The Ukraine-origin American pianist Nadia Shpachenko has released a new album — Invasion: Music and Art for Ukraine.
The release includes the works of the American composer, Pulitzer Prize winner, Lewis Spratlan: Invasion (for piano, saxophone, horn, trombone, percussion and mandolin), Piano Suite No. 1, Six Rags for solo piano, Two Sonatas for solo piano, Wonderer for solo piano.
According to Nadia, the recording of an album with music of Lewis Spratlan was planned before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine begun, but on February 24, the concept of the release changed:
“Watching in horror as my home city of Kharkiv was being destroyed, I resolved to express through music my feelings of despair and anger, as well as hope and resilience. On my birthday in February 2022, the war started, Lewis Spratlan began writing INVASION, and the character of our plan for a CD of his works shifted. Positivity, defiance, perseverance, peace, nostalgia, recollections, and hope – all are displayed by the people in Ukraine, and all are reflected in the pieces on this disc.” — Nadia Shpachenko
Lewis Spratlan and Nadia Shpachenko have been working together for seven years, since the pianist commissioned a piece from the composer for her previous album, The Poetry of Places, devoted to the connection between music and architecture. In his composition “Bangladesh”, Spratlan reinterpreted the transformation of the city’s space that changed due to the government center built by architect Louis Kahn. In 2020, the album “Poetry of Places” won a Grammy.
“Nadia’s performance was spellbinding, combining the muscular portrayal of a collection of massive buildings with the subtlest rendering of tenderness and intimacy. This emotional range is what drew me so strongly to Nadia’s artistry. It is on full display in the five works of this CD. The monstrous cruelty of war in Invasion, the intricacy and athleticism in Piano Suite No. 1 and Two Sonatas, the humor and occasional violence in Six Rags, and the enveloping and multi-dimensional humanity of Wonderer show an artist in full command of the communicative power of music.” — Lewis Spratlan
For the booklet’s design, Nadia Shpachenko commissioned works from Ukrainian artists: Yurii Nagulko, Lesia Babliak, Kati Prusenko, Olena Papka, Aza Nizi Maza Studio children artists, art direction by Mykola Kolomiyets.
“I commissioned Ukrainian artists to create paintings/artworks to use in this booklet and in the accompanying music videos, as their responses to the music. Also featured are drawings/artworks made by children in Kharkiv, as their responses to the war”. — Nadia Shpachenko
Proceeds from this album will be donated to Ukrainian humanitarian aid organizations.