The classical recording
industry has multiple links with the
music of the Baltic states. Estonia
and Antes/Bella Musica go hand in hand.
Eres is strong on Latvia and now Guild
have issued this disc of Lithuanian
music. As it turns out I have been listening
to a great deal of Lithuanian music
over the last six months courtesy of
the Lithuanian Music Information Centre.
'Vêl' - the title
of this album - is the word for 'again'
which in turn expresses the boundless
spirit of excited renewal and opportunity
brimming in the Baltic conclave.
If I have a criticism
of the notes it is that they are fragmented
but what there is provides a helpful
backdrop. Ute Stoecklin who is also
the pianist is a reflective writer.
It is just a shame that there was not
more space to fully trace the history
of all five composers back into the
meditative minimalism is by no means
spare or static. Here is a touch of
Pärt's Cantus (Sorrow
and Bird Behind the Pane),
pressurised angst (Scream and
Yellow beads), repetitive chatter
(Clown and Cardboard Man),
Penderecki-like wails and ululations
(Clown and Yellow Beads),
rhythmically hunting and chaffing (The
Triangle) and meditative, though
slightly salty, Bachian repose (The
Kutavicius has made
a grand impact on Lithuanian music through
his four oratorios: Pantheistic Oratorio
(1970), Last Customs of the Heathen
(1978), From the Stone of the
Jatwinger (1983) and The Tree
of the World (1986). Now those I
would like to hear very much.
two works are less overtly avant-garde
than Kutavicius's. The Winter Serenade
is a mosaic of acidic delicacy where
the allusive fragments relating to the
Schubert song dance around and fall
as if in a crystal snowstorm. Mozart
Summer adopts a similar approach
but the shards of Mozartian material
rarely coalesce in the way that the
fragments do in Winter Serenade.
It is more angular: all elbows and knees
- a fascinating experience though.
Narbutaite was a pupil
of Julius Juzeliunas and has lived in
Vilnius since 1982. She is also a painter
also a Juzeliunas pupil. He participated
in George Crumb's master-classes held
in Salzburg. His FlaVio (a conflation
of flauto and violin) is a study in
sonority and is rather dry - a little
like very late Stravinsky.
with Liatoshinsky in Kiev and was ambassador
to France, Spain and Portugal: 1992-94.
His Rex Re has more emotional
juice than the Merkelys piece but is
clearly in the same line. Persistent
and insistent in effect it is at times
like the Ravel string quartet in its
another Juzeliunas pupil who now teaches
at the Lithuanian Music Academy. Urbaitis's
Der Fall Wagner has a sweeter
warmer affekt than any of the other
works. Let's forget the Wagnerian title
(heard innocently I doubt that any of
us would think of Wagner) what we are
more likely to relate to is a sort of
minimalist Ravel with Tchaikovskian
overtones. It is the most romantic,
not to say sweetly-f'lavoured, of all
the scores on this disc.
Not up to speed with
the latest from the Lithuanian chamber
scene? Here is a good place from which
to launch your expedition.