The Well-Tempered Ear

These Ukrainians fight for freedom with music. Hear them this weekend on PBS

September 8, 2022
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By Jacob Stockinger

Not all battles take place on the battlefield.

Take the stirring and critically acclaimed Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra (below), which has taken on the mission of preserving Ukrainian culture that is being threatened by the Russian invasion.

Its members are Ukrainian musicians, refugees from Ukraine and Ukrainian members from different orchestras around the world.

It has toured Europe and the United States with a program that includes an aria “Abscheukichde! Wo eilst du hin” (Monster! Where will you go?) from Beethoven’s opera about political repression,”Fidelio”; the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Chopin; the Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” by Dvorak; and the Symphony No. 7 (2003 ) by the under-appreciated Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov (below), who is currently living in exile in Germany.

The 90-minute concert by the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra — the last concert in its American tour, which was performed and taped on Aug. 20 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. — will be featured on PBS this weekend, starting this Friday at 8 p.m. Central Times.

In Wisconsin, PBS Wisconsin (formerly Wisconsin Public Television) will air the concert this Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday afternoon and next Thursday night. Except for the Sunday afternoon performance, the concert will be broadcast on the Wisconsin Channel.

(Check your local PBS affiliate for time of broadcasts.)

Here is a link with times and more information plus a video trailer, a link for streaming and reminder buttons for the Wisconsin broadcast:

Here is a positive review from The New York Times:

And here is a background piece from the Metropolitan Opera, which organized and co-sponsored the orchestra with the Polish National Opera:

And here is a YouTube video of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra playing the national anthem of Ukraine:

Posted in Classical music

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