Kiev Kamerata,” which has specialized in performing Ukrainian contemporary music for 44 years, and is known to Warsaw listeners from previous editions of the festival. (…) Ukrainian music, although represented by many composers of high rank and numerous masterpieces, is practically absent from the repertoires of Polish philharmonics and even festivals of contemporary music. Therefore, all the more admiration and respect is due to Roman Revakovich and his “Pro Musica Viva” Foundation for their consistent work to popularize it.”
“Nasze słowo” 3rd of October 2021
Compliments are due to the Pro Musica Viva” Foundation for organizing another, the sixth edition of the Days of Ukrainian Music in Warsaw. And this just a year after the previous edition – and on top of that, according to the words of the Festival’s Artistic Director and at the same time Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, Roman Rewakowicz, published in the program book, the prospect of a cyclical, annual presence in the panorama of Warsaw’s musical events has finally opened up before the hitherto irregularly organized festival.”
“Nasze słowo”, 27th of September 020
BETWEEN WORD AND SOUND
Between the Polish word and the sound of Ukrainian composers… It was 2006, autumn, another Festival of Contemporary Music “Contrasts” in Lviv, which together with friends from the Lviv Branch of the Composers’ Union of Ukraine I founded in 1995.
Over coffee with composer Bohdan Sehin we made further plans, and so the idea arose to cause some continuation of Polish-Ukrainian cultural cooperation splendidly cultivated in the form of the “Gaude Polonia” Scholarship of the Minister of Culture. This program was established in 2003 on the initiative of the then Minister of Culture Waldemar Dabrowski, and is addressed to artists in various fields of culture of the countries – Poland’s eastern neighbors. The vast majority of its participants are artists from Ukraine. By 2006, a certain number of Ukrainian composers had already received this scholarship, which allowed them to spend six months in a selected Polish city in cooperation with a recognized Polish composer – a professor at a music university. Thus, the idea was to have a compositional commission addressed to Ukrainian composers of “Gaude Polonia” scholarships – to write a piece to a selected Polish poetic text for voice and chamber orchestra. With this idea we approached the director of the Polish Institute in Kiev, Jerzy Onuch, who enthusiastically accepted the idea. The Polish Institute in Kiev commissioned Bohdana Frolak (b. 1968), Bohdan Sehin (b. 1976), Mykhailo Shved (b. 1978) and Oleksandr Shimko (b. 1977) to write new works. This is how four very interesting compositions were created to texts by Adam Zagajewski, Marta Podgórnik, Karol Wojtyla and Halina Poswiatowska, respectively. The works were premiered in 2008 at the “Musical Premieres of the Season” Festival in Kiev with the participation of singers Agata Zubel and Svitlana Hleba and the National Ensemble of Soloists “Kiev Kamerata” under my direction. The concert was very successful – there were interesting, beautiful, sonically sophisticated pieces. However, it was such a “semi-format” concert. With director Jerzy Onuch, we decided to continue composing commissions, and so another four Ukrainian composers, grantees of “Gaude Polonia”, were invited to write works. They were Svitlana Azarova (b. 1976), Zoltan Almashi (b. 1975), Lyubava Sydorenko (b. 1979) and Mariya Olijnyk (b. 1982). This time we asked the composers to write instrumental music without a vocal part, the Polish poetic text was only to be the inspiration for the music. The composers chose poetry by Bohdan Zadura, Czeslaw Milosz, Wislawa Szymborska and Juliusz Slowacki, respectively. This was already a full concert program and such repertoire was performed at six concerts by singers Agata Zubel and Marta Boberska, accompanied by the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra under my direction. The concert tour led from Warsaw through Lublin, Lviv, Vinnitsa, Odessa to Kiev. The motto of our project was: young Polish musicians play music by young Ukrainian composers. The project was one of the first ventures of the newly established Sinfonia Iuventus orchestra, and the tour was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the National Cultural Center, the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, the Polish Institute in Kiev, in cooperation with the philharmonics in Lublin, Lviv, Vinnitsa, Kiev and as part of the “Two Days and Two Nights” Festival in Odessa. The tour was organized by the “Pro Musica Viva” Foundation.
Such is the “prehistory” of the September 11 concert program that I am proposing to you as part of this year’s 6th Days of Ukrainian Music Festival in Warsaw. Epidemic demands do not allow a full repetition of this repertoire. Unfortunately, for reasons of overstaffing (a limited number of musicians can perform on stage today), we will not play works by Bohdana Frolak and Mariya Olijnyk that evening.
Today the Ukrainian composers, invited more than 10 years ago, have established themselves musically. Bohdana Frolak was awarded Ukraine’s highest prize in culture named after Taras Shevchenko, Svitlana Azarova continues her work while living permanently in the Netherlands, and has received, among other things, a commission from the Copenhagen Opera Theater to write an opera, Oleksandr Shymko is the music director of the Lesa Ukrainka Theater in Kyiv. Lesa Ukrainka in Kiev, Zoltan Almashi actively presents himself as a composer and cellist, also recently created a chamber opera, Bohdan Sehin works with the Lviv Philharmonic and has the “Contrasts” Festival in his care, Mykhailo Shved, after many years of working for the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, today works with the Lviv Opera Theater, Lyubava Sydorenko and Mariya Oliynyk are engaged in pedagogy. All, of course, create music – with sound they paint and create our reality.
On Friday, September 11, 2020, we will hear works from the program “Between Word and Sound” performed by the excellent singer Iwona Hossa – soprano and the wonderful National Philharmonic Orchestra. I am happy to once again conduct a performance of this interesting, profound, also beautiful and intriguing music. You are cordially invited!
“Rzeczpospolita”, 10th of September 2020
For twenty years now, Roman Revakovich, tireless in nurturing Ukrainian-Polish and Polish-Ukrainian musical contacts, a conductor, composer and music theorist, has been offering Warsaw audiences periodic meetings with contemporary Ukrainian music. The fifth edition of Days of Ukrainian Music” took place from October 18-23, 2019. (…) The festival directed by Roman Revakovich is undoubtedly the most important event in Poland today dedicated to Ukrainian classical music, providing Polish audiences with a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the works of contemporary Ukrainian composers.”
Tygodnik “Nasze słowo”, Nr 45, 10th of November 2019
The high culture, encyclopedic musical training of the festival’s initiator and main driving force, Roman Revakovich, set this festival in my personal scale of firsts precisely because of the content and context, practical conclusions and aesthetic pleasure of receiving in a short period of time a broad and remarkably complete picture of contemporary trends in Ukrainian music from Stankovych and Sylvester, Shcherbakov and Shumeyk, Kyva and Frolak to younger artists. Three concerts filled with music by Ukrainian composers of different generations were masterfully juxtaposed with Lutoslawski’s music – also from different periods of creativity, which corresponded to the subtitle of the festival and its theme Witold Lutoslawski and Ukrainian Music.” This happened for the first time in the history of the festival: Ukrainian music was set in a very meaningful context and thus could be felt more broadly, and with the help of parallels, associations, patterns – its self-sufficiency and dignified place.”
Gazeta „DEŃ”, 6th of November 2019
The event has undoubtedly been a success, its measure is the power of musical impressions, the high ratings of foreign colleagues, the keen interest and applause of the numerous festival audiences who, thanks to it, discover Ukrainian classical music for themselves. So much for his results. But this success was made possible by the daily painstaking work, thanks to the enthusiasm and organizational skills of a group of artists, their authority and enthusiasm. While we often talk and dream about the existence of contemporary Ukrainian musical culture in the European musical space, these people are making this goal a reality not in words, but in deeds. Among them is the well-known Polish musician, conductor and social activist Roman Revakovich. (…) Roman Revakovich avoids high-flown rhetoric, and takes concrete actions for the dialogue of cultures, and by what he does he proves the Europeanness of Ukrainian musical culture.
Czasopismo „Muzyka” – Nr 6/2012,
November-December 2014 (Kyiv)
A review of music from a country is always interesting and cognitively valuable – especially when the music resonates with good performances. Such was the case at this year’s Fourth Days of Ukrainian Music. The program included 17th-century Orthodox church music, Romantic vocal lyricism, late 19th- and early 20th-century chamber music, as well as works by the youngest artists. In doing so, it provided an opportunity to reflect on the paths taken by the music of our eastern neighbors. For we are often inclined to hear it in the context of neo-romanticism, conservative postmodernism, and religious works. Meanwhile, Ukrainian modernism – both pre-war and contemporary – has a very interesting face.
Ruch Muzyczny, 9th of December 2012
Do we know the music of our neighbors? Are the names of important composers there familiar to us? (…)
As for the western neighbors, the matter is obvious (…). As for neighbors from the south, the thing also does not look too bad (…). However, when we think about those from the East, specifically from Ukraine, a big white spot falls out in the consciousness of this majority of compatriots. (…)
Hence, the establishment in our capital of an event dedicated to various fields of Ukrainian music was considered a highly fortuitous initiative. (…) It was a short, but impressively multifaceted review. (…) And the culmination of these third “Days” was an evening with the participation of the excellent – as it turned out – National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine from Kiev, conducted by Volodymyr Sirenko.
Ruch Muzyczny, 12th of December 2004
The event provided music lovers with an excellent opportunity to interact with both the legacy of outstanding artists of a bygone era and the interesting and undoubtedly distinct output of young composers from across the eastern border – still unknown, not least because of resentments that are difficult to overcome. (dk)
Ruch Muzyczny, 22nd of July 2001
“In Warsaw, Ukrainian music is tasted in the summer. Yes, yes! Among the many posters of world-famous stars, thanks to Roman Revakovich, organizer of musical life and director of Days of Ukrainian Music in Warsaw, the concerts of our compatriots are not lost in the information stream. This is the second time that this festival of elite Ukrainian culture receives a very warm reception from audiences and critics in one of the world’s capitals. (…) We would only wait for the next Days of Ukrainian Music in Warsaw!””
Postup, Codzienna Lwowska Gazeta, 6th of July 2001
Undertakings at such a high artistic level as the Days of Ukrainian Music not only inform us what is happening across the border”, but also enrich the not-so-rich musical life in Poland.”
Ruch Muzyczny, 6th of February 2000
Apart from a few stereotypes, we still know very little about the music of Ukraine. The head of the “Pro Musica Viva” Foundation, conductor Roman Revakovich, decided to supplement our knowledge. He organized the Days of Ukrainian Music. (…)
The final concert, during which works by Boris Latoshinsky and Valentin Silvestrov were performed, turned out to be a real revelation. (…)
Metamusic for piano and orchestra by Silwestrov from 1992 (…), which makes time stand still, deserves the career that Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 did a few years ago. Especially in such an excellent performance by the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra. It was thanks to its playing under the baton of the extremely talented Ukrainian conductor Volodymyr Sirenko that Wednesday’s concert was one of the most interesting and best performed in Warsaw in the past year.””
Gazeta Wyborcza, 10th of December 1999