Mon, April 26,
Online from Vilnius, Composers' House
Dainius Peseckas – violin
Diemantė Merkevičiūtė – violin
Monika Kiknadzė – viola
Arnas Kmieliauskas – cello
Vytenis Gurstis – flute
Artūras Kažimėkas – clarinet
Marta Finkelštein – piano, artistic director
Karolis Variakojis -conductor, musical director
Elis Hallik (*1986, Estonia) – Some Paths Will Always Lead Through the Shadows for two violins, viola, cello, piano, flute, clarinet (2021, premiere)
Diana Čemerytė (*1974, Lithuania) – Meine Seele wartet… After Listening to Bach for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano (2020)
Žibuoklė Martinaitytė (*1973, Lithuania) – Solastalgia for clarinet, piano, violin, viola, cello (2020)
Beat Furrer (*1954, Austria) – Spur for string quartet and piano (1998)
Evija Skuķe (*1992, Latvia) – Locust. Beauty of Destruction for string quartet (2015/2017)
Régis Campo (*1968, France) – Pop Art for violin, viola, cello, piano, flute, clarinet (2002)
Some Paths Will Always Lead Through the Shadows for two violins, viola, cello, piano, flute, clarinet (2021, premiere)
Elis Hallik: Walking along old, well-trodden paths, I remember these lines:
Bitter and scarce is the northern light.
The sledge here is drawn by heavy shadows,
the owls and wolves keep watch.
A word crunches between the teeth. [—]
What I’m talking about, is
the dance of the dust mote
in the immeasurable sun.
(Text: Doris Kareva, translation: Tiina Aleman) (Elis Hallik)
Meine Seele wartet…, after listening to Bach (2020). 2020 started like any other year. In January I visited the Johann Sebastian Bach museum and St. Thomas Church in Leipzig (Germany), where the composer worked and composed for a long time. Then came March and we all in Europe were locked out within the four walls of quarantine. No concerts, no premieres, no cultural life were taking place. A weak cultural life smoldered online only. Intuitively I started looking for concerts by St. Thomas Church and gradually commenced to live with the music of Bach. Especially I harmonised with the Aria Meine Seele wartet (My soul waits for the Lord) from the cantata Out of the depths I call, Lord, to You. This music simply overwhelmed me, kept on permanently resonating in my head and obviously demanding to be transformed into the new sounds… Thus, my piece begins like Bach’s Aria with the 12th eighth meter and the tempo Lento. The melodic motive of this aria is very important for the entire work of mine – it is a key of the whole piece. Also the rhythmic pulsation – a sequence of quarter and eighth notes of the piano is very important. Bach’s aria include a beautiful melody of Protestant choral Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut (Lord Jesus Christ, you highest good), the fragment of which I also used in the flute and clarinet parts at the end of my work. (Diana Čemerytė)
Solastalgia (2020) for chamber ensemble (clarinet, piano, violin, viola and cello) is commissioned by the festival Muzikos Ruduo. Quite often I find ideas hidden within a word that I’ve never encountered before. Solastalgia is a recently coined term that immediately evoked my imagination with its meaning as well as the sound of the word itself. Solastalgia has its origins in the concepts of “solace” and “desolation”. The meaning of solace is connected to the alleviation of distress or to the provision of comfort or consolation in the face of distressing events. Desolation is related to abandonment and loneliness. The suffix –algia has connotations of pain or suffering. Hence, solastalgia is a form of “homesickness” like that experienced with traditionally defined nostalgia, except that the victim has not left their home or home environment. Solastalgia, simply put, is “the homesickness you have when you are still at home”. This term is related to the anguish caused by environmental changes and global warming. It acquired some new meanings throughout the time of the global pandemic where we all have been experiencing a lack of solace and longing for life itself as we’ve known it.
Spur (1998) – a title that means ‘track’ or ‘trace’ (as in the English word ‘spoor’, except that the German term can refer as much to a railroad track as to a trail of animal footprints). Though the word is used in the singular, Furrer’s music sets out multiple tracks, the piano and the strings most often proceeding differently, though at the same speed and with fleeting cross-references, which may involve just one member of the quartet. When piano and strings jump tracks, often after a sudden pause, they do so at the same time, whether each then takes over what had been the other’s way or both move into further dissimilar directions. A recurrent feature is the gabble of octaves and near-octaves in a single wobbling line, the kind of music with which the piano begins, against quick shifts, febrile colors, crescendos, and pizzicato upward arpeggios from the strings. One might think of a chase scene, snapping round corners, with effects perhaps at once hair-raising and comic. When piano and strings find themselves on the same track – and from the nature of that track – the finish is evidently in sight. Furrer wrote this piece for the Arditti Quartet and Ian Pace to play at the Wien Modern festival. (Beat Furrer)
Locust. The Beauty Of Destruction for string quartet, is a piece of infinite time. By playing with different ways of organizing time, algorithms and different proportion parameters, I have created an evenly unpredictable sound mass, therefore making “movement” and “motion” (glissando and crescendo – diminuendo) as the priority. Because of this fluidity, the actual pitches of sounds become secondary. Locusts have been the bringers of plagues for all of our history – they are mentioned by the ancient Egyptians, the Bible and the Koran alike. Due to the intense growth of plants after the end of the drought season, serotonin in the brains of locusts begins a wave of huge change: they start to multiply and migrate when their numbers are large enough. Their larvae grow to full adulthood very rapidly. Both the grown locusts and their larvae are on the constant move, eating nearly everything that gets in their path. Written during the ISA 2015 in Muerzzuschlag, Austria, revised in 2017. (Evija Skuķe)
Pop Art (2002). In 1957 the painter Richard Hamilton defined Pop Art as popular, ephemeral, throw-away, cheap, mass-produced, spiritual, sexy, full of tricks, glamorous and profitable. Although this obviously tongue-in-cheek definition does not correspond exactly to my work, it is none the less partially relevant to the spirit of this new piece, and I leave it to the listener to guess the reasons why. It was composed at the request of Laurent Cuniot and the Ensemble TM+, and tries to set up an implacable beat that different elements come and disturb in turn, occasionally at the risk of its destruction, one of the aspects of music that I want to place in the foreground. The playing styles are more developed than usual, so sometimes the player strokes the instrument, at others it is hit, sometimes it becomes a toy and is even furtively kissed (although only the flute and clarinet). Thus the underlying development of the work, as serious and strict as can be, is totally masked by these various theatrical aspects. (Regis Campo)
Ensemble Synaesthesis consists of talented Lithuanian musicians of the younger generation with a mission to perform and introduce works by experimental and bold composers from Lithuania and other countries. This time, the ensemble presents the programme titled Baltic Sense. This is an ongoing project with changing musical content that represents the ensemble’s wish to connect to the Baltic region and explore the similarities and differences derived from our geography, history and cultural peculiarities. The title was first introduced in London in 2020 at a concert celebrating the 30 the anniversary of the restoration of Lithuanian independence, with pieces by Pēteris Vasks, Arvo Pärt, Bronius Kutavičius and Ramūnas Motiekaitis. For this edition of the project, Synaesthesis is presenting a programme that focuses on the younger generation of Baltic composers – Elis Hallik, Diana Čemeryte, Žibuoklė Martinaitytė, Evija Skuke. In addition, the programme includes two composers from more distant countries who nonetheless tickle our Baltic imagination – Beat Furrer and Regis Campo. With Baltic Sense, ensemble Synaesthesis is launching a cultural dialogue to find common ground for various musical performances, production and display projects.
The concert is recorded by LRT Klasika (Lithuania).