The second playlist reflecting on Lithuanian theatre music composed during the first decade of reinstated independence (1990-2000) bears the title of two theatre productions based on the same play. Two composers, Zita Bružaitė and Snieguolė Dikčiūtė, were commissioned to write the music.
This set, full of lyricism, melodic tunes, sorrow and dreams, might seem to be the exact opposite of the first compilation. You’d probably call it a collection of love music, even though the hearts have on some occasions been broken. Despite this, the music bears that remarkable persuasiveness and cogency which makes it entirely viable beyond the stage, a delightful example of music at its emotional high that lives its own life. This music, it might seem, bears encoded the very essence of the theatre show, so that by listening to it anyone is capable of grasping what was taking place on the stage some thirty years ago.
The playlist begins with one of the greatest local hits of the 2000s, Aš Noriu Žolės Ir Medžių Pavėsio (I Want Grass and the Shade of the Tree) by Matas Petrikas, a.k.a. Matisse. It’s followed by the light-hearted yet soul-penetrating Giedrius Puskunigis, the surprising Gintaras Sodeika, the grief-laden Faustas Latėnas and Mindaugas Urbaitis, and the ironic Algirdas Martinaitis. Finding the same names in both compilations might serve as proof that these composers clearly found their favourite medium. Apparently, they all speak of happy days that will never return. Or will they? Or was Macbeth right in suggesting that “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps at this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time.”
Kipras Mašanauskas’ music for the production of Cyrano, like several other pieces, reveals what, in my opinion, is a recurring creative element in Lithuanian theatre music: repeated segments that add up to at least one instrument for each subsequent reiteration. This is how the composers tend to create the impression of staying within the same space and yet taking you towards something new and, as a consequence, building up the emotional dramaturgy of the show. It’s like pacing without moving, the world slowly changing around you instead. It’s like embarking on a journey so lovely and so hopeless at the same time.