2. Arseniy Nikolaevich Kotlyarevskiy
3. V. Gorodetskiy. The final variant of the project of kostel
Address: 77, Velika Vasilkivska (Chervonoarmiyska) Str., Kiev
Phone: +38044 528 31 86
National Organ and Chamber Music House is situated in the building of Nikolaevskiy kostel – chef d’oeuvre of Kiev architecture, creation of great architect, “author of Kiev architectural score” – Vladislav Gorodetskiy. Like from Middle Ages sailed up to us this wonderful two-master, came in the dale of shallow Kiev river Lybid and stopped here – we hope, for ages. Despite all the twists of the past rough century, kostel is still towering over the city, like one of miraculous gifts of “Kiev Gaudi”, message to progeny from the beginning of XX-th century.
This second kostel in Kiev was build, because in the end of the 19-th century there was around 40 thousands of catholics living in Kiev, and the old temple – Alexandrovskiy kostel near Kreschatik – was too small for them already. On the 8-th of December, 1896, Kiev catholics wrote an application to the governor, asking to build a new temple. Official permission was given on 30-th of March 1898. The guardianship council consisted of the cream of Kiev catholic community: Jagermeister of the courtyard count V. Branitskiy, members of the Municipal Duma V. Oltarzhevskiy and S. Romishevskiy, manufacturer Y. Anzhievskiy, Kammerjunker of the courtyard count Y. Pototskiy and others. Honorable justice of the peace L. Yankovskiy was chosen as the chairman of the committee.
Project competition was unexpectedly won by student of Petersburg institute of civil engineers, 24 y.o. S. Volovskiy. Considering his lack of experience, the work projection, guidance and supervision over construction were entrusted to V. Gorodetskiy, who was already known in the city. That’s how Nikolaevskiy kostel have become a part of creative heritage of the last one, and only experts, after exploring dusty graphics of those days, can tell which parts of its design are after Volovskiy, and which ones are after Gorodetskiy.
In August 1899 grand public prayer marked the beginning of the construction. During the decade the temple was building, private individuals donated in general around 500 thousands on temple. It was hallowed while being unfinished. The reason was that apart from luxurious décor, the price of building was raised by the engineering works.
The temple was building in the vast dale of Lybid river. The ground there was unsteady that’s why the decision was made to consider the new foundation technologies. Gorodetskiy and members of the construction Committee took a risky decision – to confide in engineer A. Straus, who proposed to lay the foundation on concrete piles. It was a true innovation not only for the architecture of those times but for the whole world. Even Americans came to observe the engineering decisions of Straus! Moreover, in the structure of the temple ferroconcrete was used, pretty new material then.
On the 6-th of December, 1909, kostel was sanctified. Ceremonial grey & pink interior, Austrian organ, marble statues, terra-cotta table with inserts of Mettlach tiles… Especially for kostel, Riga company “Ernst Tode” made stained-glass windows, which became the pride of the temple. In the main altar stained-glass windows covered three big windows, depicting the scenes of Christmas, Suffering and Resurrection of Christ. Kostel decorated with marble ambo with sculptures of Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. The decoration of the temple was supplemented with 6 bronze and crystal chandeliers, 10 sconces, fretted benches, valuable church vessels. Kostel became one of the most luxurious religious structures in the city.
On the outside the decoration of the church was as beautiful as the interior. Gorodetskiy and his constant partner, sculptor E. Sapa, gave free rein to their imagination. The balconies on towers are supported by chimerical creatures. A bit higher, right under the bases of cupolas, even more creepy creatures are hardened: crabs, dragons with frog legs, family of gryphons on steeple, salamanders on the entrance archs. Every element had its symbolical meaning, originating from sacral tradition of Western Europe. Gorodetskiy’s trip tour to the best European cathedrals, among others Cologne and Strasbourg ones, had its effect.
After the revolution kostel, as usual, was closed and substantially plundered. The marble figures disappeared, like the most part of decorations. But the stained-glass windows stayed and the fence of the ambo still was there. The temple was used as a depot. During war kostel ran different dangers: his towers were too noticeable landmarks, and it’s surprising, that the security officers haven’t destroyed them as far back as in 1941. But 2 years later, the temple has undergone the artillery bombardment – Soviet army tried to deprive Germans of lookout on the tower. The temple caught fire and almost all wooden decorations of the cathedral have burned down.
After war in kostel they’ve placed regional archive, and the steeples drew the attention of KGB: they’ve placed jammers of western radio-stations in them.
In 1970’s almost under the cathedral the underground railway was build. The piles of engineer Straus couldn’t stand the constant vibration, so the foundation started to drift. And only in 1978 the changes in fate of the kostel appeared – the Council of Ministers of USSR made a decision to create in Kiev Republican Organ and Chamber Music House and place it in the building of former Nikolaivskiy kostel.
That’s how the organ was brought back to the kostel. He was designed especially for this hall by masters of famous company “Rieger-Kloss” (Krnov, Czech Republic). While designing the organ masters tried to approximate its appearance to architectural style of the kostel, that’s what united unique architecture with unique instrument. Organ has 55 registers, dispersed on 3 manual and pedal keyboards, plus 3945 tubes of different sizes (from 13 millimetre to 6 metres), made of metal and valuable sorts of wood (black and red). Program control gives an opportunity to use the timbre palette of the instrument at full capacity.
During the reconstruction of the kostel, which lasted 4 years, special attention was given to decoration of interiors rose from desolation. New stained-glass windows were manufactured in Baltic States, upholstered furniture made in style of the premises was produced on Lviv furniture factory, high-quality parquet – in the city of Kivertsi.
The creator of National Organ and Chamber Music House in Kiev is organist, pedagogue and musicologist Arseniy Nikolaevich Kotlyarevskiy (1910 – 1994). He’s rightfully considered as a founder of organ school in Ukraine. Pupil of Leningrad conservatory in classes of musicology and organ, A. N. Kotlyarevskiy worked as a pro-rector of Lviv state conservatory named after N. Lysenko, lectured at Donetsk musical teachers training institute. Beginning from 1970 he was a professor of Kiev state conservatory. He trained a pleiad of talented performers, Honoured Artists of our country, winners of awards and laureates of republican and international contests, their works are known far beyond the borders of Ukraine.
During 1981-1986 A.N. Kotlyarevskiy was an artistic supervisor of Republican Organ and Chamber Music House. Thanks to his persistent work keen interest in the organ music grew in Ukraine. It was him who ordered the organ, set it up and assigned the repertory. After Kiev organ halls appeared in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Sumi, Odessa, Belaya Cerkov, Rovno, Khmelnitskyi, Donetsk, Lvov, Uzhgorod, Chernovtsi, Yalta.
That’s how Nikolaevskiy kostel came back to life, majestic music was coming again from the building. But the new age came, and from the late 1980’s the destiny of the temple was under question again. The divine services recommenced there in 1992, since then they’re taking turns with organ concerts. So residents of Kiev and guests have the opportunity to visit the mass, as well as the concerts in this magnificent building.
4. Organ “Rieger-Kloss”
5. Trumpeting Angel
6. Ernst Tode. Stained-glass windows of the kostel.