Friday, January 20, 2006

The Lviv Philharmonic Celebrates Mozart And Shostakovich

Tomorrow evening, at 6 PM, the Lviv, Ukraine Philharmonic, on Tchaicovskiego Ulica, opens its winter season with a concert celebrating the major anniversary birth years of Mozart and Shostakovich. The program features Mozart's Haffner Symphony (#35) and Shostakovich's last Symphony, #15.

Last Sunday, students from both the local music conservatory and academy celebrated the Eastern Orthodox New Year (Julian calendar) with a second New Year's celebration concert; this time with music of Pachebel, Bach, Haydn, Chopin, and Dimitriescu. (The Lviv Music Conservatory is itself housed in a beautifully restored Art Nouveau building -- a far cry from the brutalist cement modernism of the Juilliard School in New York City and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, in Berkeley, California.)

Happily, the beautiful small Lviv Philharmonie, in an exquisite style modern building, will remain open as major renovations on the structure (topped by two lyres and and two swans) begin. (The much more renowned Lviv Opera House is in exquisite condition; and the exterior renovation of the even finer Odesa/Odessa Opera House is now complete. The superb inner neo-baroque plaster work to that Western Opera House -- a much finer hall than the bombed and rebuilt Vienna Opera House --is now undergoing restoration.)

Also happily, the Kyiv Museum of Western and Oriental Art owns a beautiful Rembrandt portrait of a Polish or Slavonic nobleman in a turban. The work is in perfect condition, as are all of the works in Lviv's perhaps finer Lviv Picture Gallery; where no division is made between European and Russian/Ukrainian artists (the museum's collection of Austrian and Polish art is exceptionally fine).

(More sadly, while the works in the Odesa/Odessa Russian Art Museum are in generally good condition, the works at the Odesa/Odessa Western and Oriental Art Museum are in rather poor condition, including some major works by Western European masters.

Also, the Sevastopol Art Museum, which is said to feature a dozen or so Western/Russian/Ukrainian masterworks of painting, is closed for renovation. The world famous Sevastopol Crimean War Panorama, from 1905, remains on view and is the cultural draw of that very beautiful small port city which was closed to all but the Soviet military and their guests from 1917 to 1996. Twice that city has recovered from destruction, ruin once inflicted by the English, French, and Turks (and Italians) during the Crimean War imperialist adventure; and ruin once inflicted by the Nazi imperialist adventure.)

Sevastopol, Ukraine/Russia. Visited by American writer Mark Twain, after the Crimean War of 1854-55, who commented on its "ruin, ruin, ruin". [The theater pictured above was part of the Stalinist era rebuilding of the city, largely completed by 1951. The city is said to have perhaps the finest and most elegant Stalinist era architecture...the Minsk, Belarus Stalinist model city project, while generally very impressive, is perhaps more monumental than elegant, overall.] (The naval port is currently leased by Ukraine to Russia until 2019. Close to Sevastopol is the Greek/Byzantine city of Chersones; where Prince Volodomyr of Kievian - Rus was baptised as a Christian in 988, beginning over 1000 years of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarussian Eastern Orthodoxy. This baptism was celebrated this past Wednesday eve and Thursday by tens of millions of Orthodox Christians in Eastern Europe and its diaspora. Yesterday also marked to beginning of Epiphany Frost, said to be the coldest period of the Eastern European winter.

[Prince Volodmyr married the sister of the Byzantine Emperor, and returned the city to Byzantine rule... In 2004, Presidents Putin and Kuchma, of Russia and Ukraine, jointly oversaw the completion of the major rebuilding of Saint Volodomyr Cathedral, in Chersones, next to the ancient site of Greek trade and culture, and Christian baptism and cultural change and renewal in Eastern Europe.... Some of the finest artifacts from ancient Greek Chersones are in the fine, 180 year old Odesa/Odessa Archeology Museum, newly and beautifully displayed under funding and direction of a Greek Cultural Foundation and Greek cultural consultation.]

Image credit: With thanks.


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