Maxim Berezovsky, dubbed the ‘Ukrainian Mozart’, wrote his Symphony in C major in 1770–1772. This work was long considered lost. After it was rediscovered in the Vatican’s archives at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it was soon hailed as the ‘first Russian symphony’, since from 1759 Berezovsky sang with the Italian opera troupe in Oranienbaum. This composition is an eminent example of just how advanced Ukrainian musical practice was in the eighteenth century, while at the same time manifesting tsarist Russia’s imperialist ambitions, including in the domain of culture.
Yevhen Stankovich, in his Second ‘Dramatic’ Symphony, from 1975, presented a mature and unusual vision of heroism. We find here both militaristic rhythms and restless sonorities characteristic of Borys Lyatoshynsky, as well as lyrical cantilena phrases that skilfully transpose the legacy of eighteenth-century Ukrainian music, including the music of Berezovsky, into contemporary realities.