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Anatolijus ŠENDEROVAS (b.1945)
Music for Strings
Hommage Heifetz for cello (2014) [5:29]
Dialogue for violin and viola (2000) [7:16]
Melody for the film 'Ghetto' for violin and piano (2006) [7:34]
Song and Dance for piano trio (2008) [10:18]
String Quartet no.3 (2015) [23:30]
Ingrida Rupaitė-Petrikienė (violin); Kristijonas Venslovas (violin); Tomas Petrikis (viola); Povilas Jacunskas (piano); Indrė Baikštytė (piano)
Art Vio
rec. Chamber Hall of Piano, 2015?
DREYER GAIDO DGCD21102 [54:07]

The present disc, sadly running to under 55 minutes, presents the string chamber music of Lithuanian composer Anatolijus Šenderovas. The Šenderovas catalogue extends to three symphonies, seven concertos (including three for cello) and three staged ballets. However, the largest work here is the five-movement Third String Quartet. Šenderovas wrote the music here recorded between 2000 and 2015 - between the ages of 55 and 70.

We start with an intemperate and wild-eyed solo for cello in the form of Hommage Heifetz. This ends with a prodigious whirlwind which would present challenges to any player. It is fascinating that this is a tribute to Heifetz but for cello rather than for violin. A super-heated blast of a piece, it nevertheless adopts a fairly indulgent attitude to the listener's sensibilities. Even so, all restraint is swept to the four winds in the final eruptive flourish.

The Dialogue for violin and viola is a gentle conversation but with interjections of thrashing arachnid violence and convulsion amid rhapsodic parts for the two string instruments.

Melody for the film Ghetto is an extended piece of passionate simplicity. It has an easy melodic profile and a slightly Hebraic caste to the violin's part which is part demonstrative and part mournful. The music finally describes a gentle curve down into peaceful silence.

The little Song and Dance for piano trio tracks through more Hebraic melancholy. Apart from studying in Vilnius (Edvardas Balsys) and Moscow, Šenderovas also spent time studying in Tel Aviv. The Dance is wild and has a clamorous klezmer ferality. This is added to by the shouts of the trio and others at the peak. The piano clangs out dissonantly and the players hammer away with lashings of Pendereckian buzzing and insistent triumph. After this explosion the Lords of Disorder relent and the piece closes in a religious melody and a quiet chitter and stutter from the two stringed instruments.

Šenderovas's first two string quartets date from 1976 and 1986. This Third entry is an exercise in tortured and twisted melody in the First Part (Part not Movement). This develops a most touching melancholy. The score later takes breezy flight after the almost static ecstasies of the early part of the quartet. The music is laid out with stark clarity and a cutting tone is adopted. This takes an emotional toll with writing that seems to blend mature Bartk and late Bridge in what is by no means a conventional quartet. On occasion this leaves the listener lost in starry contemplation (try Urmis Sisask as a comparison), introduces the sound of a baby crying and indulges chaffing minimalism. It's at time like a possessed mid-European dance but one written by Michael Nyman.

The booklet is a useful compass in a strange land. The note is in German, English and Lithuanian.

No composer is to be taken for granted - certainly not Šenderovas. Let's hear some of his orchestral music as well.

Rob Barnett



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