Trumpets Sound Out
In May, Lviv marked its 755th Anniversary by reviving the ancient trumpets of Rynok Square. The renowned composer, Yuri Lanuk has created a series of versions of the Lviv ‘City Melody’, the unofficial anthem of the Lion’s City, to cater for many different civic occasions. A jazz version was particularly well received by the audience at Alfa Jazz Festival!
Trumpets will sound hourly over weekends from 9.00 until 21.00, and on weekdays a solo trumpeter will perform the musical ritual at midday. The tradition originates from Halych, even predating the founding of Lviv; the first Lviv trumpets were not heard until the 14th Century when Lviv, under Germanic rule, gained the ‘Magdeburg Rights’ - which offered a degree of internal autonomy, controlled by a local ruler. Trumpeters, or ‘heralds’, were used like ‘Town Cryers’, to announce new laws, city administration orders, local and even national news, fire alarms and warnings. The herald would even follow the City Hall clock and play a particular tune to indicate the time. There were trumpeters both at City Hall and atop the Vysoky Zamok hill, to cover as large a distance as possible.
Heralds were considered an important communication line to the people; they were paid by City Hall and classed as part of the City alarm system.
There was no particular uniform for a trumpeter; they were ordinary citizens. However, the army would sometimes offer its own trumpeters who would wear military uniform depending on rank and the occasion. In 1826, the City Hall tower collapsed, and the trumpeter, who used to play from the topmost balcony of the City Hall tower, was injured in the disaster. By the time the tower had been rebuilt, communication advances, such as telephone and telegram systems, had consigned the trumpeter to history... until now, when this wonderful new – yet ultimately old - symbol of the city can be heard welcoming all to the delights of Lviv: please take a moment to stop in the street, look around, and take in the uplifting atmosphere that makes this city so very special.