Victoria Polevá: No man is an Island

April 2, 2022 / ISCM

Ukrainian composer Victoria Polevá (born 1962 in Kiev) has been stylistically identified with “sacred minimalism” whose most famous practitioners include Arvo Pärt, Peteris Vasks, John Tavener, and Henryk Gorecki since the late 1990s. An important period in Victoria Polevá’s creative work is related to intensive studies and embodiment of texts from divine services. The daughter of composer Valery Polevoy (1927–1986) and a 1989 graduate of Kiev Conservatory (in the composition class of Prof. Ivan Karabyts) where she later completed her post-graduate studies in 1995 under Prof. Levko Kolodub, Polevá’s earlier works were related to the aesthetics of the avant-garde and polystylism (e.g. the ballet Gagaku, Transform for symphony orchestra, Anthem for chamber orchestra, and Еpiphany for chamber ensemble, as well as the cantatas Horace’s Ode, and Gentle Light). Victoria Polevá’s compositions have been performed at the Beethovenfest Bonn (Germany), the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival (Austria), the Yuri Bashmet Festival in Minsk (Belarus), the Valery Gergiev Easter Festival in Moscow (Russia), Chamber Music Connects the World (Kronberg, Germany), the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, the Philharmonie Berlin, the Köln Philharmonie (Germany), the Theatre de Chatelet in Paris (France), the Rudolfinum-Dvorak Hall in Prague (Czech Republic), the Auditorio Nacional de España in Madrid (Spain), the George Weston Recital Hall in Toronto (Canada), the Yerba Buena Theater in San Francisco (United States), the Oriental Art Center in Shanghai (China), the Seoul Art Center (South Korea), the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore, and at festivals of new music in Ukraine, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Peru and Chile. In 2013 Kronos Quartet gave the world premiere of her Walking on Waters. Since 2006, the Swiss agency Sordino Ediziuns Musicalas has been publishing her works.

Victoria Polevá’s No Man is an Island is a chamber cantata based on a text by the English poet John Donne for soprano, piano and strings composed in 2006. Polevá subsequently created a version of this work for soprano and piano in 2008. Below we feature a live performance of the original version by Tamara Khodakova (soprano) and The National Ensemble of soloists «Kyivska kamerata» conducted by Valeriy Matiukhin.




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