Christopher Best

composer ~ educator ~ performer ~ writer


Dolya Nash Krai (2003)


Dartington College of Arts Balinese Gamelan Orchestra
photo courtesy Susanna Mo

"An idiosyncratic blend of stylistic types.... the music comes across vividly...."
(SPNM Reading panel)

A setting of 2 traditional Ukrainian folk texts for Soprano, Alto, Electric Guitar and Gamelan Gong Kebyar. Shortlisted in 2004 by the SPNM.

Listen: 1st movement
(see below for performers)


Listen: 2nd movement
(see below for performers)

Fullscore: 49pp £26 incl P&P Purchase
Set of 14 parts: (P.O.A.) Hire
View sample


1] Nashe Slavne Tovaristvo (a folksong)

Hej! Povij vitre iz stepiv
Hej! Daj nam sylu Kozakiv
Hej! Daj nam sylu
Nashe slavne tovaristvo
Hej! Marshiruje, raz, dva, tri!

Hej! Vidno selo pid goroju
Oj tam jidut’ nashi Kozaki do boju
Poperedu jidut’ starshi otamany
Khto okhotu maje, khaj jide z namy
Khloptsi zh bo to khloptsi sokoly
Nashe slavne tovaristvo
Hej! Marshiruje, raz, dva, tri!

(Free translation: Cossacks appeal to a strong wind for its strength. In order to protect their freedom, they are marching through the village to battle; the bravest first.
“Join us if you will! We have been marching; one, two, three!”)

2] Visluhay, Bozhe, Blahannya (a prayer)

Visluhay, Bozhe, blahannya
Niszhit ne dolya nash krai
Vyednosti syla narodu
Bozhe, nam yednost’ podai

(Free translation: O Lord, give us the unity we need for our strength)With thanks to Halyna Ovcharenko for providing me with these texts and offering her free translations.

In 1998, when directing the Composers and Choreographers Exchange in London, I met the Ukrainian singer and composer Halyna Ovcharenko. Her stunning 'Authentic Voice' singing style immediately captured my imagination and some years later I decided to write a piece for her, setting two Ukrainian folk texts. It was not my intention to imitate the Ukrainian folk music style and, almost as if to make this point, I chose as her accompaniment the Dartington College of Arts Balinese Gamelan orchestra, an electric guitar and a second, non-Ukrainian voice.

Dolya Nash Krai was subsequently premiered at Totnes Castle and recorded at Dartington College of Arts. The ensemble (also heard in the extract here) was as follows;

Christopher Best - Conductor
Maryam Best - Soprano
Halyna Ovcharenko - Alto
Paul Swoger-Ruston - Electric Guitar
With members of Dartington College of Arts Balinese Gamelan orchestra;
Elizabeth Hall, Konstantin Bikos - Pemade
Georgina Watts, Saj Heming - Kantilan
Michael McInerney - Ugal, Ceng-ceng Kopyak
Julia Brown, Tamsin Irving - Jublag
Yvette Worrall, Matthew Ratcliffe - Jegog
Wayne Cardy, Neil A. Kay, Kathryn Barker - Reyong
Benjamin Burge - Kelentong, Kempur, Gong
Jane Morley - Kajar, Ceng-ceng Kopyak

Halyna Ovcharenko
photo courtesy Halyna Ovcharenko

Dartington College of Arts
Balinese Gamelan Orchestra
photo courtesy Saj Landey