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Yearning” is an extraordinary collection of thirty original piano solos based on or inspired by Jewish folk and liturgical melodies. The pieces were composed and performed by Lilia Valitova and are grouped into five suites. Each piece has a descriptive title, most of which deal with everyday events. These suites are part of Valitova’s attempt to understand the Shoah (Holocaust). Some of the melodies originated in Europe while others came from the Middle East. Most of the music is dark and melancholy, but several pieces are more lighthearted. All of the music is performed with an elegant touch and provides more than an hour of evocative music that can be savored on many levels. Ms. Valitova has dedicated the album to all people who are persecuted because of who they are.

Lilia Valitova earned her Ph.D. at the Piotr Tchaikovski Conservatory in Moscow, from which she also earned graduate and undergraduate degrees. Her dissertation was on music theory. Ms. Valitova studied composition with Professor Albert Leman, harmony with Professor Stepan Grigoriev, and polyphony with Professor Vladimir Protopopov. After she received her doctorate, Ms. Valitova taught music theory at the Academy of Arts in Ufa, Russia.

At the age of thirteen, Ms. Valitova won first place in a regional music competition for youth. This accomplishment enabled her to be accepted at a Special Musical High School for gifted children. In order to enable the young Lilia to attend that school, her family had to move from Salavat to Ufa. Her father gave up his position as Director of Scientific Research to make possible for her to continue studying at a higher level.

Her compositions have been performed in Russia, the United States, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Estonia. Currently piano music artist Lilia Valitova lives in Northern California where she continues to compose and perform her music.

The cover artwork for this album has a sobering story. It was taken by Alter Kacyzne in 1919 in Poland and titled “Little boys with big ideas. Yeshiva boys studying Talmud on their own.” Kacyzne was murdered by Nazi collaborators during his attempt to escape from the invading German army. All of his manuscripts, photo negatives, and prints in Warsaw were destroyed. The cover photo and a few other photos survived because they had been sent to a Yiddish newspaper before the start of WWII. The three boys were thirteen when the photo was taken and would have been young adults at the beginning of the war. Their fates are unknown. Looking into the expressive eyes of these boys while listening to the music is haunting and poignantly explains the deep emotions of the music.

Album: “Yearning” by Lilia Valitova

Price: $9.99
Genres: Classical
Released: June 16, 2009 ℗ 2009 Valitova Productions

To buy CD/listen to samples click here (iTunes)


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