Benjaminas Gorbulskis

Concerto No. 1

Year of composition: 1959
Duration: 09′
Instrumentation: cl solo-2212-2220-timp-perc-str

CD Lithuanian Music in Context I. Lessons of the Avant-garde. - Vilnius, Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre LMIPCCD065-066, 2011


In his first Concerto for Clarinet and Symphony Orchestra  (premiere in 1961), Benjaminas Gorbulskis, first amongst Lithuanian composers, employed the twelve-tone technique. It laid a structural foundation for the primary theme of the second movement and is presented in its original sequence, as well as in its transformations, sounding in multiple keys in different sections of the orchestra simultaneously, resulting in polytonal sonorities. The composer avoided ‘pure dodecaphony’ and in developing the thematic material he attempted to maintain the tonal basis. Here, the twelve-tone method does not serve as a principle for sequential organization. Instead, it is used as an element of dissonance with negatively charged emotional connotations (for, the second movement is entitled Sorrow). It creates an acute contrast to the outer movements (Flight and Humor), written in a tonal language, both imbued with optimism and animated mood. Such an approach is commonly observed in the works of the post-war Soviet composers.

The composer utilized similar devices, such as serial technique and polyphonic developments, as well as the unconventional orchestration in his later concerti: Concerto for Flute and Orchestra No. 2 (1964), Concerto-Fantasia for Oboe and Orchestra (1966), both concerti for Saxophone and Orchestra (1969 and 1974), Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra (1971), and others.

Veronika Janatjeva

0