Summer 2022: A new orchestra sees the light of day at the Opera House in Warsaw. The initiative was beautiful, the occasion terrible. After the Russian invasion, conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson wanted something she could do. Music connects and gives hope, and the idea of uniting a band of Ukrainian musicians was born.
After the first successful tour of the Ukrainian Freedom Band through Europe and America, the musicians – veterans of European and American bands, refugees and Ukrainians exempted from military service – have now come together again after a year. Again they visited Amsterdam.
Amsterdam-based pianist Anna Fedorova was the soloist last year. In this newspaper he beautifully said: “Music does not save life, but works on a spiritual level.” That’s exactly what listeners experienced at Grote Joll this week, judging by the concentration and warm applause. Many of the players’ mates were among the ticket buyers.
The wealth of Ukrainian culture
Yellow bulbs from the ceiling, blue pastoral light on the walls: the concert welcomed its guests in style, introducing themselves to their homeland through their chosen music. The lectures of Yevhen Stankovic and his teacher Miroslav Skoric included little-known material. Growing up in Winnipeg, home to the largest Ukrainian community in North America, Wilson’s desire: to celebrate the richness of Ukrainian culture and perform this music.
Stankovic’s Violin Concerto no. 2’s performance was in the hands of musician Valery Sokolov. His string arm in particular provided this sound, a somewhat tight resonance that prevented him from really fully blooming. Sokolov knew how to build tension in a melodic lament until time stopped in a duet with the first cellist. This effect created musical harsh notes.
At the concert opening of Verdi’s overture from La Forza del Destino, Wilson had the air under it. She is a solid lady and gets a nice sound out of this project band. She led Beethoven’s third symphony ‘Eroica’ very tenderly with a delicate hand. A light Scherzo went well for the company, a grand revelation that the funeral procession lacks. So that’s the strength of the orchestra, it’s sending a signal again. The signal finally sounded in a moving rendition of the Ukrainian national anthem.
the door Valery Sokolov and Ukrainian Freedom Band Olve Keri-Lynn Wilson
i saw 28/8 Concert Hall
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”