Naxos, the world’s leading classical music label, has just released a recording of Tres Dei Matris Symphoniae (2003) by Onutė Narbutaitė. Continuing the 21st Century Baltic Series, it is already a fifth CD of Lithuanian music in the Naxos catalogue. Like the four previous Naxos releases of music by Osvaldas Balakauskas and Feliksas Bajoras, this CD was coproduced by the Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre.
Tres Dei Matris Symphoniae (Three Symphonies of the Mother of God) for choir and orchestra was commissioned by the Brandenburg State Orchestra and premiered in 2004, at the opening of the Musikfesttage an der Oder. Three large-scale movements embrace three decisive episodes of the New Testament involving Christ and Mary – the Revelation, the Birth of Jesus and the Crucifixion.
“I consciously used the word ‘symphony’ in the title, as I wrote symphony rather than oratorio. Here the choir is only one of many voices, even though entrusted with a very important role in the short introduction (Introitus), the epilogue (Oratio), and the third movement written to the traditional text of Stabat Mater. Moreover, Hildegard von Bingen (whose text is sung in the closing prayer Oratio) liked to use the term ‘symphony’ in a sense of agreement or concord of sound, and I also had this sense in my mind,” the composer says.
Live recording from the 2008 Vilnius Festival was used for this release. It was performed by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Kaunas State Choir and Aidija Chamber Choir, conducted by Robertas Šervenikas. The production of the CD was supported by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture.