The theme of this year’s festival is related to the difficult times in which Ukraine is living and defending its independence. Since March 2022, our muses have not been silent: In times of war, musicians continue to light the way with their art, comforting souls and wounded hearts. The Festival focuses on young Ukrainian virtuosos, eminent foreign performers, music from the Baroque to contemporary tango, and, most importantly, Ukrainian music. Here’s a look at this week’s large-scale orchestral events at the Lviv Philharmonic:
There were rumours about the virtuoso skills of the Italian Antonio Vivaldi, with which he shocked his contemporaries. So it would be a sin not to present this amazing ability of the respected composer at the festival of the same name – especially considering the fact that Vivaldi, a musician and a priest, was associated with Satan because of this skill!
A fantastically inventive magician of sound and a bold innovator of the era – in this concert, the figure of the “Venetian wizard” was reimagined by the soloists and orchestras of the Lviv Virtuosi led by Dmytro Lohvyn. They played rarely performed works that did not leave modern music lovers indifferent – although even during the lifetime of the extremely popular Vivaldi, it was difficult to take fans of his work by surprise.
The highlight of the performance was the concerto “Night” – not a picture of the idyll of the Italian night, but a real mystical story with night ghosts, which perfectly reveals the most interesting timbre possibilities of the solo flute. In turn, another composition brings to life the sound of the mandolin, this ancient instrument, especially common in the composer’s time, which plunged him into the world of the era of humanism, intelligence and beauty!
The worldview of any artist is revealed through his or her work. In the Carpathian Concert, Myroslav Skoryk, perhaps for the first time, so holistically and originally, formulates that fantastic sense that makes us penetrate deep into the history of our people. The outstanding Polish composer Karol Szymanowski, who was born in Ukraine, was represented by his Concert Overture. It only shows the features of Szymanowski’s future style – and yet the audience in Lviv in the first half of the twentieth century highly appreciated this work. In particular, for its brightness and freshness, its youthful enthusiasm for the exuberance of life. The lightness of the piano concerto by the Swiss-French composer Pierre Wissmer performed by soloist Maksym Shadko and the Lviv National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vincent Kozlovsky gave a pleasant aftertaste of neoclassical harmonies.
Sour dissonances, complex harmonies and jazz elements – in a whirlwind of flames of dance that Astor Piazzolla managed to raise to a pedestal among the weighty blocks of academic classics. The once street dance of the lowest social strata is marching proudly across the world’s stages, and today it is an exquisite symbol, the essence of the very love of rhythmic movement, the seduction of meaningful pauses and passive intonations.
This time, the history of the tango was taught by musicians with passionate hearts and knowledge, based on Piazzolla’s own carefully compiled textbook. Everything is here: oblivion, freedom, mystery, and – how can you go without it – an unforgettable musical view of all these manifestations of life from an artist who has already become a Legend.
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