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Arnold Bax spent at least two months on the Skarzhinska Estate at Kruglik, near Lubny in Ukraine between May and July 1910. Alan Sutton recently visited Lubny and Kruglik and found some interesting historical background to the Skarzhinska family and to pre-revolutionary Lubny, impressions of which Bax took back with him and incorporated into later works.
“Fair and smiling is the Ukrainian land, a fecund Slavonic Demeter”, wrote Bax at the opening of this section in “Farewell, My Youth”. Ukraine was known as the breadbasket of Russia during the last years of the Tsars, and to that extent compares well in modern times with agriculture being the one sector to have prospered in recent years. In other respects, the 20th century has not been kind to Lubny, and the Skarzhinska Estate itself has disappeared: nor was I able to find precisely where it stood. However my visit did uncover some fascinating history about Natalia Skarzhinska’s family, and other pictures and impressions which will be of interest to those interested in Arnold Bax and his works.Continue reading →