From EXPO 2000: Sounds of Lithuania

It is for the first time ever, that Lithuania, one of 200 participants of the international exhibition EXPO 2000 held in Hanover from 1 June to 31 October, has its own pavilion. The representative quality of cultural programme in this event is intented to equal the economic or business ratios. Thus it deserves a special notice that the new Lithuanian music was welcomed even in two spaces of the programme - on the sides of Lithuania and Germany (at the initiative of cello player David Geringas, of Lithuanian descent).

Apart from numerous concerts given by the most distinguished Lithuanian performers, new music was included in several different multimedia works at Lithuanian pavilion. The most significant of these - a film Flight Over Lithuania, or 510 Seconds of Silence by Audrius Stonys, film music by Gintaras Sodeika - was quite extensively discussed in Lithuanian cultural panorama. The film, which distinctively renders the main theme of Lithuanian exposition - the flight, is continuously screened in the specially equipped hall. The composer conveys the musical idea of the film by employing three sound layers: quotation of Lithuanian folk song, a hum melodized in overtones, and ornamented flickering. Merging them together, the composer reinforces the sensation of uninterrupted motion that is important to the film. It has been contrived with a help of complex image creation and special sound (six-channel spatial and two-channel special effects) system.

The second film with music by Gintaras Sodeika is showed in another hall, at the exposition segment entitled 'Lithuanian Civilisation'. The film's director Vytautas V. Landsbergis separated its picture into seven screens, thus providing the composer with the similar idea for collage-like composition. As a result, symphonic soundtrack of the film was based on several quotations of Lithuanian folk music and one quotation of a work by M. K. Čiurlionis.

A different Lithuanian multimedia work has been presented in Hanover on 22-23 July. This was an audio-visual project by composer Giedrius Kuprevičius and computer animation artist Egidijus Vaškevičius, entitled Creation of the World for the End of XX Century. It has been created on the basis of M. K. Čiurlionis' painting series Creation of the World.

Lithuanian instrumental music was featured mostly at the request of organisers of the German exhibition. On July 28 and 29, the new work Bachvariationen II for 6 cellos (1999-2000) by Mindaugas Urbaitis was performed at four concerts in the EXPO 2000 German pavilion. To celebrate the Year of J. S. Bach, this work has been dedicated to the day of his death (28 July 1750). It further develops the ideas of Bachvariationen I for 4 violins (1985-8), only this time the material of J. S. Bach's Suites for cello solo is used. According to the composer, each variation may be performed as a separate work, thus the original movements from J. S. Bach's Suites for cello solo have been inserted between Urbaitis' variations during the premiere, and all was crowned with full composition of Bachvariationen II. The work received its premiere in the German pavilion by internationally celebrated cello soloists David Geringas, Tatyana Vassilieva, Troels Svane, Timothy Park, Bong-Ihn Koh, and Boris Andrianov.

Inspired by the idea of 'Ars Baltica', the art festival of the Baltic countries held for a decade in Schleswig-Holstein Land, the organizers of German cultural programme have arranged the 'Ars Baltica' days on August 12-13 in Hanover. One of the notable accents of Lithuanian music here was the recital of David Geringas (cello) and Tatyana Geringas (piano) on August 13, which, alongside with works of Latvian and Estonian composers, included three Lithuanian works: Vytautas Barkauskas' Suite de concert, Op.98 (1993), Bronius Kutavičius' Perpetuum mobile (1979), and the new version of Songs of Sulamite for cello, piano, percussion and tape (2000) by Anatolijus Šenderovas. The latter was inspired by David Geringas, who invited the author himself to play the piano part together with him and the percussionist Arkady Gotesman.

© Karina Firkavičiūtė

Lithuanian Music Link No. 1