Duma, a Soliloquy for Orchestra - Review

"...'Duma, a soliloquy' by Virko Baley is written in a vivid contemporary musical language. A work of original and deep reflections (based on) the motives of the Choral Concerto No. 3 of Artem Vedel, it s a profound contemplation of the life, creativity and tragic fate of that 18th century Ukrainian composer: In the concluding section there is an episode which expresses anger and terror, recreated by brass instruments (and) constructed on the mobile signals of Carpathian trembitas, with which the Hutzuls announce of the occurrence of death; it (in the Duma) becomes for the listener the dramatic summary of the life of (Vedel)."


— Kultura i Zhyttia (Culture and Life), Kiev, Ukraine

Violin Concerto No. 1 - Review

"Baley's Violin Concerto No. 1…had something of the same spirituality as Part and Gorecki, but with more subtle complexity and less literal repetition. The opening movement's mournful violin melody kept bleeding into the orchestra, whose delicate sonorities were dotted with vibraphone, marimba, harp, harpsichord and piano…Though European in its polish and complexity, the work provided the very feature that audiences listen for desperately: sonic images memorable enough to take home."

— Kyle Gann, The Village Voice, New York

"My most vivid memory of the afternoon…[was] Virko Baley's Violin Concerto No. 1, quasi una fantasia. Conceived as a requiem, the concerto squeezes the elements of the mass into sonata-allegro form, with Lacrymosa as the exposition, Dies Irae as the development and the Lux aeterna as the recapitulation. The fourth movement stands apart as a festive wake, quoting folk figures with abandon and giving percussion-free reign.

Baley's music has been described as 'multilingual with a Slavic accent', and I can do no better. Somewhat reminiscent of the mystic minimalism of Gorecki and Part, the concerto takes almost cliched near-quotes from Kreisler and Paganini and turns them into an effectively haunting texture."

— Ken Smith, THE STRAD (September 1995)

"The work communicated an inherent beauty even on the first hearing. Its lyrical and idiomatic writing for the violin and its decidedly mournful tone touched the emotions with an immediacy all too rare in contemporary music."

— Esther H. Weinstein, MUSICAL AMERICA (July 1988)


Piano Concerto No. 1 - Review

"Another composer, Ukraine's Virko Baley, took the baton for the Cleveland premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 1, with Daniel Barber as soloist. The three-movement piece, composed in 1990 and revised in 1993, is a densely packed evocation of desert and river paintings by Rita Deanin Abbey. Baley doesn't demand that the listener make contact with specific visual images. He creates modernistic auras of spiky and hazy complexity, placing piano and orchestra in confrontations that embrace avant-garde techniques and jazzy hints...the piece has personality. The performance sounded striking. The composer brought theatrical impetuosity to his conducting, and the large ensemble responded with crisp, controlled artistry."


— The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

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