by Mykola Lysenko
arrangement by Picarband
“PRAYER for UKRAINE”, it is a piece composed in 1885 by the musician Mykola Lysenko (1842-1912) on a text by the poet Oleksandr Konysky (1836-1900) translated as follows: “Lord, O great and almighty, protect our beloved Ukraine, bless her with the freedom and the light of your holy rays. With learning and knowledge enlighten us, your little children, in pure and eternal love, we grow, O Lord. Let us pray, O Lord Almighty, protect our beloved Ukraine, grant our people and our country all your kindness and grace. Bless us with freedom, bless us with wisdom, guide us in the gentle world, bless us, oh Lord, with good luck forever and ever ”.
Some historical information: this “Prayer” is a Ukrainian patriotic hymn, initially intended for a children’s choir, published in Lviv in 1885. It acquired national importance when it was performed by several choirs with mixed voices during the Ukrainian War of Independence in 1917-1920 It became a spiritual hymn in the services of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and proposed in Kiev in 2001 during a parade celebrating the tenth anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. Recently, two days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine, precisely on February 26, 2022, the DUMKA choir (translation of Opinion) from New York performed the PRAYER on the Saturday Night Live television program behind a table of candles with the inscription of the city of “Kyiv”.
The wish is to realize and communicate these sensations also by performing the instrumental version of Picarband prepared for amateur bands. Each band has its “beneficial weapons” in musical instruments and therefore represents a force of solidarity; even with the sounds supported by human expression one can fight against injustice and contribute to the defense of Rights, Peace and Freedom.
Tips for playing
In this arrangement and instrumental adaptation of the band, I looked for the set of timbral colors that most represent the values we believe in: peace, respect and solidarity, to hope for the end of the war and a new freedom in Ukraine. It is a choir with several voices, very expressive, the pace is that indicated initially and proceeds on militaristic percussion. But immediately an intense melody rises, harmoniously well constructed and surrounded by blooms that invite you to embrace solidarity. The musical development is enriched by “brass blasts” that invite resistance, common commitment, respect and achievement of the longed-for peace and therefore the consolidation of freedom. This is why the finale is in a grand and solemn form, with all the instruments engaged in maximum sonority, intent on creating a heartfelt and passionate harmony. In concert rehearsals it is recommended to give the right emphasis to the main line of the melody and to arrange an adequate harmonic balance in the other voices. The original key of the piece has been maintained, with all alterations reported. The tied and detached articulations follow the pronunciation of the original text (we mean more a staccato-carried and therefore it must not be too evident). The choral form of the piece indicates the observance of the overall breath of each musical phrase. Particular attention is needed to the articulated and ringing parts of the brass (marked by the rhythm of the drum) that accompany and connect the cadential parts of the phrases, these too must not be excessive compared to the voices of the melodic conduction. The same goes for the blooms of the upper middle parts of the woods and flutes. The sonic dynamics are well highlighted (from p to ff) and are arranged in a continuous crescendo that leads to the maximum sonority of the final “tutti”.PDF Preview
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