Jurgis Juozapaitis under the Spell of an Orchestral Sound

"I always found it most interesting to watch the orchestra and to guess at the secret of its sound." It was less the technique or the genre, and more the interplay of instrumental timbres and the sound colour that fascinated Jurgis Juozapaitis (b. 1942). Even in his early works, the composer - who made his name with a number of orchestral pieces (the symphonies Rex, 1973, and Zodiacus, 1977) - focused on sound colour. The evolution of his musical style has also been fairly colourful: scores in the 1970s reveal the impact of dodecaphonic, quarter tone, and aleatoric music; in the 1980s-90s, alongside expressive atonal works, Juozapaitis was also writing pieces akin to the aesthetics of romanticism and minimalism. One of these - Perpetuum mobile for string orchestra (1988) - was recorded in 1995 on a CD entitled "Cantabile" by the Finnish Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra under Juha Kangas.

There is no dominating trend in Jurgis Juozapaitis' music in recent years; he continues to favour a diversity of technique instead of the restraining framework of any sterile system. "I'm moving away from numerically based logic, from constructivism. It's much more important to feel intuitively the free flow of the music, the right moment of inspiration."

A ten minute piece commissioned by this year's Gaida Festival was written for a blend of timbres, dictated by the unusual combination of instruments involved in the visiting Dutch Nieuw Ensemble, which motivated Juozapaitis to choose his favoured manner of composing, giving special attention to texture, timbre, and articulation. This was not the first time that this author's works were interpreted by a Dutch ensemble at the "Gaida" festival. In 1995, his Kaleidophony No.1 for flute, bass clarinet and piano was performed by Het Trio. These same artists will be among the Nieuw Ensemble premiering Jurgis Juozapaitis' Jaura at the Vilnius City Hall on October 9, 2002. The same venue will host a portrait evening of chamber music by Juozapaitis on November 5. And on December 14, listeners will have an opportunity to hear yet another new work, Alkai, for the composer's true favourite - the full symphony orchestra - at the Philharmonic.

© Ramunė Kazlauskaitė

Lithuanian Music Link No. 5