"Our singing is a kind of elite music"

24 October 2007, 18:37 | Kaleidoscope | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

An interview with choir director Fr. Deacon Taras Hrudovyi

For two weeks, from 2 to 15 October 2007, a festival of ancient music was held in Lviv. According to its status, it was a jubilee (fifth), and, according to its character, medieval-renaissance. On the last day of the cultural event, the vocal ensemble Kalophonia presented to the public the program “From the pages of Ukrainian irmologia.” [An “irmologion” is a collection of chants.]

It is difficult just to listen to the singing. For you swallow, absorb it. Probably with what is called the soul. One cannot forge it. Because it is the oldest and genuine. It is impossible to distort. Because it is Kalophonia…

We talked about the activity and history of the ensemble Kalophonia with its artistic director, Fr. Deacon Taras Hrudovyi.

—What is the history of the formation of the ensemble?

—The history of Kalophonia began from the moment when the question of the professional education of musical students who are at the same time choir directors was raised. For students studying at the Choral Directors’ Department of the Academy [the Mykola Lysenko National Musical Academy in Lviv] as a rule have links with the church. At the same time, the church also is in need of professional choir directors. For one can hardly imagine a Liturgy without liturgical singing and, generally, singing as such.

Everything began with cooperation between the Ukrainian Catholic University and the Lviv Conservatory (now National Musical Academy). The initiator of the process was Professor Yurii Yanovskyi, who studies the most ancient layers of Ukrainian ecclesiastical music, particularly monody.

—Why Kalophonia? What does the name mean?

— Kalophonia in Greek means “sounding beautiful.” Kalophonic singing is known for its richness, diversity, and the domination of melody over text.

—Who are the participants?

— Kalophonia is a peculiar circle of enthusiasts. The ensemble consists of choir direction students at the musical academy. There are also several people here who simply love ancient music and church singing. There are also deacons, who already celebrate divine services in various churches, regardless of denomination.

—Where can one hear your singing?

—In Lviv, we often perform in the Dominican Church, that is, in the Church of the Holy Eucharist. On Christmas, we performed Christmas songs. In addition, we participated in the festival of ancient music in Stari Sonczi (Poland) and the festival of spiritual music in Dubno. We are participating in the Festival of Ancient Music in Lviv for the fifth time.

—Who attends your concerts?

—The composition of those attending the concerts is diverse: from people interested in the musical aspect of church singing to believers, practicing Christians. The concerts in the Church of the Holy Eucharist are attended by many young people. But that also indicates the specificity of that church. Elderly people also come. One cannot come to categorical conclusions here. The concerts are also attended by nuns, as many postulants study at the musical academy.

—Can the music performed by Kalophonia become popular?

—Gregorian chants are widely spread now. There are many instrumental ensembles which use that musical material and use it as a basis to create their own particular music, which sounds nice and strong. At the same time, there are very few such choirs. As far as the Byzantine tradition is concerned, there are only a handful of collectives playing that music in Greece. Russian collectives are also very few.

There probably are things which cannot be made popular. For it is impossible to make one either come to church or pray. One can only encourage a person. One can create some conditions. But if the person takes no step forward, advertisement methods here are unacceptable.

As for monody itself, that is the program which we represent and directly work on. I would draw some analogy with modern music.

—Kalophonia has participated in the Festival of Ancient Music in Lviv for the fifth time now. What is the importance of that festival, in your opinion?

—The fact that the festival has been held in Lviv for the fifth time in a row, like in Germany or Poland, where there are many such festivals, indicates that we also have something to show. We have a certain singing tradition. We have a desire to demonstrate the music we have. Thanks to the festival, many collectives get a chance to present their music.

In addition, it is a good opportunity to hear nice, skillfully and professionally made music of other collectives from abroad. Any festival is always a possibility for search, communication, discussion and, therefore, a possibility to learn something.

Information: Kalophonia was established in 2001 as an ensemble attached to the Department of Ukrainian Musical Studies of the M. Lysenko State Musical Academy in Lviv.

Its repertoire includes polyphonic music and monody singing of the 16th-17th centuries. In 2006, the collective recorded a CD “Lenten chants from Ukrainian irmologia of the 16th-17th centuries.”

Interviewer: Danuta NAUHOLNYK,
Lviv, 15 October 2007

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    • velovs@ukr.net | 21 March 2019, 12:21

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    • boryspil | 19 March 2019, 12:44

      Побудувати на святому для кожного українця місці, фактично на фундаменті Володимирової Десятинної церкви монастир, в обхід усіх можливих приписів і заборон на будь-яке будівництво на території

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