08 Oct Harmonium
M. Leontovych became acquainted with this musical instrument as soon as he entered Kamianets-Podilskyi Seminary. Podilskyi Theological Seminary at the end of the 19th century also had a harmonium, as evidenced by the mentions of its former students published in 1982 by musicologist Volodymyr Ivanov in a collection «Mykola Leontovych. Memories, letters, materials».
Thus, Ivan Hodzishevskyi reported that in the years 1896-1898 the harmonium was in the assembly hall of the main building of the so-called Grand Seminary (now one of the buildings of the Podilskyi State Agrarian and Technical University), and the regent of the seminary choir Mykola Leontovych spent all his free time near the instrument.
On September 26, 1898, a concert of a seminary choir took place at which Leontovych conducted the choir and played the harmonium.
Harmonium is a reed, keyboard-pneumatic instrument. It belongs to the family of harmonics (foot harmonics). Harmonium consists of a body, pedals, bellow or bellows by which the air of the keyboard or keyboards (manuals), the resonators with reeds and various levers is injected. The sound of harmonium gives a wide, rich, powerful sound and resembles the sound of an organ. Harmonium is a small instrument, easy to transport.
Harmonium was an integral part of teaching singing at the Tulchyn Diocesan College. Just the same one in the museum.
From the memoirs of Yuliia Kornich, a student of the Diocesan College of Tulchyn «…How we liked to go to the singings on which we learned songs! How this hour in my imagination is a picture of our lessons on these singings: a small teacher’s room on the first floor of the boarding house, a long table on which lay notes, harmonium …
Mykola Dmytrovych welcomes the choristers. …We disassemble the notes, take our seats by the voices … Mykola Dmytrovych sits behind the harmonium, pushes the pedals, hits the keys lightly, nods his head to the beginning – and the song sounded…».
Mykola Leontovych taught his students: «When the harmonium sounds, try to reproduce the composer’s plan with your singing. You have to listen to a musical instrument and perform the mood of the song. A fun song can’t be sung with indifferent or sad facial expression. It needs to be sung with a smile on face, with twinkle in eyes. But when you perform a mournful melody, then perform it so that tears could be felt in your voice and they would well up in listeners’ eyes. The singer must be an artist and arouse emotional feelings in his performance of the work of art. That’s when your song will hit the audience».