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Ukrainian Sacred Monuments and New American Music: The Work of Virko Baley

Written by Robert Schulslaper
Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Composer/pianist Virko Baley, originally from Ukraine, has lived in Las Vegas for the past 40 years, first arriving in America in 1949. Although he didn’t dwell on the particulars, it can be presumed that his early childhood was, all too typically for the time, traumatically disrupted by world events. Having survived those years but still residing in depressing postwar surroundings, he nonetheless found his way to what would become his raison d’etre...

Read the full article in Fanfare Magazine...

The mysterious, atmospheric allusiveness at the heart of Virko Baley’s music is here expressively served by the bassoon’s unique timbre, so suggestive of forests and fairy tales. Kristen Wolfe Jensen expertly unites the varied facets of Baley’s Parables and Reflections (the CD title) into a consistent interpretative vision, from Treny-Laments II’s haunting depths, which later metamorphose into swift, but still deep, emotional waters; to the impetuous Scherzo I: Kozak Mamai , from Partita No. 2; the extended meditation of the Aria: Tears ; or the dreamy Tango (both from the partita). Baley has given her ample opportunity to showcase her virtuosity; she’s unfazed by rapid passages demanding agility and precision, she has mastered the Baroque technique of counterpointing melodious phrases with pedal tones, she alternates effortlessly between themes separated by register to create the illusion that a solo instrument can conduct a dialogue with itself, and she suavely overcomes the potential pitfalls that long-lined legato phrases pose for wind instrumentalists. Oboist Rebecca Henderson and pianist Baley, her adroit colleagues, bring a sustained intensity to …a trois, and pianist Michelle Schumann is an ideal accompanist whose sensitive, flexible, or tempestuous dexterity enlivens the Five Songs Without Words and the partita. Baley’s music displays the narrative coherence that naturally results from granting melody its rightful place in musical discourse, and he prolongs and develops his ideas skillfully, always conveying that sense of predestined order and elaboration that today we define as organic. Bassoonists, of course, should investigate immediately, but general listeners should find Baley’s music deeply lyrical and emotively powerful in equal measure.

Recommended. Robert Schulslaper

"I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the emotional depths of Virko Baley’s pieces on this CD. The vivid characters he creates, and the great passions he injects are unrivaled in the existing bassoon repertoire, contributing a riveting body of works for bassoonists and listeners alike, from the powerful and large Partita No. 2 (Dreamtime Suite No. 3), the emotionally riveting Treny-Laments II, the colorful “…a trois”, to the lyrical and varied Songs Without Words." — Kristin Wolfe Jensen

Click here for the CD details, with links to purchase the CD and immediate downloads >

This article was published on Feb 20, 2010.
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Oleh Krysa on Violin and Tatiana Tchekina on Piano - SALE!
Oleh Krysa on Violin and Tatiana Tchekina on Piano - SALE!
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