The May 2023 issue of Choral Journal is online and features an article titled “A Gateway to Ukrainian Choral Music: Guide to the Ukrainian Language and Lysenko’s “Prayer for Ukraine” by Marika Kuzma. Following is a portion from the introduction.
n recent decades, American choirs have been exploring Eastern European choral repertoire with ever greater frequency and ease. Currently, the Rachmaninoff “Bogoroditse Devo” is performed by many high school choirs in its original Church Slavonic language. Many college, community, and professional choirs undertake the entire Vsenoshchnoe bdenie* (Vespers) from which that movement is extracted. More advanced choirs might take on Arvo Pärt’s setting of “Bogoroditse Devo” with its fast-pattering text or Igor Stravinsky’s even more challenging Svadebka (Les Noces) whose Russian words fly by so quickly that even native Slavic singers have difficulty getting all the syllables out in time. Choral music from Ukraine has been largely in the background but is now coming to the fore.
The full-scale war in Ukraine that erupted in late February 2022 prompted many choral directors to take immediate interest in music from Ukraine. Scores with various transliterations of the Ukrainian national anthem and the “Prayer for Ukraine,” for example, circulated quickly around the globe. The present article will provide background information on “Molytva za Ukrainu” [Prayer for Ukraine] and its composer Mykola Lysenko.
This information will be preceded by an introduction to the Ukrainian language and a guide to its pronunciation that can then be applied to the “Molytva” [Prayer]. Ukrainian choral music is deeply-rooted—with documented repertoire reaching back to the eleventh or twelfth centuries. It is varied, plentiful, and particularly rich in a cappella repertoire. This article provides a point of entry into this vast choral realm.
Read the full article in the May 2023 issue of Choral Journal at acda.org/choraljournal