Top UK choir records powerful new Ukrainian choral work in response to Russia’s invasion

22 November 2022, 09:22

SANSARA at Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, London
SANSARA at Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, London. Picture: SANSARA

By Kyle Macdonald

Singers gathered in London’s Ukraine Cathedral to give voice to a powerful new choral work to mark Ukrainian Independence Day and the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

One of the UK’s top choirs wanted to make a musical statement in solidarity with all Ukrainians, amid the destruction and irreparable loss brought on by Russia’s invasion.

The choir, SANSARA, released a new recording earlier this year based on words by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and poet Serhiy Zhadan, to mark Ukrainian Independence Day and the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

Shortly after, they filmed a closed performance of the work in the poignant and beautiful surroundings of London’s Ukraine Cathedral.

The music of A Quiet Night - Tyhoyi Nochi is written by one of Ukraine’s foremost young composers, Kyiv-born Natalia Tsupryk, whose life has been devastated by the conflict. “With the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, my life was split into before and after,” Tsupryk said. “Ukrainians desperately need the world’s assistance to win and end this cruel war as soon as possible.”

Read more: Ukraine’s powerful anthem fills Odesa Opera House, as it reopens for first time since Russian invasion

President Zelensky’s words are from a speech he gave on 9 May 2022, containing these lines:

Our land was sown with bullets and shells 
No enemy was able to take root here

No shackles can bind our free spirit 
We are free people who have their own path

“[These] words... show Ukrainians for what we are. Far from being victims and losers, we are warriors and winners,” the composer said.

Watch SANSARA’s performance of this powerful work for our times below:

A Quiet Night - Tyhoyi Nochi, by Natalia Tsupryk. Sung by SANSARA

A Quiet Night - Tyhoyi Nochi was written in a way that meant it could be sung in places where refugee communities can work together with local choirs.

SANSARA’s Artistic Director and conductor Tom Herring says: “We hope this work will be performed by Ukrainians and host communities in the months and years to come. SANSARA’s work is rooted in the belief that choral music has a unique potential to bring people together. A Quiet Night is a musical expression of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”

The composer, choir and all involved are asking for donations to the Ukraine Refugee Appeal, which offers help for displaced Ukrainians in the UK.

The project is also supported by the Ukrainian Welcome Centre, which operates within the cathedral, and the Myanmar Accountability Project. Stream this piece, and find out more about the artists and supporters of the project here.

SANSARA and the United Strings of Europe will perform the UK premiere of ‘A Quiet Night - Tyhoyi Nochi’ on Friday 25 November at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Buy tickets here.