Fighting Through Culture – Music in Dresden

Photo: Dmytro Larin

Bitter are the backgrounds that Kyiv Symphony Orchestra These days in a small tour of seven German concert halls, the idea of ​​how little art and culture can stand is paralyzed in the face of aggressive war. But giving in to this impotence was not an option for Ukrainian musicians: “The best way to fight is to play,” said violinist in the orchestra, Yulia Neborzhneva, last week.

In that regard, Monday’s opening concert in Dresden was meant to be an exclamation point that united the nation. From the Kulturpalast, which was almost sold out – there were hundreds of Ukrainian refugees now numbering seven thousand who have arrived in Dresden in the past few weeks – the music was carried to Schlossplatz in Dresden and “Deutsche Welle” (the station in Moscow is now classified as “agent”). Alien”) was streamed live to over nine thousand other viewers around the world via YouTube.

The program is intelligently crafted. Haydn’s contemporary Maxim Berezovsky (1745-1777) symphony, rediscovered in the Vatican a few years ago, showed for the first time how close Ukraine was to European musical life at the time. For Ernest Chausson’s “Poème” for violin and orchestra, Minute Violin Concerto for a quarter of an hour, Diana Tishchenko, trained in Kyiv and Berlin, went up in front of the orchestra and gave the work a rather sober tone with quick strokes and stout access. The simple “melody” of Miroslav Skorik (1938-2020) followed as an apparition to the enthusiastically applauding audience, which practically consisted of Ukrainian pain at home. The orchestra, founded forty years ago and now composed mostly of musicians in their early and mid-20s and organized under the auspices of the state capital, has finally had its element here. Here the musical heart of the band audibly beats, which in recent years has accompanied important national holidays with “melody”, such as the 25th anniversary of the Ukrainian Constitution or the 30th anniversary of independence. Luigi Gaggero, chief conductor since 2018, has allowed musicians to savor the painfully sweet, emotional tone.

The main discovery of the evening was followed by the second half of the concert, which was emotionally charged with shouts from the audience (“Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”). From the first trumpet appeal to the loud conclusion, the Third Symphony inspires what is probably the most important Ukrainian composer, Boris Lyatushinsky (1894-1968). In the West he is perhaps best known as a teacher and Valentin Siloastro. What a gritty, gritty, powerful action that comes with tremendous tonal variety reminiscent of many role models from Richard Strauss to Alexander Scrabin. We are ashamed to admit that this composer, like Shostakovich, who fell into the mills of Soviet cultural policy, seemed close to the state after the claims of formalism – the Third Symphony is dedicated to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the October Revolution – and wrote a lot for the drawer, but heard so little so far. “Slavic Concerto for Piano and Orchestra”, his 4th and 5th symphonies, but above all his chamber music is a completely new territory for many Westerners, who await an enthusiastic discovery. Recommendation for the Curious: The nearly two-hour program “Explanations: Boris Latuchinsky’s Third Symphony” (Director: Volker Tarnow), which has been available in the media center of Deutschland Funk Kultur since the end of March and weaves a dense web of voices, biographies of composers and thrillers.
National finale for the evening: the Ukrainian national anthem was played to the cheers of the audience. Mychajlo Werbyzkyj’s tune must have been new to large parts of the Dresden audience. On the other hand, the Ukrainian audience put their hands on their hearts and sang softly: “Ukraine is not yet dead. We will sacrifice body and soul for our freedom. We will not allow anyone to rule our homeland. The glory of Ukraine will spread among the peoples.”

26.4. Gewandhaus in Leipzig
27.4. Berlin Philharmonic
28.4. Kurhaus Wiesbaden
29.4. Freiburg concert hall
30.4. Dome Hall Hannover
1.5 Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

A text version of the article appeared in the latest Dresden news. We are grateful to the publisher for his kind permission to reprint it here.

Martin Morgenstern

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