Levko Revutsky

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Levko "Lev" Mykolajovych Revutskyi (Ukrainian: Левко́ Микола́йович Реву́цький; February 20, 1889 – March 30, 1977) was a Ukrainian composer, teacher, and activist. Amongst his students at the Lysenko Music Institute were the composers Arkady Filippenko and Valentin Silvestrov.


Early life and education

Levko Mykolayevych Revutsky was born on February 20, 1889 in Irzhavets, Pryluky County of the Poltava Governorate (presently in the Chernihiv Oblast) to a family of a trustee of a rural school. The parents of the future composer were well-educated. His music talent showed up very early and his mother began to teach young Revutsky to play the piano when he hardly was five years old. By age ten, he showed skill at improvisation and had perfect pitch, earning him the nickname "Tuning fork".

In 1903 his parents transferred Revutsky to Kiev's Val'ker gymnasium and simultaneously the music school of Mykola Tumanovsky where he studied fortepiano with Mykola Lysenko. Revutsky later recalled, "Lysenko became for me the first example of artistic ideals."

Graduating from the gymnasium in 1907, he entered the physic-mathematics faculty of Kiev University. In 1908, Revutsky also entered law school and at the same time renewed piano classes at the Kiev music college run by the Russian Music Society. He was greatly impressed by visits to Moscow and St. Petersburg where he attended the theatre and concerts.

In three years of studies in the premiere course of the school Revutsky had considerable successes. In 1911 he graduated to the higher level in the class of G. Hodorovsky. 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 Gliere's composition classes. He continued his university studies.

The first part of piano sonata (in C minor), sketches for the first symphony, and the prelude of opus four were created at this time. Revutsky graduated from both the university and conservatory in 1916, and went to fight in the First World War.

Post graduate work

Demobilized in 1918, Revutsky moved to Pryluky. In 1924 Revutsky was invited to Kiev to work as a teacher at the Lysenko Music-Drama Institute. From this time he gave himself to pedagogical work, initially as teacher, and then as professor of music-theory and performance and composition .

In the 1930s Revutsky had considerable achievements as a composer. In addition, he created his music-pedagogical systems. For hismerits 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 participated in 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 undertook the enormous task of editing and preparing Mykola Lysenko's works for publication. In February, 1969 in connection with his 80th birthday and for creative merit Levko Revutsky was awarded the rank of Hero of Socialist Labor. He died on March 30, 1977 in Kiev, and is buried in Baikove Cemetery.


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 concerto 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.


    • 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 sited at Revutsky homestead in Irzhavets of Ichnia district.

Honours and awards



  • Symphony No. 1 in A major opus 3 (1916–1921, revised 1957)
  • Symphony No. 2 in E major opus 12 (1926–1927, revised 1940 and 1970)
  • Kozachok (Ukrainian folk dance) for orchestra (1929)
  • Piano Concerto in F major (1929)


  • Piano Sonata Allegro in B minor opus 1 (1912)
  • Three Preludes for piano opus 4 (1914)
  • Seven Preludes for piano opus 7
  • Seven Preludes for piano opus 11 (1924)
  • Two Pieces for piano opus 17 (1929)

Vocal works

  • "The Whole Year" for soloists, chorus and piano (lyrics by Oleksandr Oles) opus 5 (1923)
  • Khustyna, cantata (lyrics T. Shevchenko) for soloists, chorus and piano (1923)
  • Sonechko, folksong-arrangements for voice and piano (1925)
  • Cossack-Songs, folksong-arrangements for voice and piano (1926)
  • Galician Songs, folksong-arrangements for voice and piano opus 14 (1926–1927)
  • Monologue of Taras Bulba for bass and orchestra (lyrics by Maksym Rylsky) (1936)
  • Festive Song for chorus and orchestra (Lyrics M. Rylsky) (1949)
  • Song-Ode, vocal-symphonic poem (1957)


Chamber music

  • Intermezzo for violin and piano
  • Sonata for cello
  • ballade for cello and piano (1933)
  • incidental music
  • film music

See also


  • Dytyniak Maria Ukrainian Composers - A Bio-bibliographic Guide - Research report No. 14, 1896, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, Canada.
  • Collected works in 11 volumes K. 1981-1988