Piano of Schröder brand at the M. Leontovych museum is a personal musical instrument of the Leontovych family. The keys of this musical instrument were touched by the hands of the Grand Maestro. On it the composer performed his famous songs «Shchedryk», «The Duda Player», «A mother had one daughter», «Cossack is beard» and others, who became the pearls of Ukrainian national culture.From the memoirs of M. Leontovych’s daughter Halyna «… I remember how my mother wrapped father in a warm blanket, and he played and played all the time on his piano, as if he did not notice the harsh reality. Mother, like no one, understood who father is for Ukraine and who he would remain for it …»
Podium – «palahoi» – a unique exhibit of the museum – apartment of M. Leontovych. M. Leontovych used it while teaching music theory and solfeggio at the Tulchyn Diocesan School.
Travel suitcase of M. Leontovych remembers the hands of a composer who always left with his suitcase to find new songs that he listened to and recorded from the villagers of Bilousivka-1 and surrounding villages. His student told that in Kobylivka village (Zarichne of the Tulchyn district) lived a blind lyre player who knew many songs of both folk and Cossacks. Leontovych took his suitcase and walked to him to record his songs. The suitcase was heavy, but there were things he needed, notebooks, note paper, ruler, pencils, etc. Returning with the luggage of folklore, M. Leontovich took a zither or sat down at the piano and played each of the melodies until it satisfied him. That’s how his brilliant works were born. From the memoirs of a student of the Diocesan College Oksana Vrublevska: «I got acquainted with Leontovych in 1915 when my mother drove me to Tulchyn and enrolled in a 5th grade of Diocesan School. I spent almost three years there. We were taught singing by M. Leontovych. Tall, serious, walks in class, explains, calls to the black board (when theory). The voice is muffled, the sentences are short, but all very clear, I still remember. This is where I first heard a Ukrainian song in an artistic performance. It was a miracle then. It is evening, we gather in the hall. We are learning «Chumak», «Above the river, on the shore went chumak with a whip. Hey, hey from Don home». Somehow pale it turns out. M. Leontovych teaches to reproduce the echo of the moon that glides over the field somewhere far away. «Hey, hey…», we repeat again and again. And then the song came rang sad and cheerful … And «Shchedryk»? When I hear «Shchedryk», I see our maiden choir and Mykola Dmytrovych, who went to the other end of the hall, and, bowing his head, listens carefully to our performance… Remember that transparent «las–ti–voch–ka» at the end of shchedrivka? With Mykola Dmytrovych we sang most of his songs (there are 100 of them). He remade with us, improved them …»
Zither – stringed plucked instrument in the form of a flat, slightly curved in front resonant box with a round cut in the middle. On its fingerboard with metal straps 5 metal strings are stretched to perform the melody with the help of a plectrum that is worn on the right thumb. From 24 to 40 silk strings loosely stretched over the top deck are used to perform the accompaniment. The notes for the zither are recorded in the treble and bass clefs on two staffs. The instrument has a clear and pleasant, but monotonous, timbre homogeneous sound. The name “zither” is taken from the name of an ancient Greek instrument – cithara. This ancient musical instrument is now a rarity in Ukraine. The fact is that the Bolsheviks declared the zither a nationalist instrument and began to destroy it…. In the mid-XIX century this instrument was very popular. Inexpensive and portable zither replaced piano for Ukrainians with average prosperity. Often this kind of musical instrument could be found in the families of teachers and priests. But with the advent of Soviet power everything changed. After all, the first version of the Ukrainian anthem was written to perform exactly with this musical instrument! So the zither was forgotten. In the Museum – apartment of M. Leontovych this musical instrument is of particular importance. M. Leontovych’s family moves to the village Bilousivka -1, where his father received a parish. M. Leontovych was fond of the sound of folk songs, which were often played on the streets of the village. Looking at his son’s passion for music, Dmytro Feofanovych having a talent for music bought Mykola a zither as a gift for Christmas holidays. Their manor was great. In the far corner of the orchard was a summer house, which for some reason was called the «academy» in the family. M. Leontovych often stayed alone in the «academy» and on the zither he picked up tunes to the songs he heard on the streets of the village. No one knew that the composer’s first musical works were born here, and his zither was a witness of this. According to the memories of the composer’s sister, these were the best times of the family with material wealth and a fun life. In Bilousivka Mykola recorded from many villagers many songs that later came into his «Second Compilation of Songs from Podillia».
The large oak table is covered with a tablecloth, served with exquisite plates and forks. The tableware shows that an intelligent family lived here. There are many reminds in this tableware about M. Leontovych’s family, because his mother Mariia who was a beautiful and noble woman, from early childhood instilled in her children the taste for the beautiful, the kind, told how to properly use cutlery, napkins and others. When M. Leontovych married, his mother and father who lived in the village Bilousivka-1, Tulchyn district knew that the best gift for the newlyweds would be a good tableware. At this table, the family of Mykola and the guests who came to them gathered daily. This table and tableware also remember dear for M. Leontovych guests in 1920. At that time the Second Traveling Chapel of the Dnieper Union under the direction of K. Stetsenko came to Tulchyn, the compere was Pavlo Tychyna. The big concert was held in Potocki Palace in Tulchyn, where choral arrangements of M. Leontovych’s songs and his famous «Shchedryk» sounded. Inspired by his success, Leontovych invited his friends to his home at the end of the concert and at this table was treating them with potatoes and cabbage. All were cozy and warm. And there sounded new arrangements of works in M. Leontovychs’ performance. The music that soon broke off due to the tragic death of the brilliant composer sounded.
In one of the memorial rooms of the museum there is one more unique exhibit Mirror. The owner of this mirror is a resident of Tulchyn Svitlana Sivak – a great admirer of the composer’s creativity. Here is what she told. Her grandmother Hladka Lidiia studied at the Diocesan College of Tulchyn where M. Leontovych taught singing lessons. Lidiia became friends with M. Leontovych’s sister Victoriia. They went to visit each other, played the piano together, liked the music. The Leontovych family had a mirror in which girls often looked while adjusting the dresses’ collars. Victoriia told that her brother M. Leontovych had brought this mirror from Kyiv when he was leaving for a meeting with Jaworski. Even after M. Leontovych’s death, they exchanged gifts for the holidays and, somehow, on Lidiia’s birthday, Victoriia Leontovych brought her a mirror as a gift because she knew that Lidiia liked it a lot. After the death of Lidiia Hladka, this mirror was in the family of Svitlana Sivak for a long time, but she decided to transfer it to the Museum-apartment M. Leontovych. So to speak, return the property to the owners. And here is a mirror of the Leontovych family is located on the display at the museum and welcomes all visitors.
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».
In the exhibit of the museum is the personal conductor baton of M. Leontovych. The first choir created by M. Leontovych in Tulchyn consisted of his favorite students of the Diocesan School. «…In a very special way M. Leontovych directed the choir – with a conductor baton in his hand, in a white shirt, in a dark suit, as if he seemed to be hovering above the earth» – writes in his memoirs Mykola Pokrovskyi – a student of M. Leontovych.