Faustas Latėnas

Musa memoria

Year of composition: 1983
Duration: 24′
Instrumentation: tape

CD Lithuanian Music in Context III. Experimental Ventures. - Vilnius, Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre LMIPCCD071-072, 2013

The sound material was sampled from the mental patients’ speeches recorded on vinyl LPs that had been published in the Soviet Union as supplements to The Great Medical Encyclopedia and served as an illustration of specific psychiatric disorders. The people heard in these recordings (they sometimes mull over some truly philosophical matters) are treated as certain ‘characters,’ playing their roles in the ‘plot’ of this imaginary theatre piece. Moreover, the composer arranged their speeches according to the structural organization of musical forms, with the first and second subjects, recapitulations, etc. The supposed action in this theatre of the absurd (such notion is further strengthened by the occurrence of sentimental pseudo-romance and the cheesiest sounds from a Casio synthesizer) reaches climax in the dialogue between one of the characters and the doctor who asks: “Where did you meet your wife?” The character answers: “At the cemetery; she buried her husband, like I did my wife; she cried and I did too…” As if the composer would imply that we all lived as patients in a psychiatric ward – a defiant idea and, perhaps, the most daring creative act during the years of the totalitarian Soviet regime (the end was near, but could not be foreseen yet).

Linas Paulauskis