Feliksas Bajoras

Variations

Year of composition: 1968
Duration: 07′
Instrumentation: db solo-2vn-va-vc

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


In 1966 composer Feliksas Bajoras became intrigued with the twelve-tone composing method, and experimented with it in two of his works – the Suite of Verbs for chamber orchestra and Variations for Double Bass and String Quartet. The latter won him a second prize at the International Alfredo Casella Competition in Naples.

Peculiarly notated Variations for Double Bass and String Quartet combine together the twelve-tone and aleatoric techniques. The musical material for each of the parts is notated in separate boxes, or en bloc, meant to be read from left to right. This piece, although based on strict constructional principles, discloses Bajoras’s relaxed approach to a rigorous order. The Variations are composed of interrelated tone colours and melodic sequences.

Before all twenty variations are even played, one may only wonder: what is it exactly that is going to become the basis for the variations? When these variations merge with one another, the different playing techniques help highlight the separate strands, but the piece seems to be missing any discernible motivic patterns. Only the seventh variation, in which for the first and the last time all five voices emerge in a homophonic texture (the double bass joins a little later), reveals that the musical material is frequently interlaced with the half-tone series. In the sections that follow one can detect the variants of the 12-tone series, expressed in timbral, rhythmic or melodic patterns. Often the underlying half-tone substructure is disguised in steps of thirds, fourths or fifths, which imbues it with the melodic or recitative-like character.

Raminta Lampsatis

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