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All Listed Works Edition Silvertrust
Vasyl Barvinsky

Vasyl Barvinsky (1888-1963)

Nationality: Ukrainian | Soviet
Born: February 20, 1888, Ternopil Died: June 9, 1963, Lviv (age 75)

Elegy for String Quartet in g minor

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
Composed: c. 1912 (age 23-24)
From Edition Silvertrust

We are pleased to present the Elegy for String Quartet in g minor by the Ukrainian composer Vasily (Vasyl) Barvinsky (1888-1963). He was born in the Ukrainian city of Ternopil (then known as Tarnopol and part of the Austrian-Habsburg Empire). He studied piano, and composition at the Lyiv Conservatory and afterward in Prague with Vizeslav Novak. He pursued a career as a composer and teacher, eventually becoming a professor at the Lyiv Conservatory. His music, occasionally shows the influence of Impressionism, but often relies on Ukrainian folk melodies. Minimalism also attracted him. He was not a prolific composer and chamber music is not a large part of his oeuvre. Thanks to the Stalinist regime Barvinsky was arrested sentenced to ten years of imprisonment in 1948. He was forced to sign a document agreeing to the destruction of his manuscripts most of which were subsequently destroyed. Upon his release in 1958, he spent the rest of his life trying to reconstruct from memory the works which had been destroyed or lost.

The Elegy was taken from his Piano Quintet in g minor which was among those works destroyed. It is thought to have been composed sometime around 1912 and was one of several works dedicated to the memory of Mikola Lysenko (1942-1912), who is generally considered the father Ukrainian music and the founder of what became the Kyiv Conservatory. The first and last sections of the Piano Quintet are for string quartet alone. Because it is highly unusual, virtually unheard of, for piano quintet to have large sections played only by a string quartet, it is thought that these sections may not have been meant to have been performed with the Piano Quintet but were part of a separate piece, a string quartet, upon which he had been working. The music is in the late romantic style.

The score to the Piano Quintet was published after Barvinsky's death as part of a series of his collective works. It was based on the manuscript that he had reconstructed from memory. The parts created from this score were edited by senior editors Garik Hayrapetyan and Raymond Silvertrust. A highly emotive work, suitable as a tribute but which could also be played as an encore. We warmly recommend it both to professionals and amateurs alike.

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