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Consolation: Forgotten Treasures of the Ukrainian Soul


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In Ukraine, as in many other parts of Europe, the late nineteenth century saw the emergence of a national spirit which resulted in a movement to explore and cultivate popular culture. But the country would have to wait until 1991 for independence, and in the meantime this national spirit could only find musical expression in the more intimate forms. Some of the most authentic examples of Ukrainian art music can therefore be found in chamber music and in song. With this disc, the Swedish-Ukrainian pianist Natalya Pasichnyk, her sister Olga and their Swedish colleagues offer the listener a way into this shadowy world – the beautiful, melancholy and emotive world of Ukrainian chamber music. Except for Valentyn Sylvestrov, the composers featured will be mostly unknown to an international audience, yet they invite the listener to share a journey into a soundscape that is both exotic and strangely familiar. The title of the disc, Consolation, is derived from a rhapsodic piano piece by Viktor Kosenko which perfectly captures the inward-looking mood of much of Ukrainian music, but the first sound which meets the ear of the listener is a loosely strummed chord, like the sound of a lute: in his Dumka-shumka from 1877, Mykola Lysenko imitated the sound of the Ukrainian lute, the kobza. Lysenko is a central figure in Ukrainian art music, and is also represented here with the song Meni odnakovo, a setting of a poem by Taras Shevchenko, the poet who for many embodies the spirit of Ukrainian independence.
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