by Olga Kizlova
After returning from a month-long concert tour of Italy, Ukraine’s National Academic Symphony Orchestra held its first concert of the 2005 season, as always performing to a full house at the Lysenko Hall of Columns of the National Philharmonic. The concert program and repertoire transcended the traditional bounds. After another tour of Italy a year ago a tragedy befell the orchestra when its 29-year-old soloist, flute section concertmaster and laureate of numerous international competitions, Volodymyr Dmytriyev, passed away after a protracted illness. His orchestra colleagues, students and teachers from the Lysenko School of Music, fellow students and lecturers of the Tchaikovsky Academy, and many professional Ukrainian musicians came to pay their last respects. The orchestra’s latest concert, conceived at the site of his fresh grave, was a musical commemoration of this gifted musician.
It was a grand, pure, and bright concert, during which the National Symphony Orchestra performed four large cycles, directed by the chief conductor Volodymyr Sirenko, Merited Artiste of Russia and Ukraine, and laureate of Ukraine’s National Shevchenko Prize. Oleh Kudriashov spoke fondly of his student and then performed Vitaly Hubarenko’s “Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra”. It was another brilliant performance of one of the best flute pieces of the 20th century, which the composer dedicated to Kudriashov 40 years ago. It was also part of Dmytriyev’s repertoire. Then People’s Artiste of Ukraine Natalia Svyrydenko, Kudriashov’s partner in the Dmytro Bortniansky Trio, performed French composer Francis Poulenc’s “Concert Champêtre for Harpsichord and Orchestra.” Ms. Svyrydenko explained her choice: “Volodia spent the best days of his life in France. Moreover, I repeatedly discussed with Volodymyr Sirenko the idea of performing it for the first time in Ukraine. This wonderful composition and the opportunity to perform it with an outstanding symphony orchestra was the motivating force behind this idea. Volodia himself was looking forward to the premiere. The light and occasionally sad music of the concerto is worthy of his memory.”
After the interlude, Dmytriyev’s older brother Oleksandr performed Shostakovich’s “Second Cello Concerto.” The concerto perfectly conveys the sense of irreparable loss and the fragility and fleeting nature of life. An outstanding and mature musician, Oleksandr Dmytriyev performed a brilliant rendition of the composer’s concept, bringing tears to the eyes of many listeners in the audience and musicians onstage.
The last to perform was mezzo-soprano Maria Lypynska, who sang a cycle of Gustav Mahler songs based on the poetry of Felix Ruckert. This young soloist has a very beautiful, even, clear, and deep voice. Mahler’s songs were a sad yet dazzling finale of the concert.
Still, the main performer of the night was the orchestra, whose members perform simply. Hidden behind this seeming simplicity are the experience and grandeur of the orchestra. The musicians amazed the audience with the wonderful sound of numerous solos and ensembles of wind instruments, and the even and noble timbre of string instruments. The musicians skillfully convey all the diversity, depth, intellectuality, emotionality, contrast and subtlety of every detail. Without a doubt, much of the credit for this goes to its chief conductor. The National Symphony Orchestra has often been directed by other gifted conductors, both young and experienced, yet, none of them make the orchestra sound as mature and perfect as Sirenko.
After the concert, the maestro shared his thoughts: “Volodymyr Dmytriyev was a bright and very gentle person, and a brilliant musician. When he died, his father Kostiantyn said rightly, ‘In achieving humility, he acquitted himself honorably,’ a nearly impossible feat in our artistic milieu. During his grave illness we saw how he longed to remain in the orchestra and feel like an artist. Above all, I feel extreme sorrow — a young, humble and gifted person has passed away. It has only been three days since we returned from the tour, but we knew that we had to perform this concert.”