Culture history is renowned for the many instances where the statures of a talented artiste and his creations, for one reason or another, have been forgotten, and have remained unknown. Such a fate sadly fell upon Yikiv Yatsynevych- a gifted Ukrainian composer, folklorist, musician and community activist. Only a few of his works were printed and published during his lifetime. The legacy of Yatsynevych has not yet been fully assembled, as his hand-written compositions are still being preserved within the various private collections and departmental libraries.
Yakiv Yatsynevych was born on 8th of November 1869 in Bila Tserkva , small town in Kyiv region. His general and musical learning originated from Kyivan spiritual establishments, the St. Sofia spiritual school and later at Kyivan spiritual seminary. He has a good voice and dazzling musical talents , for which he was invited to sing in metropolitan Choir. In 1890 Yatsynevich was appointed Choral director of the Archbishopric Choir and the Mychajlivsky Monastery choir. The fact that he was entrusted with the leadership of this choirs speaks volumes and attests to the talent of Yatsynevych as choral conductor, and to his high professionalism. In 1881, and at the age of 22, Yatsynevych began his working association with M.Lisenko, which remained until the death this great Ukrainian composer in 1912.
From 1906 to 1917 Yatsynevych administered the musical department of drama and operatic performance at the first Stationed Ukrainian theatre in Kyiv, founded by M.Sadovskij. In 1919 Yatsynevich became the choral director of M.Lysenko Cappela and in 1925 he relocated to Odessa until 1930. This was most fruitful time for him. He worked in different directions and in many musical areas: choral conductor, musical teacher and composer.
The next period – from 1930 until his death in 1945 was visibly the most difficult in his life. It’s not clear where he lived between 1930 and 1935. In 1930 his works were withdrawn and forbidden to be published. The more feasible reason is the repressive nature of the Soviet regime which flourished in the 1930’s touched Yatsynevych. From 1935 till 1940 he worked as pianist. From preserved documents it is known that in 1944 Yatsynevych worked as a guard at collective orchard at the village station of Petropavlovska, Krasnodar region. He died on the 25th of April 1945 in the town of Kropotkin in Krasnodar region, and far away from his fatherland.
The hiding places of Kyiv preserve nearly 170 creations and works of Y.Yatsynevych. Among them– composition various in genre, but mainly choral works. The music of Yatsynevych reflects and depicts the lyrical gifts of the composer. His lyrical spheres filled with pietism and delicacy, his music is emotionally expressive, distinct and nationally original, and not always based on the elements of folklore. His creations are inscribed in the late romantic style. The works of Yakiv Yatsynevych show that this gifted and highly-professional composer merits and is worthy of publication, recordings and performance, so as to become an acquired property of Ukrainian musical culture and history.