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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

“Ode to Joy” reaches the heaven

A music action of unity takes place in seven Ukrainian airports
7 April, 2014 - 17:14

On Sunday in terminals of Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Odesa, and Dnipropetrovsk airports symphony orchestras performed simultaneously Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” which is the official Anthem of the European Union. The action “Common Air” coincided with the 40th day since the killings of the participants of civil protests in Kyiv on February 18-20, and one of its important marks was commemoration of the Heavenly Sotnia. The nationwide flash mob aimed as well to express its support for unity and integrity of Ukraine and finally celebrate the signing of political part of Association between Ukraine and the European Union.

“I was inspired to hold this action in airports by the performance of the National Odesa Philharmonic Society Orchestra in Pryvoz Market,” says one of the organizers, coordinator of the project in Kyiv, Khrystyna KHRANOVSKA, “We wanted to unite all cities in one effort and show that there is no separatism and we can easily unite with the help of music. We decided to hold this nationwide flash mob namely in the airports, because they symbolize peaceful sky and freedom.”

At noon the “Ode to Joy” was performed in seven airports. Later every city’s program had its own peculiarities. Kharkiv musicians sang the Anthem of Ukraine, apart from the Anthem of the European Union. Nearly 120 musicians took part in the action, and the orchestra was conducted by Merited Worker of Art of Ukraine Vitalii Kutsenko; the musicians were working for free. The conductor notified that the musicians had time only for one full-fledged rehearsal before the concert, because “Ode to Joy” is quite a complicated work, which is rarely performed, and it’s impossible to play it from the sheet. The audience brought flags and symbols of Ukraine and the European Union; distinguishing was the group of mime cyclists with balloons of national colors and placard “Make love, not war.”

Nearly a thousand of city-dwellers came to the airport in Dnipropetrovsk: local intelligentsia, students of higher educational institutions, and Euromaidan activists. “It’s very good when musicians come together in order to unite our fellow countrymen and entire Ukraine. Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ carries special energy, it makes people feel elevated. This is a symbol of Ukraine’s aspiration to European integration,” says musician of the symphony orchestra of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Philharmonic Society Natalia BILOUS. The orchestra performed the “Ode to Joy” three times together with the chorus of Dnipropetrovsk Theater of Opera and Ballet to stormy applause of the audience. The moved townsmen were chanting: “Well done!”, “Glory to Ukraine!”, and “Glory to Heroes!”

Nearly 200 people came to the short concert dedicated to the unity of Ukraine and signing of the political part of Association Agreement with the EU in Donetsk; some of them were wearing blue-and-yellow ribbons and carrying flags of Ukraine. Anna Yarylchenko sighs, “Unfortunately, it is dangerous to go to the center of Donetsk with flags of Ukraine, and here we want to show that we are Ukrainians and we want to live in one happy country.” “Ode to Joy” was performed in the waiting room under Sergei Prokofiev’s portrait. Violinist Oleksandr KOVALENKO noted, “I am taking part in this action not as much as a musician, but as a reasonable man, because this is for the sake of integrity of our country, unity, and European integration, at least in terms of life standards. If everyone makes at least a tiny effort for unification of the country, a spark will give way to fire.” The venue of the action was the main hindrance for the audience. Few buses go to Donetsk airport, so people have to wait for half an hour before the bus of needed destination comes. Some people arrived when the performance was already over.

In Lviv International Danylo Halytsky Airport the “Ode to Joy” was played by Academic Symphony Orchestra “INSO Lviv” and chamber choir Gloria. Nearly a thousand of Lvivites and guests of the city came to listen to the brilliant music of Ludwig van Beethoven, and they encouraged with ovation and cries “Bravo!” the director-general of Lviv Philharmonic Society Volodymyr Syvokhip, who conducted the orchestra, to take the baton for the second time. “People of art are like birds, they want freedom, and freedom is space, sky, and free flight of thought, creative work, and imagination. This is namely the reason why the organizers chose airports as a venue for the ‘Common Air’ action,” Syvokhip told the audience, “On Saturday we organized a requiem concert in the Philharmonic Society, and now we are playing the ‘Ode to Joy,’ glorifying in such a way the people who fought and died for us. We seek freedom and Europe. By our short performance we want to unite people and show that life in fact is happy and free. And it should be like this in Ukraine, too.”

By Anna SVENTAKH, The Day; Vadym RYZHKOV, The Day, Dnipropetrovsk; Tetiana KOZYRIEVA, The Day, Lviv; Aliona SOKOLYNSKA, Kharkiv; Maria PROKOPENKO, Donetsk