Ukrainian classical guitarist Grygorii Koval plays Serenade by Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina (b.1931). This comes via Guitar Salon International and their YouTube channel. Koval, who is studying for doctorate at USC, also put together this fundraiser for nine young guitar students still in Vinnytsia, Ukraine which you can see and/or support via the GSI blog. The students study with Koval’s mentor Prof. Sergii Selesnov at the Vinnytsia College of Culture and Arts. Selesnov has stated, “At this difficult moment they do not have any motivation to make music, to practice guitar.” He has remained in the Ukraine.
The Serenade and Toccata were included in a 1971 edition of guitar works of Soviet composers by the publisher Muzyka. The Serenade, which was republished by Matanya Ophee in his Editions Orphée series, was meant to be relatively easy to play, and has been described by the composer as ‘music for pleasure’. It has a searching, improvisatory character, and it explores the full range of the instrument, from its bottom note to the top. It has gone on to be played and recorded many times. By contrast, the Toccata, recorded here for the first time and almost unknown, is more virtuosic; it has a driving momentum that hardly stops. As in the Serenade, it explores the full range of the guitar.