Co-operation by Lithuanian composers with guest performers, initiated by the organisers of the contemporary music festival Gaida, has grown enormously this year.
Five of the nine scheduled concerts will be hosted by foreign guests: Germany will be represented instrumentally by David Geringas and his pupils, and vocally by Neue Vokalsolisten Stuttgart. Three Nordic countries are up to send their own missionaries: NYYD Ensemble from Estonia, Avanti! from Finland and BIT 20 Ensemble from Norway. All participating ensembles have in their programmes specially written Lithuanian music.
Bach-Variation and its sequel Bach-Variationen II by Mindaugas Urbaitis and Nymphaeum by Nomeda Valančiūtė are the cornerstones of the programme prepared by David Geringas and his pupils (Bong-Ihn Kohn, Troels Svane, Johannes Moser, Tatyana Vassilieva and Timothy Park). All three compositions were written specifically to involve all six cellos and will be performed in the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the concert. This world-wide recognised musician has many Lithuanian compositions in his repertoire, most of them created specially for David Geringas.
The completed version of Bach-Variationen II was premiered in Hanover last year at the exhibition EXPO 2000 by nearly the same musicians. Urbaitis knew that he was composing for top musicians, each of them able to appear as virtuoso, thus the result is technically quite complicated.
Nymphaeum by Nomeda Valančiūtė is of a quite different kind. While considering the whole programme of the concert, David Geringas requested a more lyrical and contemplative composition. Despite an apparent simplicity, this composition imposes serious technical challenges on the musicians.
Gintaras Sodeika noticed an analogous influence of the famous musicians on his new composition Ecaudata: 'Knowing that the composition will be performed by the Avanti! soloists (Finland), I allowed myself to formulate really serious tasks'. The composer expects an inventive interpretation.
A composer marked by a specific style, Rytis Mažulis has composed a complicated minimalist opus Cum essem parvulus for the programme of Neue Vokalsolisten Stuttgart. It is based on the mensural scheme, reminiscent of Renaissance technique of mensural (proportional) canon. The inner movement is neatly measured in micro-rhythmic (or polytemporal) pulsation. Rhythmic superimpositions and microtonal interplay seriously complicate the performance. The author thus combines live performance with new media technology.
Vidmantas Bartulis in his latest composition The Quarry I, also is not going to give up his musical idiom. He claims that the NYYD Ensemble has affected the work by suggesting a peculiar set of instruments (violin, cello, double bass, bass guitar, flute, clarinet, two pianos, vibraphone, and percussion). Such an unusual combination of instruments allowed him to perceive the composition, as if from outside, leaving out the intercultural experience and hoping for a corresponding interpretation and inner freedom from the musicians.
Most of the composers have maintained that the intrigue behind the performances is a 'distinct point of view': 'International performers are free from the clichés of contemporary music interpretations that gravely affect our consciousness', says Gintaras Sodeika. Besides that, many observe that the ensembles coming to Gaida Festival specialise in the field of contemporary music. Therefore, they have practical knowledge of the newest tendencies in contemporary music. They not only 'expand the geography of a composition' (Mindaugas Urbaitis), but also open different perspectives on new Lithuanian music.
© Eglė Gudžinskaitė
Lithuanian Music Link No. 3