Borys Lyatoshynsky

1895-1968, Ukraine

Ukrainian composer, conductor and teacher, one of the founders of modernism and expressionism in Ukrainian classical music.

A multiple member of the jury of international competitions, an active worker in the governing bodies of the Union of Composers of Ukraine and the Kyiv Conservatory, Lyatoshynskyi trained a new constellation of composers: I. Shamo, V. Sylvestrov, L. Grabovskyi, I. Karabyts, E. Stankovych, O. Kanershtein, M. .

He was awarded the titles of Honored Artist of the Ukrainian SSR (1945), People's Artist of the Ukrainian SSR (1968), state prizes of the USSR (1946, 1952) and Ukrainian SSR named after T. G. Shevchenko (1971)


He was born on December 22, 1894 (January 3, 1895) in Zhytomyr in a family of intellectuals: his father, Mykola Leontiyovych, was a history teacher, in addition to teaching, he was engaged in research in the field of historical sciences, and as the director of various gymnasiums, he conducted social and educational work in Zhytomyr, Nemyrov , Zlatopoli. Mother played the piano and sang well.
early years
Zhytomyr Gymnasium No. 2, where Borys Lyatoshinsky studied

From an early age, he showed great musical talent, learned to play the violin and piano.

He began his education at the First Kyiv Boys' Gymnasium in August 1904, then from August 1906 he attended the Nemyriv Boys' Gymnasium, where his father was the director. From September 1, 1908 to February 15, 1911, he studied at the men's gymnasium in the city of Zlatopol, where his father was also the director. It was here that he began to seriously engage in music: he studied the violin with the gymnasium teacher Bentzion Khaimovskyi, played in the student orchestra. At the age of 14, he wrote several musical works, including string and piano quartets. The first works of the young composer were successfully performed in Zhytomyr. From Zlatopol, a certificate from the 6th grade was issued to the Zhytomyr Second Male Gymnasium, which he graduated in 1913.

In 1913, Borys Lyatoshynskyi moved to Kyiv and entered the law faculty of Kyiv University. At the same time, he was preparing to enter the newly opened conservatory, privately studying music with the professor of the Kyiv Conservatory, R. Glier: after the latter's invitation, he became a student in his class. Already in 1914, Lyatoshynsky met his future wife, Margarita Tsarevich.

In 1918, he graduated from the Faculty of Law of Kyiv University, in 1919 from the Kyiv Conservatory in the composition class of R. Glier. With gratitude, he remembered the years of study with R. Glier, in his memories of the mentor we read: "He demanded only one thing: that we be sincere in our musical statements, that they always have the truthfulness of thoughts and feelings, that we steadily increase our professionalism." Lyatoshynskyi maintained creative ties with Glier, over time they grew into a sincere human friendship. Among the works of the conservatory years, the composer singled out two as quite mature: String Quartet No. 1, op. 1 and Symphony No. 1, op. 2.

Since 1920, B. Lyatoshynskyi has been teaching music-theoretical disciplines at the performance faculties of the Kyiv Conservatory, and since 1922 he has been leading a composition class. Its first graduates (1925) later became famous artists - musicologist I. F. Belza and composers H. P. Taranov and P. T. Glushkov.

The 1920s became a period of creative maturity and the formation of an individual style for Lyatoshynskyi. In the first half of the 20s, he was deeply interested in new music, following the achievements of both Russian composers (S. Prokofiev, I. Stravinsky, M. Myaskovsky) and Western ones (A. Schoenberg, A. Berg, B. Bartok , A. Onegger, etc.). From 1922 to 1925, Borys Lyatoshynsky headed the Contemporary Music Association at the M. D. Leontovich Musical Society. At the meetings of the association, artists got acquainted with the music of the 20th century.

In that period, the composer turned mainly to chamber genres. He wrote String Quartet No. 2, Trio for piano, violin and cello, two piano sonatas, a cycle of piano pieces "Reflections" and a number of romances based on poems by H. Heine, C. Balmont, Verlaine, Wilde, Edgar Poe, P. Shelley, I. Bunin, M. Maeterlinka, and others. The composer later used the musical themes of some early works in large symphonic canvases (for example, the musical theme from "Reflections" will appear in Symphony No. 4).

The second half of the 20s was no less intense in the work of B. Lyatoshinskyi. The composer wrote String Quartet, No. 3, Sonata for violin and piano, Ballade for piano; at the same time, he again turned to large forms ("Overture on four Ukrainian folk themes", the opera "The Golden Hoop" based on I. Franko's novel "Zakhar Berkut"). "Overture" for symphony orchestra was awarded the first prize at the republican competition together with Symphony No. 2 by L. Revutsky.

The 1930s were an important stage in Lyatoshynskyi's creative biography. The composer again turned to large orchestral forms, creating a suite of his music for motion pictures (1931–1932) and Symphony No. 2 (1936).

At that time, the composer also wrote romances based on the poems of O. Pushkin, I. Franko, and L. Pervomaiskyi, made ten arrangements of Ukrainian folk songs for voice from the piano, created twoand cantatas ("Solemn Cantata" and "Testament") and the opera "Schors".

Due to the dramaturgical defects of the libretto and the distortion of some historical facts, the opera "Schors" was performed on the stages of several Ukrainian theaters for a short time. The new edition of "Schors", carried out by I. Belza (under the name "Commander"), also quickly left the stage. Nevertheless, certain numbers and scenes of the opera, in particular the final scene and the overture, are still performed today with success in concerts and on the radio.

Along with writing his own works, Lyatoshynsky edited and orchestrated the opera "Aeneid" by M. Lysenko, orchestrated the ballet "Comedians" and the opera "Shah Senem" by Glier, and in 1937 brilliantly orchestrated the opera "Taras Bulba" by Lysenko. In the 1930s, Boris Mykolayovych also wrote music for films.

Lyatoshynsky always had to combine his creative work with pedagogical and musical and social work. He continued his teaching activities at the Kyiv Conservatory. In 1935, Boris Mykolayovych was awarded the title of professor. In 1935–1938, Lyatoshynskyi taught simultaneously at two conservatories — Kyiv and Moscow, where he also held the position of professor.

In 1939, Lyatoshynskyi was elected chairman of the board of the Union of Composers of Ukraine. He held this position until the Third Reich attacked the Soviet Union.
Monument to B. M. Lyatoshinsky in Zhytomyr

In April 1941, a major author's concert by Lyatoshinsky was held at the Kyiv Philharmonic, which was a great success. The author himself conducted his Symphony No. 2, dances from the opera "The Golden Hoop" and a suite from the opera "Schors" for choir and orchestra.

With the beginning of the war, Lyatoshinsky was evacuated to Saratov, where the Moscow Conservatory was already located, where he continued his teaching work. At the same time, the radio station "Taras Shevchenko" was organized in Saratov, which broadcast for the partisan underground of Ukraine. Lyatoshynskyi constantly participated in them together with his wife Margarita Tsarevich.

The compositional work of Boris Mykolayovych during the war years was very fruitful. In three years, he wrote "Ukrainian Quintet", String Quartet No. 4, Suite on Ukrainian Folk Themes for String Quartet, Suite for Woodwind Quartet, Trio No. 2, Suite and Preludes for piano, romances based on poems by M. Rylsky and V. Sosyury, covered more than eighty Ukrainian folk songs.

The Ukrainian Quintet became the central work of Lyatoshynskyi in the first half of the 1940s. B. Lyatoshynsky was awarded the State Prize for this work. At the beginning of 1945, in connection with the 50th anniversary, the composer was awarded the title of Honored Artist of the Ukrainian SSR, he was also awarded the medal "For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945".
Post-war years

In the summer of 1944, Lyatoshynskyi returned to Ukraine and immediately joined the musical life of Kyiv. From 1944 until his death (1968), he lived in the house of writers Rolit, where a memorial plaque to the composer was installed. Lyatoshynskyi is appointed artistic director of the Ukrainian Philharmonic, he works as a musical consultant at the Radio Committee, and teaches at the Kyiv Conservatory.

The late 1940s and 1950s became the next fruitful stage in Lyatoshinskyi's artistic activity. During this period, he wrote a number of choral and orchestral works, romances, music for movies. Among the most significant works are Symphony No. 3, the symphonic ballad "Grazhina", "Poem of Reunification", the poem "On the Banks of the Vistula", Piano Concerto with Orchestra. B. Lyatoshynskyi's choirs based on poems by T. Shevchenko and O. Pushkin made a significant contribution to the Ukrainian choral work of the post-war years.

Among the last works of B. Lyatoshynskyi are symphonies No. 4 and No. 5, "Slavic Suite" and "Lyric Poem".

He died on April 15, 1968, buried at the Baikovo cemetery in Kyiv (tombstone - bronze; sculptor O. O. Bannikov, architect A. A. Snitsarev; installed in 1971).

In 1994, Ukrainian director Vyacheslav Skvortsov created the film "Boris Lyatoshynskyi" in honor of the artist.

Borys Lyatoshinsky is named after: a music school in Zhytomyr (a room-museum of B. Lyatoshinsky has been opened at the school), streets in Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Lutsk, a music college in Kharkiv.

Memorial plaque to B. Lyatoshynskyi at the Rolit House of Writers in Kyiv (sculptor A. Bannikov, architect O. K. Stukalov)

Memorial plaque to B. Lyatoshynskyi at the Rolit House of Writers in Kyiv (sculptor A. Bannikov, architect O. K. Stukalov)
Music school named after Lyatoshinskyi in Zhytomyr

Music school named after Lyatoshinskyi in Zhytomyr
B. Lyatoshynskyi's museum room in music school No. 1 in Zhytomyr

B. Lyatoshynskyi's museum room in music school No. 1 in Zhytomyr

Characteristics of creativity

Dmytro Shostakovich wrote about Lyatoshinsky's music:
Borys Mykolayovych Lyatoshynskyi rightly occupies an important place in the history of Ukrainian Soviet music. Its formation and, above all, the development of the symphonic genre in Ukraine are largely connected with his name. "

Lyatoshynskyi's symphony is characterized by an increased richness of texture, drama, musical language, not deprived of modernist features (due to which he was accused of "formalism") and the influence of Mahler, Wagner fromon the one hand, and French impressionism and Slavic melodism on the other. Leonid Grabovsky names Liszt, Wagner, Borodin, Scriabin, Lysenko, Leontovich, Debussy, Stravinsky, Berg, Bartok, Szymanovsky among the composers whose music influenced Lyatoshinsky.

Lyatoshinskyi's authorial style went through several stages, from fascination with modernism to gradual simplification, "democratization" of the musical language in conditions of ideological pressure on the artist for his too bold authorial style (a clear example of this is the forced replacement of the tragic finale of the Third Symphony with a solemn and triumphant one).
Early period

His first works (in particular, string quartet op. 1, d-moll) reveal a significant influence of Kuchkist composers. These works are characterized by a moderate harmonic language (a clear chord structure and latotonal logic), a clear relief rhythm and a prominent melody.

The further period of B. Lyatoshnyskyi's work (or. 5-18) is characterized by growing self-absorption, the rush into the world of individual emotions with the color of romantic passeism. Such romances as "The Cursed Place" (on the words of F. Hebbel), "Suicide Flower" (H. Heine), "To the Cemetery" (I. Bunin), the cycle "Moon Shadows", "Reeds", "Underwater Plants" (K. Balmonta) and others, written around 1921, reveal the influence of "modernism" with its sharpened means of musical language, with a tendency towards nervous, tense rhythms, towards the transfer of the supporting functions of triads to a large septchord, nonachord and other complex harmonic consonances. In this sense, his piano sonata Op. 13, piano cycle "Reflections", op. 16, second piano sonata, op. 18, etc.
Mature period

Starting with the sonata for violin and piano op. 19, where the collisions of life clearly appear again, the composer slowly gets rid of the world of illusory images — his melody becomes more direct, the harmony simpler.

The creative reconstruction of the composer is especially vivid, starting with the overture on four Ukrainian themes, op. 20 (1926) for large orchestra. Here the clarification of his style is connected with the use of means of expressiveness of the folk song. This is even more noticeable in further works - in three pieces on the themes of Tajik folk songs for violin and piano, op. 25 and especially in the composer's first opera "The Golden Hoop" based on I. Franko's historical novel "Zakhar Berkut" (1929).

From exquisite, refined romances through the connection with the folk song, the composer came to create his Second Symphony (1935), in which the desire to give heroic images of the struggle that affirms life's ideals becomes fundamental. Lyatoshynskyi used Ukrainian folk songs in the opera Shchors even more widely than in "The Golden Hoop". At the same time, the opera is permeated with a thorough orchestral development, has an extensive system of leitmotifs. The overture, the symphonic battle scene from Act V and the final scene with the chorus stand out. The final number is marked by a tense orchestral deployment. The song "The Cossack is being carried" sounds in the choir with great tragic force.

The use of Ukrainian folk melos is observed in chamber-instrumental genres, in particular in Trio No. 2, Ukrainian Quintet, String Quartet No. 4, Suite for String Quartet on Ukrainian folk themes.

The great musical heritage of B. M. Lyatoshynskyi is a golden fund of Ukrainian music. The symphony orchestra of State Television and Radio (National Radio Company of Ukraine) under the leadership of People's Artist of Ukraine Vadym Hnyedash was the first interpreter of the works of B. M. Lyatoshynskyi. His symphonies, symphonic poems, choral, chamber and vocal works have been recorded in the fund of Ukrainian radio and constitute the golden reserve of Ukrainian art.
Pedagogical activity

Borys Lyatoshynsky devoted a significant part of his life to pedagogical activities. Among Lyatoshynskyi's students are famous Ukrainian composers: Leonid Grabovskyi, Lesya Dychko, Ivan Karabyts, Mykola Poloz, Valery Polovyi, Valentin Sylvestrov, Volodymyr Zahortsev, Yevhen Stankovych, Igor Shamo, Heorhiy Miretskyi, who brought the Ukrainian school of composers to the world horizons.

According to F. Aerova's recollections, "B. Lyatoshinsky was very attentive to students, tried to reveal the individuality of each one, evaluated his successes with benevolence and, at the same time, strict demands." The students were captivated by "...the deep content and social significance of his works, the great skill of realizing artistic ideas, encyclopedic knowledge, breadth of interests, honesty in the characterization of phenomena and, along with that, simplicity and friendliness in communication...".
Creative contribution
Jubilee coin for the 110th anniversary of the birth of B. Lyatoshinskyi
Tombstone of Borys Lyatoshynskyi at Baikovo cemetery in Kyiv
Memorial plaque to Boris Lyatoshynskyi in the premises of the Kyiv Conservatory.


"The Golden Hoop" (based on Ivan Franko's novel "Zakhar Berkut", 1929),
"Schors" ("Commander", libr. I. Kocherga and M. Rylskyi, 1937)

for choir and orchestra:

Solemn Cantata (words by M. Rylsky, 1939),
"Testament" (words by T. Shevchenko. 1939);

For symphony orchestra

5 symphonies
No. 1 (1918-19, 2nd ed. 1967),
No2 (1935-36. 2nd ed. 1940),
No. 3 (1950, 2nd ed. 1954),
No. 4 (1964),
No. 5 "Slavyanska" (1965-66)
suites, overtures, symphonic poems
from music for films (1931-32), from music for the film "Taras Shevchenko" (1952),
from the music for the tragedy by U. Shakespeare "Romeo and Juliet" (1955),
Polish Suite (1961),
Ballad "Grazhina" for symphony orchestra (1955),
Slavic Suite (1966),
Overture for four Ukrainians. born themes (1926),
Slavic Overture (1961),
Solemn Overture (1968),
Poem of Reunification (1949—1950),
The poem "On the banks of the Vistula" (1958),
Lyrical poem in memory of R. Glier (1964),
Fantastic March (1920)

For piano and orchestra: "Slavic Concert" (1953),

for brass band

The solemn march of the 99th Rifle Division — the glorious winner and drummer of the First All-Ukrainian Music Olympiad (1931),
2 derivative marches (1932, 1936);

for voice with orchestra

Three Romances (words by ancient Chinese poets, 1925),
Two romances (words by O. Pushkin, K. Ryleeva, 1951);

for voice and chamber-instrumental ensemble

Two romances (words by K. Balmont, 1923);

Chamber and instrumental ensembles

For woodwind quartet — Suite (1944), Three Pieces (1939);
2 piano trios (1922, 1942),
4 string quartets (1915, 1922, 1928, 1943),
Suite for quartet in Ukrainian. born themes (1944),
Ukrainian Quintet (1942, 2nd ed. 1945);
for violin and piano — Sonata (1926), Three pieces in Tajik language. Themes (1932);
for cello and piano — 2 mazurkas per pole. born Themes (1953);
for viola and piano - Nocturne and Schercino (1964);

For piano

2 sonatas (1924, 1925),
7 plays — "Reflection" (1925), Ballad (1928), Suite.
2 preludes (1942),
5 preludes (1943),
Concert etude, rondo (1962), etc.;

choirs — * to the words of I.Frank (1941),

to the words of T. Shevchenko ("The water flows into the blue sea", "The sun rises from behind the grove", 1949-51; "Behind the banner of the banner", "Over the Dnieper Saga", "She walked in the forest", 1960),
to the words of O. Pushkin (cycle "Seasons", 1949, 1952, "The moon will float in the sky"),
on the words of A. Fet (1961),
on the words of M. Rylskyi
5 choirs op.64 (1964),
4 choirs op.65 (1964)
to the words of various poets (cycle "From the past", 1966), etc.;


to the words of various poets (5 — 1922; 3 — 1922; "Moon Shadows", 1923, etc.),
to the words of P. Shelley (1923), M. Maeterlinck (1923), O. Pushkin (1936), I. Franko (1940), L. Pervomaiskyi (1940), V. Sausyura (1942), A. Mickiewicz (1955) etc.

arrangements of Ukrainian folk songs — * for voice with piano (2 — 1934; 10 — 1937; 15 — 1941; 5 — 1941 and others),

for unaccompanied choir (1942);

Music for theater and cinema

music for 6 theater performances (1932-57, in particular "In the Forest" by Lesia Ukrainka, "Romeo and Juliet" by U. Shakespeare),
up to 14 feature films (1932-60), in particular:
"Carmelyuk" (1931, directed by F. Lopatynskyi)
"Ivan" (1932, directed by O. Dovzhenko)
"Love" (1933, directed by O. Ulytska, O. Gavronsky)
"Crystal Palace" (1934, directed by H. Gricher)
"The Red Shawl" (1934, directed by L. Frankel)
"Novels about pilot heroes" (1938, directed by O. Umanskyi)
"Liberation" (1940, directed by O. Dovzhenko, Yu. Solntseva)
"Taras Shevchenko" (1951, directed by I. Savchenko)
"Flame of Anger" (1955, directed by T. Levchuk)
"Bloody Dawn" (1956, directed by Oleksiy Shvachko)
"Ivan Franko" (1956, directed by T. Levchuk) ‎
Grigory Skovoroda (1960, directed by I. Kavaleridze)‎
"Flying Ship" (1960, directed by M. Yuferov)
"Prostitute" (1961, directed by I. Kavaleridze)

instrumentation of other authors' works

operas - "Aeneid", "Taras Bulba" (the latter - together with L. Revutsky),
2 polonaises and Marsha M. Lysenko,
completion and instrumentation of R. Glier's Violin Concerto


gramophone records - * "About Bohun" from the opera "Schors"
M. Donets. — 1939. — 8685;

Arr. Ukrainian folk songs "Oh long ago, long ago": B. Rudenko, L. Rzhetska (piano). — 1951. — 19918;
"Dreary time, eye charm", words of O. Pushkin: State Government. choir. chapel of the Ukrainian SSR "Trembita", artist. driver — P. Muravskyi. — 1957. — 28130;
The finale of the opera "Schors": Choir. capella and symphony orc Ukraine radio, conductor — K. Simeonov. — 1959. — 0033718;
"Slavic concert" for piano with orchestra: T. Nikolayeva (piano), State. symphony orc Ukraine radio, conductor — B. Lyatoshynskyi. — 1957. — D—3634-35;
Symphony No. 3 in B minor, op. 50: Govt. symphony orc Ukrainian SSR, conductor — B. Lyatoshynskyi. — 1960. — D—06079—80;
"Grazhina": Symph. poem, op. 58; "On the banks of the Vistula": Symph. poem, op. 59: Govt. symphony orc Ukrainian SSR, conductor — B. Lyatoshynskyi. — 1960. — D—6457-58;
"Water flows into the blue sea", words of T. Shevchenko: State Government. choir. Chapel of the Ukrainian SSR "Thought", artist. driver — O. Soroka. — 1964. — D-13807-08;
Fragments from the opera "Schors". Shchors — P. Karmalyuk, Liya — T. Vynnychenko, Hryts — V. Boryshchenko: Choir. capella and symphony orc Ukraine radio, conductor — K. Simeonov. — 1967. — D—019085—86;
Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, op. 63: Great Symph. orchestra, conductor — H. Rozhdestvenskyi. — 1968. — D—021817-18;
Symphony No. 5 in C major, op. 67 "Slavyanska": Velikiy, symphony. orchestra, conductor — H. Rozhdestvenskyi. — 1969. — D-25205-06;
Overture on four Ukrainian themes: Symph. orc Ukraine radio, conductor — L. Balabaichenko. — 1969. —D—25875—76;
"Ukrainian Quintet", op. 42: E. Rzhanov (fortpiano) and Quartet named after M. Lysenko. — 1971. — D—029807-08;
Symphony No. 1, op. 2; "Slavic Overture", op. 61: Symph. orc Ukraine radio and TV, conductor — V. Hnedash. — 1974. — C10-05197-98;
Sonata No. 2 (Sonata-ballade) for piano, op. 18; Four preludes, op. 44, Nos. 2-4; Or. 38, No. 3; "Reflection", op. 16: E. Rzhanov (piano). — 1975. — C10-06521-22;
Quartet for 2 strings, viola and cello in A major, op. 4: Quartet named after M. Lysenko. — 1976. — C10-06645-46;
Sonata for Skr. and piano, op. 19: A. Marjanyan (violin), I. Tsarevich (piano). — 1976. — C10-08059-60;
Symphony No. 3 in B minor, op. 50: Govt. symphony orc Ukrainian SSR, conductor — S. Turchak. — 1980. — S10-14265-66.

CD — * "Borys Lyatoshynsky, Vol. 2
Complete piano S" — TNC CD H1430/ tnc recordings, USA;

"Boris Lyatoshynskyi: Works for piano. Performed by Boris Demenko." — TVE-025-02. — 2005, NRU.


Borys Lyatoshinsky. Memories letters Materials. In the 2nd part of Sost. L. Hrytsenko and N. Matusevich, introduction. Art. I. Belzy, K., 1985; (Russian)
Borys Nikolaevich Lyatoshinsky. Sat. Art. Const. M. Kapitsa, K., 1987; (Russian)

Perpetuation of memory

In Ukraine, the state award named after Borys Lyatoshynskyi was established.

There is a street in Kyiv named after the composer.

2024 © Opera World
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram