Tell about the peculiarities of playing the organ. How does it differ from a piano?
In fact, the difference is huge. The first is, let’s say, external. For example, several keyboards instead of one. Pedal keyboard. A completely different landing, because the point of support changes completely. The presence of an incredible number of registers. A completely different approach to performing a piece: on the piano, of course, you build the general plan and idea of the piece in your imagination, but you directly create it during the performance. That is, if you come to a new hall for a new instrument, then after 10 minutes of rehearsals you can play a whole concert.
On the organ, everything must be “programmed” in advance. On which manual (i.e. keyboard) will you play this or that fragment. What will be the registration. How it will change during the work. Such preparation requires a lot of time and is exhausting. Therefore, organists usually arrive at least a day or even several days before the concert.
And the second important difference between the organ and the piano: these are means of expression. This is probably the most difficult thing when switching from one instrument to another. Many things that are done by dynamics (i.e., volume) on the piano, can be done on the organ with just touch (i.e., the duration of the note) and agogic (i.e., small changes in tempo). These things are very subtle, but only by learning to master them can you become a good organist.
How many organs have you played? Which instruments do you like the most? What is special about the organ of the Lviv Organ Hall?
Organs in general are very different from each other, and among other things, the tract, that is, the way the keys are connected to the pipes, is of great importance. The oldest type is a mechanical tract, that is, when the key is directly connected to the pipe valve by means of various levers. It is considered the best, because it gives the most control over the sound.
However, playing such instruments often requires considerable physical effort, because the keyboard on them is very heavy. This type of connection cannot be used on all organs: if the instrument is very large, it is impossible to arrange all the pipes in such a way as to connect them directly to the keyboards. Then other types of connections are used. For example, in the Lviv organ hall it is an electro-pneumatic tract. The keyboard here is very easy and requires a completely different playing technique. Quickly adapting to different types of keyboards is a separate challenge for organists.
In addition to Lviv, I played the organ in Rivne, Lutsk, Chernivtsi, Zolochiv, Odesa. She played abroad in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, and Poland. I was incredibly impressed by the oldest preserved Renaissance organ in the city of Olkus – playing it requires separate specialized training, so different is it from modern instruments.
Each organ has its highlights. Instruments made in the baroque style are distinguished by clarity and harmony of sound, while romantic instruments are characterized by scale and variety of colors. In the Lviv Organ Hall, I am most impressed by this huge palette of timbres that can be used to “color” works.
Not only music
You blog on the website of the Lviv Organ Hall. How did you start writing? Do you have it naturally?
I wrote a little at school. I always found the process difficult, but I liked the result. I can’t say that anything has changed now. I like to communicate with the audience. I want to express my thoughts. Ideas often come to me somewhere on the road, they gradually form into sentences.
Do these lyrics help tune in to the music?
So. A person who is not connected to art has nothing to cling to. There are people who perceive the emotional side of music well. And there are those that need to be adjusted. And when you talk a little about the works, the listener perceives the music in a completely different way.
I also have an interesting experience in public speaking and with the public. For a very long time, it was difficult for me to name the work that I will perform now, even in a banal way.
Everything began to change in the 3rd-4th year of the academy. We have such a cafe-gallery “Stuka”. It is a very intimate space that can accommodate up to 30 people. I started being invited to play chamber concerts there. And I was very impressed that people far from classical music usually come to the coffee shop. And here – coffee, cake, they are relaxed, friendly.
It was an extraordinary chance: it was possible to introduce these people to classical music for the first time. At those concerts, for the first time, I started talking about works, about composers. You speak to the audience, see their eyes, their reaction, and then sit down at the instrument and continue to speak to them through music. It was an extremely valuable experience.
I want to talk about the things that fill your life besides music. You have many different hobbies: horses, bachata, travel, various projects at the intersection of arts.
A lot of everything. Now, bachata is of great importance in his life. This is an improvisational dance where you are always in the moment. You do not know what will happen in the next moment, where they will lead you. It is very similar to playing in an ensemble – only with the help of rapturous listening to each other and instant reaction to ideas, which can be slightly different every time, is real interaction and co-creation possible. In fact, there is much more improvisation in music than it seems. So I get real pleasure from improvisation and interaction in bachata.
I love mountains very much. They are beautiful at any time of the year.
Traveling for me is about getting to know the world. Meeting with people who have different life experiences, different views, you expand your horizons and you can understand the music of composers from different countries. And even travel impressions are what we can enrich the music with later. How to convey the dawn in the music of Debussy, if you did not sit on the seashore, did not climb the Alps and did not meet the sun among the snow?