The music festival of the largest scale, Kyiv Music Fest, for the 25th time invited its admirers to the presentation of new music. According to the intention of its ideologist and founder Ivan Karabyts, who this year would have turned 70, the forum had to fully reveal to the audience all the achievements of the Ukrainian music. Over these years, which have been hard for the country and its workers of culture, works by Myroslav Skoryk and Ivan Karabyts, Valentyn Sylvestrov and Lesia Dychko, Vitalii Hubarenko, Karmella Tsepkolenko, Volodymyr Runchak and many other talented composers of national music have been performed at big and small stages of Kyiv by symphony and chamber orchestras, ensembles, and soloists. Today Kyiv Music Fest is a great international forum, where musicians and composers from far and close foreign countries are taking part, performing with inspiration the music of Ukrainian composers and presenting the explorations of the genre of their own creators of music.
Before the official launch of the festival, for the first time in Ukraine the quartet of saxophonists from Sweden, the Nordic Saxophone Quartet, gave a concert in Ukraine. These are extremely talented musicians: Johannes Thorell, Martin Eriksson, Matias Bjornstad, and Linn Persson gave concerts in Lviv and Lutsk, and on the same evening they were returning to Lviv to take part in the festival “Contrasts.”
The program of this concert was thoroughly thought through. The musicians presented new works of Swedish, Norwegian, and Ukrainian music.
Johannes Thorell said, “For us it is especially important to familiarize the Ukrainian audience, whose perception of music impressed us, with new names of our composers. The music of Karin Rehnqvist, Bjorn Bolstad Skjelbred, and Anders Emilsson was a premiere for Ukraine. And performance of ‘Contra Spem Spero’ by Volodymyr Runchak (by the way our tour across your country was possible due to his effort) with Karmella Tsepkolenko’s quartet is a serious test for us on Ukrainian stage.”
The clear and virtuoso sound of saxophones, the highly professional control of breath and sound, the original interpretation of already known and new works made this concert an unforgettable event of the festival and set a high standard.
Another unforgettable event was a concert of the Austrian singer Rupert Bergmann who came to Ukraine with the assistance of the Austrian Culture Forum in Ukraine and the Embassy of Austria.
The unique bass baritone for the first time presented for the Kyiv audience his unique vocal theater of Rupert Bergmann. An owner of a wonderful voice, an organic, emotional, and artistic performer, not only did Bergman present a versatile music program, which included the works of new music composers, from Arnold Schoenberg, Viktor Ullmann and Asmati Chibalashvili to Ukrainian composers, Yulia Homelska. Karmella Tsepkolenko, and Mykhailo Shved. They all inspired the audience with wonderful poetry, from Omar Khayyam and Reiner Maria Rilke to Friedrich Hoelderlin. The artist added to every work an image of his own, his own actor’s decision, turning them into mini plays.
The music accompaniment was performed by three Odesa musicians who have been devoted to new music for a long time: Oleksandr Perepelytsia Jr., Maryna Mokhriakova (both piano) and violinist Yevhnen Talko. All of them not only brilliantly performed the accompanying parts, but also passionately joined in Rupert’s performance, creating a variety of images and personalities.
“This is my first visit to Kyiv,” Rupert Bergmann said after the concert, “I like the festival, the audience, and your absolutely European city very much. I will use my only free day for a deeper acquaintance with the city. Knowing what a hard time it is now for you, I will allow myself to mention the decency with which you are going through them. Starting with the 1990s I have many times participated in a wonderful festival in Odesa ‘2 days and 2 nights.’ This year, which is difficult for you, was no exception, and I’m thankful to Odesa residents for their ability to listen, human firmness, and inexhaustible optimism. The city of peace. I sincerely wish you peace, calmness, and the life you have chosen.”
Hopefully, quick sketches only about two concerts of the festival will inspire the music lovers to visit numerous, very versatile concerts, which are held in the Philharmonic Society and the Union of Composers of Ukraine, grand and small halls of the Music Academy and Organ Hall for the whole week.