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Levko Revutsky

Levko Mykolayevich Revutsky (Левко Миколайович Ревуцький) was born on February 20, 1889 and died March 30, 1977. He was a renowned 20th-century Ukrainian composer who pioneered the piano sonata, a teacher, and a public figure. One of his students at the Lysenko Music Institute was composer Arkady Filippenko.


Levko Mykolayevich Revutsky was born on February, 20, 1889 in Irzhavets, Pryluky district of the Poltava province (presently — the Chernihiv region) to a family of a trustee of a rural school.

Early music education

The parents of the future composer not only were well-educated, intellectuals, but loved music very much. This undoubtedly influenced on the boys musical awakening and his early development. His music talent showed up very early. His mother began to teach a son playing piano, when he hardly was five years old. However, his real attraction to music appeared considerably later. When the Levko was ten years old, he has revealed the skill to improvise . He had an absolute pitch, that’s why his nickname was "Tuning fork".

Formal music education

The years of high school studies in gymnasium began in Pryluky. In 1903 his parents decided to transfer Lev to the Val'ker Kiev private high school. Soon he enters the Tumanovsky music school to the piano class of Mykola Lysenko. «Lysenko was the first, who became for me the sample of attitude toward the artistic deal», — remembered Revutsky later.

Having gradiuated from the gymnasium in 1907, he entered the physic-mathematics faculty of the Kiev University. In 1908, Revutsky also enters law school and at the same time renews the piano classes at the Kiev music college run by the Russian Music Society. Concerned with music six, seven, even eight hours a day, I had learned a lot. However I had understood later that in my occupation was a defect: I often read playworks of music, which I haven't had to read and in this works I did not reach the desired level of perfection. But there were some successes", - he wrote about these times.

Indelible impressions remained of his trip to Moscow and Petersburg where he attended the theatre and concerts. All this created within Levko Revutsky a stronger desire to work in the field of music.

In three years of studies in the premiere course of the school Levko reached considerable successes. In 1911 he fraduated to the higher level in the G. Hodorovsky's class. Revutsky’s studies in the class of this master lasted a few years: from 1911 to 1913 year in musical school, and afterwards — in the newly opened Kiev conservatory. In the conservatory, Revutsky simultaneously with his piano studies begins to visit R. Gliere's composition classes. He did not abandon his university studies.

The first part of piano sonata (с-moll), first symphony, in sketches, prelude of opus four were created at this time. The First World War brought corrections in the smooth and measured course of events. Revutsky quickly graduated from both the university and conservatory in 1916, and afterwards – leaves for the front.

Post graduate work

Demobilized in 1918, Revutsky moves to Pryluky. In 1924 Revutsky was invited to Kiev to work as a teacher to the Lysenko Music-Drama Institute. From this time he selflessly gave himself to pedagogical work,initially as teacher, and then as professor of music-theory and performance and composition . In the 1930's Revutsky had considerable achievements as a composer. In addition, he had time to form his music-pedagogical principle. For considerable merits in the field of culture Revutsky received the title of People's Artist of Ukraine in 1942, and in 1944 — People's Artist of USSR. In the post-war period he embarks on a renewal of artistic-cultural life of the Republic. During 1944-1948 years Revutsky headed the Composers Union of Ukraine. Revutsky was also elected by the deputy of Supreme Soviet of Ukraine to a number of convocations.

In 1950 he undertakes the enormous task of editing and preparation Mykola Lysenko's works for publication. In February, 1969 in connection with hic 80–th birthday and for prominent creative merits Levko Revutsky was awarded the rank of Hero of Socialist Labor. He died on March 30, 1977, buried in Baikovo cemetery in Kiev.


Levko Revutsky's creative activity was the one of monumental achievements in Ukrainian culture. He has entered its history as prominent composer, teacher, community activist. In each of these fields he left a special, unique and meaningful legacy. The creative inheritance of Revutsky was the continuation of his predecessors - Lysenko, Kyrylo Stetsenko, Mykola Leontovych, Yakiv Stepovyy. Professionalism, expression of national character in his creative activities, honesty and devotion made him an original, unique phenomenon in the Ukrainian culture. His deferential attitude toward labor, respect to the people, his willingness to help, to share the pain and triumph were inherent in his personality. «Upbringing, from my parents, demonstrated the democratic values grafted onto me from young age, and underlay my world view. They always were a handhold in my life and helped me to tide various difficulties or contradictions, into what was necessary». The creative legacy of Levko Revutsky is the original legacy in the world of national music, specifically selected from the general background of artistic culture by the unique harmonic beauty. Unsurpassed melodic standards (in particular, in «Song», cantata-poem «Shawl», row of songs for choir, his Concerto № 2 for piano with the orchestra) due to an original combination of individual vivid approach with intonation-harmonical and rhythmic facilities of folk lyric songs and thoughts, and laments. Unexcelled aspiration to show his own art at a level of the best European and world classics standards, distinguish the creative handwriting of a great master in all his undertakings. His creation is a deep re-comprehension, successive claim of artistic ideals. The prosecution of folk song in an eventual result opened the extraordinarily wide and complete picture of folk life in general, with the traditions, faith, aspirations. Revutsky in new historical terms repeated what Mykola Lysenko did, — He organically put together folk and professional music.

Levko Revutsky further developed the methods of Lysenko and Leontovych. He enriched Ukrainian music with his individual stylistic discoveries. The composer's style of Revutsky was formed on the basis of deep and comprehensive understanding of Ukrainian folk melody and traditions of modern professional music. Life-asserting attitude, lyricism, restraint, breadth and riches of emotions, are inherent in the works of this artist. His measured, expressive melody unites with the saturated, difficult harmony. Revutsky exposed reality and in lyrical-dramatic, and in lyrical-epic keys.

His works belong to the treasury of Ukrainian classics (The second symphony and piano concert are the first considerable works of these genres in Ukrainian music). Revutsky made a considerable contribution to the development of genre folk songs arrangements. There are about 120 original such arrangements in his creative inheritance. Life and the creative activity of Revutsky can be an example of service to the Motherland and its people for many generations.


  • I attach serious significance to the ethics-moral face of an artist… I do not separate aesthetics from ethics. /**L. Revutsky.**/
  • Levko Mykolaevich Revutsky is for sure one of the most prominent figures at the musical front of Soviet Ukraine… The creative prosecution of the richest song material of Ukraine exposed Revutsky as a large master, whose taste provided him into treatments of high artistic level and mass fully deserved popularity, which goes out far outside Ukraine… /**B.Liatoshinsky.**/

“Sonechko” regional child creative activity holiday is sainted at Revutsky homestead in Irzhavets of Ichnia district..


• Piano Sonata Allegro in B minor opus 1 (1912)

• Symphony No. 1 in A major opus 3 (1916-1921) (revised 1957) LP Melodiya D 027543-4: Ukrainian State Orchestra, V. Kozhukhar

• Seven Preludes for piano opus 4 (1914)

• "The Whole Year" for soloists, chorus and piano (lyrics O. Oles) opus 5 (1923)

• Seven Preludes for piano opus 7

• Khustyna, cantata (lyrics T. Shevchenko) for soloists, chorus and piano (1923)

LP Melodiya D 3692-3: Ukrainian State Orchestra & Chorus, Klymov (cond), D. Petrynenko (soprano), N. Fokin (tenor)

• Seven Preludes for piano opus 11 (1924)

• Sonechko, folksong-arrangements for voice and piano (1925)

• Cossack-Songs, folksong-arrangements for voice and piano (1926)

• Symphony No. 2 in E major opus 12 (1926-1927) (revised in 1940 and 1970)

LP Melodiya D 02193-4: Ukrainian State Orchestra, Rakhlin

LP Melodiya CM 04155: Ukrainian SSR State Merited SO, V. Kozukhar

• Galician Songs, folksong-arrangements for voice and piano opus 14 (1926-1927)

• Kozachok (Ukrainian folk dance) for orchestra (1929)

• Piano Concerto in F major (1929)

LP Melodiya D 24559-60: Ukrainian State Orchestra, V. Kozhukhar (cond), E. Rhzanov (piano)

LP Melodiya C10 28549: Ukrainian SSR State Orchestra, Y. Nikonenko (cond), E. Rhzanov (piano)

• Two Pieces for piano opus 17 (1929)

• Monologue of Taras Bulba for bass and orchestra (Lyrics M. Rylsky) (1936)

LP Melodiya D 5646-7: B. Hmyria (bass)

• Festive Song for chorus and orchestra (Lyrics M. Rylsky) (1949) • Song-Ode, vocal-symphonic poem (1957)

• Orchestration of the M. Lysenko's opera "Taras Bulba" (with B. Liatoshinsky)

And furthermore:

• folksong-arrangements for chorus and soloists

• works for piano

• chamber music

• incidental music

• film music

• piano Concerto no. 2

• Intermezzo

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