Bach in session: musicians displace Ukrainians under Russian bombardment

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Time stood still for a brief moment at a metro station serving a bomb shelter in Kharkiv, Ukraine, as a group of Ukrainian musicians moved listeners with a classical concert amid daily Russian bombardment.

Three violinists, a cellist and a bassist delighted an audience of a few dozen people for half an hour in one of the largest metro stations in Ukraine’s second city, close to the Russian border.

Underground and safe from rockets and missiles, the musicians, aged 20 to 35, played the national anthem and several tunes from popular Ukrainian folklore.

The delighted listeners were displaced people, enjoying the concert which took place on a marble staircase.

They have been living in the station since the invasion began on February 24, fleeing the war from above and sleeping in old train cars.

People listen to classical music played by local musicians at a metro station that serves as a bomb shelter as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 26, 2022. (Photo Reuters)

“When our hearts are full, it helps us overcome difficult times,” said Sergiy Polituchy, director of Kharkiv Music Fest, one of Ukraine’s most prestigious music festivals.

The concert was his idea, held on the same day the annual event would have started.

Despite the sounds of war, “the music doesn’t stop,” he said.

“This mini-concert is a symbol that light will conquer darkness, that truth will triumph over lies… the organization was a bit complicated because of security, but we got there!”

The musicians thrilled the audience with an excerpt from Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 as well as Dvorak’s humoresques.

They then played an aria by Myroslav Skoryk – a Ukrainian composer who died in 2020 – which is often covered by President Volodymyr Zelensky in his videos and posts on social media.

‘Right way’

Protected by armed guards, the governor of Kharkiv Oleg Sinegubov and the mayor of the city Igor Terekhov also attended the recital.

“A month ago, we could not have imagined that our soldiers and soldiers could, hand in hand, protect the city,” Terekhov said.

“In times of war, we all work together for victory, this concert shows that we are on the right track,” he added.

Videos of professional cellist, Denys Karachevtsev, have been shared on social media of him performing in front of bomb-destroyed buildings, magical moments between chilling periods of fierce Russian bombardment.

“It was just an idea, to be useful to my people, my country and my hometown. I love this city, its people. Anything I can do to help, I will,” he said. told Agence France-Presse (AFP). .

“People tell me that my videos bring some normalcy back into their lives. It’s important right now… We’re not afraid, we’re strong, and everyone can help in their own way,” he said. -he adds.


People wait for the start of a classical music concert performed by local musicians at a metro station that serves as a bomb shelter as the Russian attack on Ukraine continues in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on 26 March 2022. (Photo Reuters)
People wait for the start of a classical music concert performed by local musicians at a metro station that serves as a bomb shelter as the Russian attack on Ukraine continues in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on 26 March 2022. (Photo Reuters)

Other Ukrainian musicians also shared hopeful clips on social media.

Violinist Vera Lytovchenko played in her Kharkiv refuge, pianist Irina Maniukina in her damaged house near kyiv or other members of the Odessa opera, in front of their rooms protected by sandbags.

“Everyone came to my house for just one rehearsal,” said Tatiana Chukh, one of the violinists who performed at the metro concert.

“In the early days of the war, there was a silence within me. Then I understood that we had to go on living, for our ideals, for our country, for our future,” she added.

“Playing our instruments is what we know best, we will do it in all circumstances,” she said, adding with a big smile and misty eyes: “It was perhaps the best concert of my life.”

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