RECENT: Defining Our Field - what is 'classical music' to us, why are we involved and what can we learn from our differences? Read John Dante Prevedini's essay, watch the panel discussion and make your own comments.
Myroslav Skoryk (1938-2020) was regarded as Ukraine's leading composer. He graduated from the Conservatory of his natal city Lviv as composer and musicologist, and later he furthered his studies at Moscow Conservatory in the class taught by Dmitri Kabalevsky. Skoryk was Professor at the Mykola Lysenko Lviv National Music Academy of Ukraine and the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine, serving as head of the compositional department and the history of Ukrianian music. Throughout his eminent career he was of immense influence for many a great composer from his homeland, and for many years he was secretary of the Ukrianian and USSR Union of Composers. Skoryk was also a professor and member of the Academy of Arts of Ukraine and he was a recipient of the prestigious title of People's Artist of Ukraine. The Taras Shevchenko National Prize and Order of Merit and Hero of Ukraine are two other accolades that Skoryk could boast of.
His catalogue, if not vast, is substantial and includes operas, ballets, cantatas, concertos, six partitas for various instrumental combinations, solo instrumental works and also film music. Still, his most famous piece is the transcription for orchestra of Paganini's 24 caprices, the first such orchestral transcription of these violin masterpieces.
This excellent Naxos Volume 2 of the composer's nine violin concertos includes Nos 5 to 9, and concludes the whole set of this genre. Written over a period of forty-five years, these works are so very pleasant to listen to, and for my first introduction to Skoryk's music, I was left with a desire to delve more into his output. Indeed, his language is passionate, dramatic and at times even heroic, but always melodiously exciting and brimming with energy.
Listen — Myroslav Skoryk: Violin Concerto No 5
(track 1, 0:35-1:22) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :
Concerto No 5 (2004) utilises jazz elements and a vivid fugato, while the Sixth (2009) explores the use of sensual moods and provocative dance rhythms.
Listen — Myroslav Skoryk: Violin Concerto No 6
(track 2, 3:04-4:00) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :
Syncopation and lyricism abound in the Seventh (2011), while the Eighth (2011) offers a representation of events in Chopin's life through quotations in combination with Skoryk's particularly distinctive musical voice.
Listen — Myroslav Skoryk: Violin Concerto No 8
(track 4, 16:24-17:23) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :
The Ninth (2014) is both touching and lyrical, representing the most intimate depths of the composer's soul.
Andrej Bielow is an enthusiastic advocate of his compatriot's music, and his flowing virtuosity gives these works a glowing attire; also, concern to every phrase and nuance is consistently in focus. Sirenko and his Ukraine ensemble give unbridled support. Hugely interesting music beautifully recorded and presented. Try it.
Copyright © 26 June 2020