Eduardas Balsys

Don't Touch the Blue Globe

Year of composition: 1969
Duration: 45′
Instrumentation: D-Mez-Bar-dsaa-5perc-2pf-db
Text: Violeta Palčinskaitė
Language: Lithuanian

Published scores:
Vilnius: Vaga, 1970
Chorai iš oratorijos. – Vilnius: Vaga, 1971
Leningrad: Muzyka, 1972

Released recordings:
LP Eduardas Balsys. Oratorija „Nelieskite mėlyno gaublio“. – Melodiya 33D-028709-10, 1972
CD Lithuanian Musicians' Union LMSMBCD-020, 2001 (excerpt)
CD Ąžuoliukas. Archival recordings. – Ąžuoliukas, 2010 (excerpts)
CD Lithuanian Music in Context I. Lessons of the Avant-garde. - Vilnius, Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre LMIPCCD065-066, 2011


The oratorio evolves through the antitheses of the present and the past, life and death. The text and the dramatic action are full of contrasts. The main melody, borrowed form a folk song Oi, teka bėga vakarinė žvaigždelė (Oh, Flows and Runs the Evening Star), functions as a thematic link within the entire composition. In the second part of the Oratorio, the composer develops this short, only a three-measure-long melodic line into a large polyphonic texture, and expands the harmonic framework of the song. The melody ceases its progression in thirds and advances upwards until it reaches the climax, where a 6-part choir dramatically delivers the musical material. It is the most intricately tailored version of the song, and hence it is very appropriate for the culminating point.

The vocal and orchestral forces serve distinct purposes, and manifest themselves with dissimilar expressive tools. The vocal language is quite diverse, especially in its harmonic structure. There are uncomplicated children ditties, reminiscent of the shepherds’ songs, with narrow melodic ranges and simple rhythms. There are vocal passages taken from the vernacular genres. They allude to the real characters and are based on the tonal language. Moreover, they are sung by children. In contrast, there are passages depicting war. For instance, one of the most expressive moments in the piece, “The Mask of the Demolished City”, is set to a dodecaphonic series and its variations. Together they create an intricate orchestral texture and function as a connective tissue between the vocal and the instrumental sections. The original series in the instrumental section is presented in its multiple forms, distinct motivic fragments, and as a whole.

Ona Narbutienė

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