A glance at new Lithuanian music in London

On 20 April 2000, the concert 'New Lithuanian Music and Art: A Closer Look', aimed at discerning British audience, was arranged at the Royal Academy of Music by Lithuanian Composers' Union, with support from Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in the United Kingdom and The Westerly Trust.

Following the Lithuanian premieres in British festivals (Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 1990, Baltic Arts'96 in London, The Vale of Glamorgan Festival in 1996, 1999) this time the doors of the prestigious Duke's Hall at the Royal Academy of Music were opened by the artists' names appreciated by the London audience and by efforts of the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in the UK.

Significant dominance of the performers' mastery had major influence upon the works selection criteria, thus the basis of the programme consisted of expressive, concerto-like opuses, which, according to one reviewer, were 'refreshingly different and yet still accessible to 'the common man'. The contemporary Lithuanian chamber classics - Rhythmus-Arhythmus, Piano Sonata and Perpetuum mobile by Bronius Kutavičius, Like the Touch of a Sea Wave and Bop-art by Osvaldas Balakauskas, Partita by Vytautas Barkauskas, I'm Seeing My Friend Off... by Vidmantas Bartulis - and a techno music stylisation for two pianos Tone Ontology No. 2 by Gintaras Sodeika have been performed by the renowned Lithuanian pianist Petras Geniušas, Japanese pianist Tamami Honma, the graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, cellist Neil Heyde, who lectures at the Academy, and Rasa Vosyliūtė, Lithuanian violinist currently staying in London. After sudden death of famous Lithuanian violinist Raimundas Katilius in spring this year, who was entitled to play at the concert, the performance of Barkauskas' Partita for solo violin (1967) and Balakauskas' Like the Touch of a Sea Wave for violin and piano (1975) was dedicated to his memory.

Gintaras Sodeika, the Chairman of Lithuanian Composers' Union, has estimated the significance of such international events, saying that 'each contact of foreign performers with Lithuanian music is viewed by the composers as a special event, enabling them to take a detached view at their works and imaginary canons of their interpretation'.

© Veronika Janatjeva

Lithuanian Music Link No. 1