08-03-2021 Music 164

Presentation of Olenka Matselyukh's monograph «Organ and sacred culture of the Czech Lands»

Presentation of Olenka Matselyukh's monograph «Organ and sacred culture of the Czech Lands»

From the editorial board of the Collegium musicum

Olenka Matseliukh's monograph "The Organ and Sacred Art of the Czech Republic" is a jubilee edition of the Collegium musicum, founded in Lviv in March 2001. 20 years ago, it began its publishing and educational activities with the publication of the book “Ira Malanyuk. The voice of the heart. Autobiography of the singer ”. It was printed by Lviv Atlas.

Olenka Matseliukh is well known in Ukraine and far beyond. The organist's tours are successfully held in Europe and the USA. Her repertoire is "Music of France of the 19th-20th centuries"; "Organ from Baroque to the present." In Eastern Europe, Olenka Matseliukh is considered one of the best interpreters of J.S. Bach's polyphony. She is the winner of 5 International competitions among organists and the owner of the GRAND PRIX "Les Étoiles de Versailles 2020".

Scientific works of MA O.V.Matseliukh is published in the bulletins of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Czech Republic, and the Russian Federation. Fragments of her work on the history of the Lviv Organ School were published on the pages of the most prestigious magazine "Diapason" (Chicago magazine of organists).

The topic "Organs in the Czech Republic" is part of a doctoral study by O.V. Matseliukh under the guidance of Professor of the University of Palacký in Olomouc Petr Plany.

Editor-in-Chief and founder of

Edition “Collegium musicum” -

composer and musicologist Bohdan Kotyuk

Introductory word from Professor Petr Planý

I am pleased to write a few words about this work of Ms. Olenka Matselyukh, a doctoral student at the Department of Music Education at the Faculty of Pedagogy of Palacký University in Olomouc, as I am honored to be the supervisor of her dissertation.

Olenka Matselyukh is one of the most prominent modern Ukrainian performers on the organ. Her concerts in Ukraine, Western Europe and America are received with great success and recognition. At the same time, its organizational and scientific activity is worthy of astonishment. I had the honor to take part in the unusually well-attended Organ Festivals, which Ms.Olenka conducts so well in Lviv, Chernivtsi, Rivne or Lutsk.

No exaggeration, but I came across a “Czech trail” everywhere. Starting with the Czech architect and philanthropist Josef Hlavko, who built the Armenian Church in Chernivtsi (today it is the House of Organ and Chamber Music of the Chernivtsi Philharmonic). I am pleased to remember the first bust of Hlavka in Chernivtsi and to inform Ukrainian friends that they are waiting for the same bust in the Plzen pub on Vodichkova Street in Prague, where we can visit to taste Plzen and Lviv beer. As an expert, I assure you: they are both famous. The Czech Footprint is, of course, marching with Riger-Kloss, a company that has made so many Ukrainian sacred and concert greetings. Here I am always pleasantly surprised by the public's desire and interest in organ compositions by Czech authors.

The sincere love, enthusiasm and professionalism with which Ms. Olenka Matselyukh set herself the difficult task: to acquaint Ukrainians and not only them with Czech organ literature from the sources to the compositions of our contemporaries - fills me with joy and expressions of gratitude. The same desire to bring the reader closer to the cultural and intellectual environment of the Czech Republic has the scientist Matselyukh, when he reveals the historical background of the emergence of rich organ literature and performing skills.

Separate sections provide a deeper understanding of organ culture in the Czech Republic, which is closely linked not only to the design of the organ, but also to the extraordinary beauty of sacred buildings, which is typical of Central Europe. Understanding the liturgical and spiritual significance of sacred music should serve as a spiritual dimension of human existence.

I believe that Olenka Matselyukh's work will attract the attention not only of fans of organ music, but also of all those who care about “unity in plurality – unitas multiplex”. After all, this European context is perfectly evident in both Czech and Ukrainian music culture.

In Olomouc, on January 9, 2021, Petr Plany

Time to collect stones

In the Tanakh (Old Testament) in King Solomon's Third Ecclesiastes, there is this worldview observation: "It is time to scatter stones, and it is time to gather stones."

"Scattering stones" is a kind of action in a person's life, which very often has an essence not fully understood by the "scatterer". You could write your next Curriculum Vitae again. You won’t even keep count of how many of them I have already written in my life. But this time, even for myself, I want to comprehend what it means for me to "scatter stones"?

These were the years of searching for a way of life, a profession; searching for a favorite thing that nothing would ever stop me from doing. The first step was the piano and together with it practicing for 5-7 hours [daily] I spent the first 30 years of my life.

"Stone scattering" took place in different directions: solo concerts and work with vocalists, ensemble music and parts in the orchestra. At some point I realized that I did not have enough of these "piano stones" and I took up another instrument - the harpsichord. Piano and harpsichord are two different edifices, stones for their construction are found in different eras. Of course, the very technique of mastering is a separate "drawing". In order to understand the stylistic difference and learn the depths of expressive possibilities, I dedicated 3 years of studies in the master's program at Hrinchenko University in Kyiv.

But the ruins of Lviv organs of the post-communist era, with their groans and cries, called my soul to themselves more and more. I started my dream to "resurrect" this "scattered" stone 15 years ago. And 5 years ago the Second phrase of Ecclesiastes' worldview came into force for me. I understood - these "stones" need to be collected. Surprisingly, the help came unexpectedly from the Czech consulate. So I started working on my doctoral dissertation at one of the oldest universities in Europe in Olomouc (Czech Republic) under the guidance of Professor Petr Plany.

The doctoral dissertation is ready for presentation. But beyond this rather large (340 pages) English-language research work in the field of the sacred in organ art, there were simply enchanting personal impressions of the material and spiritual culture of the Czechs, which was virtually unknown to Ukrainian professional musicians.

Historical events in the evolution of the Christian religion in the Czech lands, the embodiment of sacred and high thoughts and spiritual wealth of the Czech people in the monuments of organ construction and spiritual music for the organ along with acquaintance with prominent personalities and music creators formed the basis of a completely unpredictable monograph “The Organ and the Sacred Culture of the Czech Republic ".


The German philosopher, the father of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, believed that intention or intentionality is not only an experience endowed with meaning or aimed at the perception of something, but also the identification and analogy of the human mind with what it is focused on at the moment. From this point of view, the author of the monograph approached the evolutionary process of formation and development of organ art in the Czech Lands. The intentionality of the scientist in this case was aimed at revealing the category of the sacred, which is the driving force in the whole cultural and educational process within the European Christian civilization.

The very title of the monograph reveals the duality that underlies the study. On the one hand, it is an organ as the most perfect musical instrument, which has incomparably higher artistic possibilities in comparison with other musical instruments, and on the other hand, it is a culture built on high moral, ethical and aesthetic ideals, a culture of the Czech people, not very populous, but a bright representative of European civilization.

The Four Chapters of the monograph give an idea of the changing social and religious status of the Czech community for almost a millennium. The monograph pays special attention to the visual and material manifestations of spirituality, which have been preserved as fixed monuments of architecture and organ building. For the first time in Ukrainian musicology, this monograph presents a wide range of activities of Catholic religious orders. The rather voluminous table of sacred Christian buildings in the Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia is the result of an analytical comparison between the historical, religious, architectural, artistic and organ-building layers of Czech culture.

The entire Second Chapter is devoted to the theory and practice of organ building in the Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. Most of the personalities considered in this section are representatives of the indigenous population, who, due to their religious beliefs and artistic commitment, have grown from master carpenters to inventors-organists.

The Third Chapter of the monograph breaks the chronology of the creative achievements of Czech organ music. Conventionally, the theme of influences on artists of the cultural environment touches on various aspects of religious, educational, dynastic, aesthetic, philosophical and musicological plan. This section examines the work of almost fifty Czech composers who have composed music for the organ over the past four centuries. All of them, more or less well-known, representatives of Czech musical culture are united by religiosity, which is mainly based on the Christian worldview. Thus, the word “sacred” can be somewhat mistaken for believing in the Savior and the work of Jesus Christ. However, among Czech composers (as eventually happened in the culture of other nations) there are different denominations and historical stages in the development of the Christian faith. These certain deviations have been interpreted as “secularism”.

The Fourth Chapter of the monograph is entirely devoted to the compositional, pedagogical and performing activities of Petr Eben. This most famous among modern Czech masters with equal commitment addressed both the subject of the New and Old Testaments. The Jewish roots on the paternal side, combined with the Catholic upbringing of the mother, became an ecumenical symbol of the inseparable unity of biblical postulates and their leading role in the evolution of organ art.

The monograph “The Organ and Sacred Culture of the Czech Lands” is a separate study. This idea appeared while the author spent five years of doctoral studies in Palacký University in Moravian Olomouc. Of course, the theme of sacredness, which underlies the writing of a doctoral dissertation, was revealed in this monograph. During her doctoral studies, the author had the opportunity to get acquainted with Czech culture, churches, organ music and unique Czech organs. The whole process of learning about this cultural environment was led by Professor Petr Planý.

Our communication with the professor about the category of sacredness in music was not always within the official framework. A slight hint of this can be felt even in the very introduction to the monograph written by the professor. The invitation to a glass of beer had only a deep hidden meaning, because the professor and I came to a common conclusion with all the depth and content of the topic, which is revealed in the doctoral dissertation: “It is better to have a discussion on Sunday afternoons about the High Meaning of Holiness in Organ Music and Sacredness in the Works of Composers sitting in a favorite pub with a mug of good beer, than to humbly with feigned piety attend the church service always returning to your favorite pub in your mind”.

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