Lithuanian Soundscape

Musik aus Ravensbrück
Diana Čemerytė Lamentation
Tempera Quartet
Kulturland Brandenburg Europa, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, 2003

Kaunas String Quartet
Algimantas Kubiliūnas String Quartet no.2* / Giedrius Kuprevičius Summer Night with Naujalis* / Giedrius Kuprevičius D.K.* / Dalia Kairaitytė White Man's Dream / Vidmantas Bartulis I Like H. Berlioz**
Kaunas String Quartet: Karolina Beinarytė (1st violin), Dalia Terminaitė (2nd violin), Laura Blažytė (viola), Saulius Bartulis (cello), *Ingrida Rupaitė (violin), *Irena Bilotaitė (viola), **Aušra Bartkevičiūtė-Gelusevičienė (piano)
KSK CD 006, 2003

Compositions from Klaipėda
Remigijus Šileika Copper Etching / Jonas Domarkas Sonata for violin and piano / Jonas Domarkas Capriccio / Alvidas Remesa Music for 6 trumpets and 6 trombones / Jonas Paulikas Sonata for horn and organ / Natalija Eager Concerto for viola and chamber orchestra / Antanas Budriūnas Antiphony / Loreta Narvilaitė When the Footbridge is Gone I Will Cross the River
Klaipėda Brass Quintet; K. Kanišauskas (violin), Eugenijus Ignatonis (piano); Klaipėda Wind Band; V. Vitartas (horn), Bernardas Vasiliauskas (organ); Audrone Pšibilskienė (viola), St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, cond. Donatas Katkus; Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, cond. Juozas Domarkas; Kaskados Trio
Lithuanian Composers' Union, Klaipeda Section, 2003

Romantismus plus: German and Baltic music for flute and organ
M. K. Čiurlionis Fughetta on the theme of Lithuanian folk song "Oh, Dear Mother" / M. K. Čiurlionis Short Song / M. K. Čiurlionis The Sea: Andante / Vidmantas Bartulis The Vision of 17 July 1750
Jūratė Landsbergytė (organ)
Vilnius Recording Studio, VSCD-114, 2003

Antanas Jasenka: An Artist and a Plane
Artac: 1. Inflight 2. Earmind Bodies 3. Transmitter 4. Tonus 5. Skyjack Air / Electronic Sutartinės
Rita Marija Malikonytė (text & voice), Sutartines Singers Group "Trys keturiose" (led by Daiva Račiūnaitė)
Electroshock Records, ELCD 039, 2004

Antanas Jasenka's second album for "Electroshock Records" is a fascinating work showing a lot of resourcefulness and angst. Yes, it is fierce and occasionally harsh and dirty, more so than his debut CD "Deusexmachina". The album consists of two extended works. Artac (...) stands somewhere between electroacoustics, the German-Austrian axis of experimental electronica, and the drone music of the cassette underground legacy. (...) The second work is Electronic Sutartinės. (...) The vocal ensemble "Trys keturiose" provided the source material for the piece, but voice is hardly detectable as an element in itself. (...) Buzzes, hums, clicks and glitches form the core of the piece, along with several drones and outbursts of noise worthy of Merzbow himself in the second half of the piece. It leaves the listener bewildered and confused, but in retrospect it doesn't lessen the strength of Artac.
Francois Couture, All-Music Guide

In this album, Antanas Jasenka explores the hidden regions between 'ambient' and 'minimalism'. The six compositions that integrate this CD, mostly based on unusual architectures of sound and electroacoustic collages, take us to an impressive adventure towards 'The Unknown'.
Dominique Chevant, Amazing Sounds

Zoom in 3: new music from the year 2003
Osvaldas Balakauskas Cascades-3 / Remigijus Merkelys Compass / Vytautas V. Jurgutis Ellipses / Raminta Šerkšnytė Oriental Elegy / Vidmantas Bartulis I Like H. Berlioz
Tamami Honma (piano), Gaida Ensemble, cond. Jussi Jaatinen, Arditti Quartet, Chordos Quartet, Aušra Bartkevičiūtė-Gelusevičienė (piano), Kaunas String Quartet
LMIPCCD024, 2004

The Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre continues a series of promotional CDs under the label "Zoom in: new music from Lithuania", which reflect the exceptionally vibrant contemporary music scene in Lithuania. These releases help keep in view most active and interesting composers as well as performers of the year, and promote their successful work. The recently released "Zoom in 3" features 5 chamber compositions written in 2003, as performed by some of today’s top artists.

Eduardas Balsys: Dramatic Frescoes
CD1: String Quartet (1953) / Concerto for Violin and Orchestra no.1 (1954) / Eglė, Queen of the Grass-Snakes: 5 Fragments from the Ballet (1963) / Concerto for Violin and Orchestra no.2 (1958)
CD 2: Dramatic Frescoes (1965) / Introduction and Passacaglia (1977) / Reflections of the Sea (1981) / Portraits (1983) / Concerto for Violin Solo (1986)
LMIPCCD022-023, 2003

From his first solo composition to his last opus - this is the scope of Eduardas Balsys' first double CD, Dramatic Frescoes, recently released by the Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre. The CD offers the composer's most important instrumental works, marking the significant turning points not only in his own creative biography, but in that of Lithuanian music overall.

The new double CD, like Balsys' entire creative legacy, mostly consists of large-scale orchestral works. It also includes three violin concertos, written during different periods in the composer's life, and reflecting various creative and ideological contexts of one or another time period.

In the Concerto no.1 (1953), Balsys managed to create a masterful work, utilizing what at that time was a universally compulsory romantic constant, with fixed attributes of socialist realism. Following this concerto, over the next four years, the composer experienced a real metamorphosis: his Concerto no.2 (1958) is shorter by half than the first, and has a different musical language - laconic and witty. Interestingly, today this mixture of folklore, big band jazz, dance music and neo-classical ideas, once again sounds truly fresh. Of the Concerto no.3 (1984), Balsys managed, just prior to his death, to complete only the version for violin solo. Compared with the earlier works, this concerto is notably more penetrating and austere in expression and sombre in mood. It is a last unexpectedly oppressive and dramatic accent to the work of Eduardas Balsys.

Perhaps Dramatic Frescoes (1965) for violin, piano and symphony orchestra is the focal point of this double CD - its exceptional energy, multitude of musical events, textural diversity, and surprisingly modern sound are simply riveting. The format is compact (though 25 min. long), its five sections bound in a sonata cycle. It is the first work in which Balsys applies dodecaphony, and immediately becomes the classic of that technique: combinatorial interval manipulations succumb easily to the master of counterpoint. With the fading of craft barriers, listeners are illuminated with the music of unprecedented ambition and artistic might.

© Šarūnas Nakas