Report from Ukraine: Musical Hallucinations

Report from Ukraine
Musical Hallucinations

by Olga Kizlova

copyright © 2005 Olga Kizlova

The House of Architects in Kyiv recently hosted an unusual performance. Its participants called it "a concert-oneiroid of acoustic jazz meditation."

The 90-minute performance, combining music, dance and poetry held the audience spellbound. The musical performance was by the pianist Myroslav Levytsky, well known as a composer and lead musician of the jazz-fusion group Braty Bliuzu, or Blues Brothers, and the violinist Kyrylo Stetsenko. Their performance was enhanced by a pair of soloists from the modern ballet group Aquarius, and the poet Volodymyr Tsybulko, who read his poetry to musical accompaniment. The program featured music from the Braty Bliuzu repertoire: a series of short pieces combined into a coherent composition, most of which was a solo performance on the grand piano.

Levytsky has a genuine pianistic touch, with subtle nuances and a wonderful feel for rhythm. His constantly syncopating, colorful compositions were captivating with the richness of their unusual pattern of imagery and intonation. With his original interpretive style the composer recasts the works of piano masters Chopin, Debussy, Mussorgsky and Beethoven. This is not a reproach but a compliment to the musician, who works in jazz. His academic education and skill have helped Levytsky develop his own original composition and performance technique. The presence of Ukrainian motifs plays a far from inconsiderable role in his style, which is rooted not so much in Ukrainian ethnicity as in the piano style of the Ukrainian romantic composers.

Stetsenko provided contrast to the piano. He is a brilliant performer with a classical education, a rare phenomenon in rock or jazz performances. Stetsenko played several of his compositions, the most flamboyant of which was "Shaleni Kolomyiky" (Mad Kolomyiky) — his interpretation of Carpathian Hutsul dance motifs, which showed the violinist's passionate temperament to the fullest degree. However, this musical cycle (the program can be rightly called an instrumental cycle) lacked development and "symphonization." After all, the genre of a concert-oneiroid (in psychiatry, a form of hallucination) represented in a cycle of resonant jazz miniatures, can look exactly like this.

C o m m e n t s

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