DENVER – Ardent advocates of 20th century Ukrainian music, violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv and pianist Angelina Gadeliya, mesmerized the audience at Grace United Methodist Church in Denver with their impressive technique and interpretation of the avant-garde composers whose music survived despite criticism by the Soviet music establishment in Ukraine.
It was a chronicled journey of 100 years of Ukrainian neo-romantic, neo-folkloric and post-modern composers of the 20th century that have emerged and thrived despite suppression in their native land.
The May 23 recital began with “Dreams and Impromptu” (1919) by master of lyricism and neo-romantic composer Viktor Kosenko, and ended with Borys Liatoshynsky’s “Sonata” (1914), brilliantly performed with exceptional technical mastery.
Included in the program were several pieces written expressly for the performers. Yevhen Stankovych, whose Chamber Symphony No. 3 was selected for UNESCO’s World Tribune as one of 10 best works of 1985, wrote “Angel’s Touch” (2013) for Ms. Ivakhiv on the occasion of the 25th anniversary concert season of the Music at the Institute (MATI) series at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. She showed superb expressiveness in playing it.
Ms. Ivakhiv and Ms. Gadeliya rendered Oleksandr Shchetynsky’s “An Episode in the Life of a Poet” with sublime subtlety and nuance. The piece was composed for them on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko’s birth. They gave its world premiere at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center in New York City in 2014 at a concert in celebration of the poet.
Another piece on the program written for Ms. Ivakhiv was “Capriccio” for violin and piano by Bohdan Kryvopust. It was premiered in Kyiv in 2014.
The sonata “Post Scriptum” (1990) by post-modern composer Valentin Silvestrov and Myroslav Skoryk’s “Hutsulian Tryptych: Allegretto and Dance for Violin and Piano,” with overtones of Ukrainian folk tradition, rounded out the program.
The dynamic Ivakhiv-Gadeliya Duo was formed in 2006. Both natives of Ukraine, they met at Stony Brook University while working on their doctoral degrees in musical arts. Their collaboration with artists such as the Emerson Quartet, pianist Gilbert Kalish, violinists Pamela Frank and Ani Kavafian, and members of the New York Philharmonic is quite impressive.
The Ivakhiv-Gadeliya Duo has performed its innovative programs to high critical acclaim at Merkin Concert Hall and in the MATI series of the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York City, the Modern Art Institute in Chicago and the Bach Festival in Philadelphia.
Their first concert of music from their new album of Ukrainian classical music was at The Mezzanine in Colorado Springs on May 21. The Figlus Family and Natalia Sim helped organize the recital for the Denver audience.
In order to promote Ukrainian avant-garde composers, Ms. Ivakhiv and Ms. Gadeliya plan to feature them on a new album “Ukraine – A Journey to Freedom; A Century of Classical Music for Violin and Piano.” Although recordings of Liatoshynsky and Skoryk exist, most of the works on the program were never recorded professionally.
The new album is slated to be recorded at the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City and produced by Judith Sherman, a four-time Grammy winner. Tax-deductible donations toward the project can be made to: Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S. Inc. (with the notation: Journey to Freedom CD).