Zoom In 6: Lithuanian Chamber Music 2006

The sixth edition in the Zoom In series presents the most prominent Lithuanian chamber music works of 2006. Some of them were composed at the commission of the local or foreign festivals, while others were commissioned by the performers. In either case, all seven compositions included in this release are the potential repertoire pieces, which have already passed the test of the first public performance and even gained significant recognition: the Almond Blossom for large ensemble by Raminta Šerkšnytė won the Best Chamber Work of 2006 nomination at the annual competition held by the Lithuanian Composers’ Union, while Ugnė Giedraitytė’s Panneau for clarinet and strings was awarded the Debut of the Year prize at the same competition and came second in the “young composers” category at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris (2007).

Inspired by Van Gogh’s painting of the same title, Raminta Šerkšnytė’s Almond Blossom added up to the composer’s collection of ‘musical landscapes.’ In terms of the original imagery and resourceful use of timbres, this piece parallels her monumental symphonic works Mountains in the Mist and Iceberg Symphony, or her complex and thrusting chamber piece Vortex.

The musical images that have their equivalents in real life (e.g. echo or waves) are also important for Ugnė Giedraitytė who employs them as building material, from which she sculpted her musical Panneau. This seemingly small concerto for clarinet and string orchestra was composed as the BA’s graduate project. The expressive clarinet part is performed by the composer’s brother, Vytautas Giedraitis, who, in fact, had inspired the entire piece.

Žibuoklė Martinaitytė and Egidija Medekšaitė use numeral combinations to structure their works: the majority of structural elements in Martinaitytė’s Completely Embraced by the Beauty of Emptiness are based on number six, while Medekšaitė’s Panchami rests on the four number sequence used to generate the micro-intervals and rhythmic line.

The elder generation of composers remains true to its themes and style: Osvaldas Balakauskas, in his Combo Zed, makes subtle allusions to jazz; Algirdas Martinaitis, in his Emmaus, ventures further into the realm of religious themes; and Vidmantas Bartulis, in his Quarry IV, continues his frivolous debate with the music of the past (not excluding that written by himself) seen in the preceding three pieces of the cycle.

Zoom In 6 has been released in partnership with the CBC Radio-Canada, Lithuanian National Radio and Television, New Music Concerts Ensemble (Canada), Gaida and Jauna Muzika Festivals, and has been supported by the Lithuanian Culture and Sport Support Foundation.

Lithuanian Music Link No. 16