Mykola Lysenko

 

Born: March 22, 1842 – Hrynky, Poltava Governorate
Died: November 6, 1912 – Kyiv, Ukraine

 

A few facts about Mykola Lysenko

 

  • Lysenko was born into a wealthy aristocratic family that could trace their heritage back to Cossack roots.
  • At six years old he received his first piano lessons from his mother and at age nine he was sent to study music in Kyiv. He continued his music studies but graduated from Kharkiv University with a degree in natural science.
  • Under the influence of his grandparents, he became interested in Ukrainian music and culture. It was to become a passion for him, and his early music included adaptations of folk music and settings of the work of  Ukrainian poets.
  • As a composer, pianist, conductor, and ethnomusicologist he became central to Ukrainian music of his time. His output was prolific, and he composed works for the piano, art songs, and operas, as well as orchestral, chamber and choral music.
  • His nationalism brought him in to constant conflict with the officials of the ruling Russian Empire. He was denied state support and his work was closely monitored and frequently attacked in the state press. In 1907 he was jailed for his part in a failed revolution against Russian occupation.

Molytva za Ukrainu (Prayer for the Ukraine)
Lord, oh the Great and Almighty,
Protect our beloved Ukraine,
Bless her with freedom and light
Of your holy rays.

With learning and knowledge enlighten
Us, your children small,
In love pure and everlasting
Let us, oh Lord, grow.

We pray, oh Lord Almighty,
Protect our beloved Ukraine,
Grant our people and country
All your kindness and grace.

Bless us with freedom, bless us with wisdom,
Guide into kind world,
Bless us, oh Lord, with good fortune
For ever and evermore.
– Literary translation by Dmytro Shostak
courtesy of Wikipedia

 

  • Oleksandr Konysky wrote the patriotic text in early 1885, a time when the Imperial Russian government had suppressed the use of Ukrainian as both a spoken and written language.
  • Lysenko composed the music and arranged the choral setting that same year. He had originally intended it for children’s chorus, but it proved difficult for amateur choirs.
  • It was to become the “National spiritual anthem” of Ukraine during the independence struggles at the beginning of the 20th century and later to mark special events and holidays.
  • The anthem was sung by a massed choir on the main street of Kyiv in 2001 at a celebration to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.
  • Prayer of Ukraine closes the liturgy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

 

 

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