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Belarusian Music

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Author Topic: Belarusian Music  (Read 5180 times)
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« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2016, 05:09:01 pm »

I have posted up some works by Mikalai Ravensky (1886-1953).

His piece "Mahutny Bozha" (Almighty God) is wildly popular in Belarus and is an unofficial national anthem. It exists in many forms - a capella, choir with organ, solo....

from Wikipedia:

Nikolay Ravensky (5 December 1886 Kaplantsy estate, Igumen county now Berezino district, Minsk region - March 9, 1953, Leuven, Belgium) - Belarusian composer, conductor, music critic.

He composed music to several poems of Belarusian poets, author of music for the hymn "Almighty God", and composed religious music.

Born 1886 on the Kaplantsy estate in Igumen County (now the Cherven District). His father was the gardener.

With five years of singing in the church choir, he studied at the village school. In 1895 he received the full content of the Minsk Cathedral Choir, where he received his initial musical education. In 1903 he was sent to the Minsk monastery as a conductor of the Gdańsk choir.

In 1905 he received from the bishop of the direction in Novogrudok, where he worked as conductor of the  church choir and taught music in schools. In 1912-1914 he took courses in a choir in Moscow. With the outbreak of World War II he was evacuated from Novogrudok, and worked as a clerk and storekeeper in military construction. From 1917 – he was a teacher of singing and music in Igumen.

In 1919 he moved to Minsk, worked as conductor in a  church choir, and as a school teacher. In 1920 he began to work as head of the choir of the Belarusian Labor Club (Social Revolutionary) in Minsk. At this time were his first compositions - songs on poems by Maxim Bogdanovich, Constance Buylo, introduction to the poem "Hapon" Vincent Dunin-Marcinkiewicz, the song "Oh, Neman River" to words by Tishka Gartnogo. In 1922 in Minsk came the peak of his choral repertoire - "Collection of Songs with notes." After the banning of the Socialist-Revolutionaries he was arrested: on release he for some time worked as choirmaster at the Belarusian State Academic Theatre (1923).

In 1923 he moved to Moscow to continue his musical education, where he lived for seven years, after graduating in 1927 from the music college named after Stasov in 1930, in the composer conservatory department. At the same time in 1924-1930 he was a corresponding member of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences. In Moscow, Ravensky wrote songs to the words by Vladimir Dubovka and Yanka Kupala. Under the influence of V. Dubovka he turned to music criticism and wrote two critical articles in "The Hill".

In March 1930 he taught at the College of Music, the Belarusian State Conservatory. In 1938, he was expelled from the Composers' Union after his brother Anton was shot by Stalinists. His brother Alexander was later shot by the Nazis at the beginning of the second world war). With his first wife he had daughters. One of them, Lola, was connected to Isaiah Kazinets (a Jewish-Belarusian engineer and a leader of the Minsk Underground Resistance) and was  shot by the Gestapo after his arrest.  Another, Olga (married surname - Alekseenko) – was a soloist of the choir of the Belarusian Radio and TV

 In 1940 he moved to Mogilov, but a year later returned to Minsk, which was under occupation. Here on 23 June 1941 all his manuscripts perished in a fire. 

From 1943 he was the regent of the church choir in Igumen. In 1944, he returned to Minsk. With the start of the Soviet offensive he emigrated to Germany, while his wife and children remained in the BSSR. He worked as a worker at a sawmill near Munich, and taught in the Belarusian Gymnasium in Regensburg and Osterhofene.

From 1950, in Belgium in Leuven university he created a student ensemble of the Belarusian music. He gave many concert in Western Europe. He recorded phonograph records with Belarusian secular and religious songs. In his last years he was ill with something. He is buried in Leuven.

He arranged Belarusian folk songs and songs on poems by Maxim Bogdanovich ( "The Chase", "Slutsk weavers" and others.), Yanka Kupala, Yakub Kolas ( "My country", "Edge of our poor" and others.) K. Buylo ( "I love our land", a historical suite "mound" poem of the same name), T. Gartnogo, Z. Bedulev, which partly included in his "songs from the notes" (1922), V. Dubovka ( "Oh Belarus my dog rose "); Belarusian opera "Bronislava" (libretto by Vladimir Dubovka, not completed); Belarusian operetta "aerial" (by V. Dunin-Marcinkiewicz); music on texts of church prayers, including "Almighty God" (to words by N. Arsenyev).


"Almighty God" (author's name - "Prayer") - a poem written by Natalia Arsenyev in 1943. In 1947, Ravensky put it to music, after which "Almighty God" for the Belarusian émigré movement has become a real religious hymn.The piece has also been proposed as the official national anthem. "Mahutny Bozha" became a religious anthem, which is played at church services and other events.  In the autocephalous churches of the Belarusian Diaspora of worship usually ends with the singing of Mahutny Bozha.

Mahutny Boža! Uladar susvietaŭ,
vialikich soncaŭ i serc malych!
Nad Bielarusiaj, cichaj i vietlaj,
rassyp pramienni svaje chvaly.
Daj spor u pracy štodzionnaj, šeraj,
na lustu chlieba, na rodny kraj,
pavahu, silu i vielič viery,
u našu praŭdu, u pryšlasć — daj!
Daj uradlivasć žytniovym nivam,
učynkam našym pašli ŭmalot!
Zrabi mahutnaj, zrabi ščaslivaj
krainu našu i naš narod!

My God! Lord of the Worlds,
More sun and toddlers heart!
Over Belarus, a quiet and friendly,
scattering rays of his praise.
Give the dispute in the daily, gray,
on a slice of bread, on the native land,
respect, power and greatness of the faith,
our truth, in the future - give!
Give fertility wheat nivam,
our act went umolote!
Make powerful, to make happy
our country and our people!

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