Feliksas Bajoras Receives National Award

The last years have been particularly fruitful ones for Feliksas Bajoras and include the successful broadcast of his Violin Concerto over European Radio, Lithuania's National Award (2001), and a solid book entitled "Feliksas Bajoras. Everything is Music" (2002). The presentation of the latter on March 5 at the Vilnius Town Hall commanded renewed recognition of Bajoras - as an individual, composer, and performer-singer.

The degree to which performers fear Bajoras' demands equals the astonishment of listeners and critics at the results he extracts. Bajoras' works for voice feature an exceptionally broad scale of vocal technique - from sighs and whispers to full-bodied melismatic melodies. But the most original of his techniques are those which have departed significantly from classical convention, and are characteristic of folk singing. Interestingly, his earlier, popular songs already bore that mark (it can also be noted that Bajoras has recorded his own singing of nearly all the vocal parts of his works, opera included!).

Although Bajoras' unique vocal works have long held an important place in his oeuvre, it is the violin which is the composer's passion and first profession. His experience as a violinist has dictated more than one specific innovation for strings in his compositions, and it is this aspect of his style which has aroused the interest of more than one ensemble or music festival organizer. Among these works are Expectation. Music for Sandomierz for violin and piano (1989). The essence of the piece is the dialogue born of one sound, and of the contemplation of sound and melody. Polyphonic polylogue and polyphonic thinking are even more notable in his string quartet Suokos (1998), which was written for the 20th anniversary of the Silesian Quartet (Poland). The title of this piece (which means songs of people or birds - or simply melodies) accurately discloses both the principle of the composition's structure, and its philosophical connotations and allusions.

The total opposite to these contemplative compositions, in terms of its bursts of energy, vitality, elevation of rhythm as a factor defining form, and abundance of expressive techniques, is his Concerto for violin and orchestra. The success of the work was one of the principle motivators for Bajoras being given the highest artistic prize in Lithuania - the National Award. Rusnė Mataitytė, who performed the Concerto for European Radio in 2001, will also participate in the premiere of a piece entitled Concezione, composed by Bajoras for The Tate Ensemble. The premiere is stated for June 22 at the St. Paul's Arts Festival in New York.

His receiving the National Award aroused a wave of interest in Bajoras' music - thus a plan, by various recording companies, for 3 new CDs of his works. The Vilnius Recording Studio is preparing an album of his vocal compositions called "Songs and Hummings"; Kristupas Records - a CD of compositions for strings, including Sign, Stalactites, Sun Path, and Suite of Verbs. In the near future his symphonic works will be recorded in a CD series of National Award laureates.

The organizers of the International M. K. Čiurlionis Piano and Organ Competition in 2004 have also commissioned a new work - all participants will perform a piece for piano written by Bajoras. Several other premieres of new works are also planned for the autumn of this year.

© Eglė Gudžinskaitė

Lithuanian Music Link No. 4