Lissenko, Nikolai (Vitalievich)

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Lissenko, Nikolai (Vitalievich)

Lissenko, Nikolai (Vitalievich), notable Ukrainian composer, pianist, conductor, and folk song collector; b. Grinki, near Kremenchug, March 22, 1842; d. Kiev, Nov. 6, 1912. Following piano lessons from his mother, he was taken at age 9 to Kiev to study with Panochini (piano) and Nejnkevič (theory). He pursued training in the natural sciences at the univs. of Kharkov and Kiev (1860–64). After further music training with Wolner, Dmitriev, and Wilczyk, he was a student at the Leipzig Cons. (1867–69) of Reinecke (piano) and Richter (theory and composition). In 1869 he returned to Kiev as a piano teacher, and also became associated with its branch of the Russian Musical Soc. His ardent espousal of Ukrainian nationalism, however, led him to later break with the Soc. After studies in orchestration with Rimsky-Korsakov in St. Petersburg (1874–76), Lissenko returned once more to Kiev and established himself as its principal figure in the musical life of the city. In addition to his activities as a composer, pianist, conductor, and folk song collector, he founded a school of music and drama in 1904, which was posthumously named in his honor in 1918. His support of the 1905 revolution led to his brief imprisonment in 1907. Lissen-ko’s life-long interest in folk songs is reflected in his works. His most significant scores comprise the operas Taras Bulha (1880–91; Kharkov, Oct. 4,1924) and Natalka Poltava (Odessa, Nov. 24, 1889). A complete ed. of his extensive output was publ, in Kiev (20 vols., 1950–59).


dramatic: Harkushka, opera (1864; fragment); Andrashiada, opera-satire (1866; fragment); Utoplena, abo Mayska nich (The Drowned Maiden, or May Night), opera (1871–83; Odessa, Jan. 14, 1885); Chernomortsy (Black Sea Sailors), operetta (1872–73; Kharkov, June 13,1883); Rizdvyana nich (Christmas Eve), comic-lyric opera (1877–82; Kharkov, Feb. 8, 1883); Taras Bulha, opera (1880–91; Kharkov, Oct. 4, 1924); Koza-Dereza (The Nanny-Goat), children’s comic opera (1888; Kiev, April 21, 1901); Natalka Poltavka, opera (Odessa, Nov. 24, 1889); Pan Kotskiy (Sir Cat), children’s comic opera (1891; Kharkov, May 8, 1955); Zima i vesna, abo Snigova kralya (Winter and Spring, or The Snow Maiden), children’s opera (1892; Kiev, June 29,1956); Volshebnïy son (The Magic Dream), musical fairy tale (1894); Sappho, opera (1896–1900); Eneida (Aeneid), musical comedy (Kiev, Dec. 6, 1910); Letney nochyu, opera (1912; unfinished); Noktyurin (Noctune), opera (1912; Kiev, Feb. 16, 1914); incidental music. orch.:Moldavskaya, Russian Pizzicato for Strings (1859–60); Sym. (1869); Ukrainian Cossack Song (1872–73). chamber: String Quartet (1869); String Trio (1869); Fantasy on Ukrainian Themes for Violin or Flute and Piano (1872–73); Elegiac Capriccio for Violin and Piano (1894); Ukrainian Rhapsody for Violin and Piano (1897); Elegy in Memory of Shevchenko for Violin and Piano (1912); many piano pieces. vocal: Cantatas; hymns; choruses; songs; over 20 vols, of folk song arrangements.


M. Starytsky, K biogrfii N.V. L: Vospominaniya (Toward a Biography of N.V. L.: Reminiscences, Kiev, 1904); K. Kvitka, N. L. yak zbirach narodnikh posen (N. L. as a Folk Song Collector; Kiev, 1923); V. Chagovets, N.V. L.(Kiev, 1949); L. Arkimovich and N. Hordiychuk, N.V. L: Zhittya-tvoristvo (N.V L.: Life and Works; Kiev, 1952); A. Gozenpud, N.V. L. i russkaya muzïkalnaya kultura (N.V L. and Russian Musical Culture; Moscow and Leningrad, 1954); Z. Vasylenko, Folkloritichna diyalnist N.V. L.(N.V. L.’s Work as a Folklorist; Kiev, 1972); R. Sawycky, N. L. in Western Sources: Bibliographic Essay (Cranford, N.J., 1992).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Lissenko, Nikolai (Vitalievich)

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