Shevchenko’s political lyrics introduced an entirely new dimension into song. A prime example was “My Testament” followed by “With Stark injustice all around” (excerpt from the poem “The Heretic”) and others. Both express an active call to battle.
Once they entered the folk repertoire, songs based on Shevchenko’s lyrics developed of life of their own. They have been popularized by both amateur musicians and professional composers.
Some of Shevchenko’s poems became songs in his own lifetime. Among them are "Tyazhko-vazhko v sviti zhyty", “Nazho meni chorni brovy”, “Such is Her Fate” (excerpt from the poem “Bewitched”). In 1860, the poem “Thoughts of Mine” was set to music by O.Rubets. In 1868, music for “My Testament” was composed by Mykola Lysenko. Later, “My Testament” was set to music by M.Verbytsky, H.Hladky, K.Stetsenko and others.
More than eighty songs, based on the lyrics of Shevchenko, were composed by Mykola Lysenko. This tradition was followed Konstantyn Stetsenko (“Evening”, “The Eagle Soars, the Grey One Soars”), Yakiv Stepovy (“Thoughts of Mine”, “O My Beauteous Star of Evening”, “The Wind Blows, Speaking With the Grove”), Stanyslav Lyudkevych, (“The Sun Sets”), Vladyslav Zaremba, (What do my black hairs avail me”, “I am Rich and Beautiful”), Andrij Shtoharenko (“Shoes in Visions, Shine Entrancing...”), and others.
Facilitated by the efforts of subsequent generations of amateur and professional composers, to this day, Taras Shevchenko’s poetry continues to be incorporated into the popular repertoire.
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Such is Her Fate, Excerpt from the poem "Bewitched" (Taka ii Dolya), Music by V. Zaremba. Perfomed by
Anatoly Mokrenko and
Orchestra of Folk Instruments of the Ukrainian Television, Conductor
- Victor Hutsal, recorded in 1970.
"Bewitched" is one of the first published poems of Taras Shevchenko. He wrote it in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1838.
The Mighty Dnieper, Excerpt from the poem "Bewitched" (Reve ta Stogne Dnipr Shyrokyj), Music by I. Kryzhanivsky. Performed by the H. Maiboroda National Honoured Bandurist Capella of Ukraine.
Thoughts of Mine (Dumy Moi), Ukrainian Folk Song, arrangement by H. Maiboroda. Performed by Borys Hmyrya and State Bandurist Capella of Ukraine.
This poem was written by Taras Shevchenko in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1838.
An excerpt from the poem became a Ukrainian folk song.
My Testament (Zapovit), Music by Hordij Hladky (1870). Performed by The Honoured State Academic Capella of Ukraine "Trembita".
Shevchenko wrote this poem in Perejaslav, Ukraine on December 25, 1845, at the age of
Over 60 interpretations of "My Testament" exist. M. Lysenko, Y. Stepovy. Here the most well-known version is presented.
Bandura-Player, The Grey Eagle (Banduryste, Orle Syzyj), Ukrainian folk song, adapted by M. Hvozd, Performed by V. Didenko and The H. Maiboroda National Honoured Bandurist Capella of Ukraine.
O My Beautiful Evening Star, Excerpt from the poem "Princess" (Zore Moya Vechirnyaya), Music by Hordij Hladky. Performed by Borys Hmyrya and the Ukrainian Radio Folk Orchestra.
Shevchenko's poem "Princess", 1847, containes this prelude, which was put on music by the Ukrainian choir conductor, teacher and composer Hordij Hladky.
O My Beautiful Evening Star, Excerpt from the poem "Princess" (Zore Moya Vechirnyaya), Music by Oleh Kyva. Performed by Nina Matvienko.
O My Beautiful Evening Star, Excerpt from the poem "Princess" (Zore Moya Vechirnyaya), Music by Yakiv Stepovyj, arrangement by S. Kushnyruk. Performed by Bohdan Kosopud.
I Care Not (Meni Odnakovo), Music by Mykola Lysenko. Performed by Ivan Kozlovsky.
The Torches Flame, the Music Plays (Ohni Horiat', Muzyka Hrae), Music by Mykola Lysenko. Performed by Ivan Kozlovsky.
O Boisterous Wind (Vitre Bujnyj), Performed by The Cossak Choir of Kuban'.
Beside the Cottage Cherry Trees (Sadok Vyshnevyj Kolo Haty), Music by Mykola Lysenko. Performed by Valentyna Ivanenko.
Finale from the Cantata "Rejoice, O Desert Wilderness" (Raduysya, Nyvo Nepolytaya), Music by Mykola Lysenko (1883).
Entr'acte and Excerpt from Act 3 of Opera "Kateryna", Music by N. Arkas - based on the poem by Taras Shevchenko. Performed by
The Choir & Symphony Orchestra of the Kyiv Radio, Conductor - Konstantyn Symonenko, Kateryna - Lilia Lobanova.