Kvitka, Klyment

Kvitka, Klyment [Квітка, Климент], b 4 February 1880 in Khmeliv, Poltava gubernia, d 19 September 1953 in Moscow. Noted ethnomusicologist and founder of the sociological approach in the study of Ukrainian music. After studying law at Kyiv University (1897–1902), he worked as a lawyer until 1917 in Tbilisi, Kyiv, and elsewhere in Ukraine, and published a two-volume study on electoral rights (Saint Petersburg 1906). At the same time he avidly pursued his lifelong metier of transcribing and publishing folk songs and music he collected throughout Ukraine. In 1907 he married the writer Lesia Ukrainka. He transcribed and edited a two-volume collection of 229 folk melodies sung by his wife (Kyiv 1917–18). In September 1917 he became a member of the Music Division of the Arts Administration of the Ukrainian National Republic Secretariat of Education. In 1918 he became a professor at the Lysenko Music and Drama Institute in Kyiv.

Under Soviet rule, he became the deputy head of the Ethnographic Commission of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences within the Ukrainian Scientific Society in 1920. He founded the VUAN Cabinet of Musical Ethnography in 1922 and directed it until 1933. In 1922 he also published an important collection of 743 Ukrainian folk songs and melodies, 685 of which he himself collected and transcribed. Over 40 of his ethnomusicological works appeared in Kyiv during the years 1923–30: a pioneering program for studying the activities and way of life of professional folk bards and musicians (in particular kobzars and lirnyks) in Ukraine (1924) and seminal articles in serials such as Pervisne hromadianstvo ta ioho perezhytky na Ukraïni, Muzyka, Etnohrafichnyi visnyk, Ukraïna (1914–30), Zapysky Etnohrafichnoho tovarystva, Pobut, and Zapysky Istorychno-filolohichnoho viddilu VUAN. In 1930 he published a long article about Mykola Lysenko's folkloric legacy in Zbirnyk Muzeiu diiachiv nauky ta mystetstva Ukraïny. He also annotated the 1923–4 seven-volume edition of Lesia Ukrainka's works.

In 1933, during the Stalinist terror, Kvitka was arrested, forced to move to Moscow, and then exiled to Karaganda and Alma-Ata in Kazakhstan. In 1936 he was allowed to return to Moscow, where he became an associate of the Music Institute at the conservatory, organized and directed there, from 1937, the Cabinet for the Study of the Musical Creativity of the Peoples of the USSR, and became, in 1940, a member of the Chair of Musical Folklore. After 1930 he published only two brief articles. After his death, his articles about Ivan Franko as a performer of folk songs and about Lesia Ukrainka's musical-folklore legacy appeared in collections in Kyiv in 1956.

Kvitka left behind an archive of almost 6,000 folk songs and 74 scholarly works, totaling 3,364 manuscript pages; they were preserved at the archives of the Cabinet of Folk Music, the Moscow Conservatory, the Central Museum of Musical Culture of the USSR (which he founded) in Moscow, and at the Institute of Fine Art, Folklore, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR in Kyiv. After Joseph Stalin's death, several articles about Kvitka were published in Ukraine, particularly in the magazine Narodna tvorchist’ ta etnohrafiia, but it was not until the 1960s that one of his ethnomusicological works was published again.

Kvitka, K. Izbrannye trudy v dvukh tomakh, 2 vols, ed V. Goshovskii (Moscow 1971, 1973)
Ivanyts’kyi, A. ‘Klyment Vasyl’ovych Kvitka (Do 100-richchia z dnia narodzhennia),’ Ukraïns’ke muzykoznavstvo, 15 (1980)
Kvitka, K. Vybrani pratsi (Kyiv 1985)

Mykola Mushynka

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

List of related links from Encyclopedia of Ukraine pointing to Kvitka, Klyment entry:

A referral to this page is found in 15 entries.