Have we forgotten Ukraine?
Not if I have anything to do with it.
I’ve been listening to the violin sonatas of Valentin Bibik, a much-neglected composer who spent much of his career teaching at the Conservatoire in Kharkiv, a marginal figure in a borderline country. In the 1990s he moved to St Petersburg, then to Israel, where he obtained a post at the Tel Aviv conservatory, was named composer of the year in 2001 and died very soon after, aged 62. By accident, he had a foot in each of our current wars.
His sonatas, composed or revised in the 1990s, reflect a world in transition and a composer who cannot decide which part of it to cling to – the Soviet past, the turbulent present, or a post-modern future. Draw a line from late Shostakovich to mid-Lutoslawski and you’ll grasp the musical idiom. But add a trace of Pärt and Gorecki and a larger picture emerges.
This is fascinating music, compellingly played by violinist Annabelle Bertholmé-Renolds and pianist Luka Okros. We need to hear more of Bibik. He sounds completely of this moment.
Enjoying The Critic online? It's even better in print
Try five issues of Britain’s newest magazine for £10Subscribe