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Mrii: Ukrainian Hope - Petrychenko

Mrii: Ukrainian Hope - Petrychenko

Ars Produktion  ARS 38 357

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


Works by Mykola Lysenko (1842-1912), Alois Jedlichka (1821-1894), Yakiv Stepovyi (1883-1921), Levko Revutsky (1889-1977)

Violina Petrychenko, piano

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Review by Adrian Quanjer - January 31, 2023

As a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Ukraine SSR became independent without having to fight for it. A large but fractured State emerged with families living on either side of the frontier. Building a nation on the Soviet wreckage became a real challenge and a struggle over many following years. Reviewing a previous recording of Violina Petrychenko, Ukranian Moods - Petrychenko, I noted her aspirations regarding Ukrainian identity and language. That was in 2016. Little did we suspect that Ukraine would now, AD 2022/23, have to defend its regained independence against unscrupulous aggression.

Possibly realizing that the outcome could either be ‘a nation that never existed’ or confirmation of national identity, with a stronger than ever awareness of unity, and with a clear link to the family of independent European Nations, Violina Petrychenko continues her “struggle for the preservation of (Ukraine’s) original national history, language, and culture”. In doing so, she has selected a series of short pieces, none of which are ground-breaking but are nonetheless all firmly anchored in the Ukrainian soul. Many are recorded for the first time.

In the wider context of the Russian Empire, it isn’t always easy to determine to which ethnic group a composer belonged. Also, the fact that one of them, Alois Jedlička, was born in the Czech Republic, doesn’t necessarily mean that he did not have Ukrainian ethnicity. The disposition of Ukrainian lands varied considerably during the past centuries. Fact is that from 1848 onwards Alois Jedlička occupied the post of music teacher at the Institute of Noble Girls in Poltava. In her personal notes, Violina discusses him and the other composers in great detail and I will gladly refer to it.

As ascertained previously, Violina Petrychenko is a gifted musician stemming from a select and upcoming generation of talented Ukrainian pianists, who has now matured into a sought-after soloist and valued chamber player. She sees it as her mission to make Ukrainian music and culture more widely known. And although she succeeds marvelously in her quest, the overriding importance of this latest release lies no doubt in its obvious political statement. And by her striving for this ambitious objective, Violine finds Annette and Manfred Schumacher of ARS Produktion squarely at her side.

In that respect I may recall that ARS has been instrumental in manufacturing and issuing a CD with the title ‘Tod Trauer Trost’ (Death, Grief, Consolation), in support of a project created by a pianist and a palliative care professional to deal “via the treasures of music and literature” with the inescapable. Elena Margolina (piano) joined Boris Hait (narrator) to give a deeply moving presentation of combined German and Ukrainian music and poetry. I have it and I have the greatest admiration for all those who have participated in this laudable effort. Although it is an RBCD I would nonetheless commend it here for its exceptional cultural value, and of course, in support of the Ukrainian people, even if German is not your mother tongue.

Someone on this site once said that the piano sound of ARS belongs to the best Hi-Res can offer, and I share that opinion wholeheartedly. I think that the venue, Kulturzentrum Immanuel, a former church, contributes to the realistic roomy sound. But in this specific case, it would seem that the support of Kawai Europe and the local dealer, Piano Faust, means that Violina has played on a Kawai.

A final remark: Between the recording (November 2022) and the release (January 2023) only two months have passed, which is exceptionally short. Surely another clear sign of what can be done if hands share the same purpose. I’d like to invite all to share it, too. Ukraine -and Violina- deserve it!

Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France.

Copyright © 2023 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Multichannel):

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