16 October 2015

'MKP Premjeros' Concert, a snippet of things to come?

This past week has been dominated by the annual conference led by the Lithuanian Composer's Union. The conference is an international musicology conference and nine different nations were represented this year, including UK, Greece, Austria, Poland, Russia, and Sweden. The overall theme of the conference was focused on the phenomena of melody, the variety of talks spanned from ways of analysing melody, what aesthetically is melody?, and how has melody been used by major composers. It has been a thought provoking week, and to be brutally honest, I am a bit brain dead now.

Alongside this were two concerts, the first was a concert dedicated to the work of M. K. Ciurlionis ( a composer I will intensely cover in the near future) to mark the 140th birthday. The second was a concert was chamber concert which included student composers alongside the stalwart figure of LMTA, Rimantas Janeliauskas (another composer I will cover in better deal in a future post).  This post will focus on the younger composers featured in it.

The first composer featured after Janeliauskas was Julija Vezelyte, her piece Variniu Trio was a charming work, and had a similar campy feeling you'd find with works like Poulenc. Very nice, and I will hopefully be able to talk about her more in the future, sadly I could not find a soundcloud account for her. Hopefully I can rectify that soon.

The next composer, Gaile Griciute, for me is a tad perplexing. The quartet for trumpet, alto trombone, tenor trombone, and tuba, lacked something for me. The experimental desires in the work Slenksciai didn't affect me. The combinations of whistling, percussive effects on the brass, and general predictive unpredictability made the piece feel a bit bland. But perplexingly when listening to works on her soundcloud (found here) I came across a piece called Ostinato. The directness, the brutality of it, and sheer energy impressed and astounded me. If she carries on producing works of the same brilliance and unforgiving nature, she could become quite a formidable composer indeed.

The next composer featured was Jonas Jurkunas, a member of staff at LMTA. After having technology lessons with him it was refreshing to hear acoustic Jurkunas. A trio for the two trombones and tuba, was a wonderful lighthearted novelty, I don't mean this in a derogatory manner; but the piece never felt too serious of self pious. The upbeat opening was an intriguing contrast to still moments which centered on very slow changes of brass muting, and power brought out of the piece by the Variniu ansamblis really made the piece feel more than a piece just being played by the notes. Jonas Jurkunas has many recordings on his soundcloud, which I would highly recommend people checking.

The penultimate young composer featured was Andrius Siurys, a composer I have had many encounters with over the past year. His trio (is) Ra(u)stos juostos was for me quite a sign for Andrius. His experimental drive and energy to incorporate more and ever changing ideas, made his pieces quite anarchistic but in this work, the concentrated focus was beginning to take hold. This trio drew every listener in and, despite a few moments where certain sonic experiments felt mildly comical, made a well rounded and strong piece. If Andrius continues to develop in this way he has the potential to land on something truly unique and beautiful. Check out his soundcloud here.

The final young composer, and finale of the whole concert was Artuas Mikoliunas. For me the strongest piece by the younger composers featured and listening to his soundcloud has been a pure joy. Like with Jurkunas, the lighthearted nature of his music is just refreshing and wonderful. The optimistic charm and bouncy nature of the work is almost similar to the Estonian composer Raimo Kangro, it is just hard not to love it. I am extremely intrigued by how he would tackle something larger both in ensemble size and length, would it lose the optimism? Would it lead to something else? I am just intrigued to see where it shall go.

A special mention has to go to the young composer Andrius Maslekovas, one of the main organisers of the whole conference, and a composer who is on an intriguing path. His combination of sonoristic sounds and urge to keep a tight hold of melody make for a fascinating, but often very heartfelt result. Despite not featuring in this concert, it would be a disservice not to include him in this discussion. His soundcloud is here and I would highly recommend people check out his work, as the potential in his music is rather huge.

Next blog will be me wittering about the Gaida Festival. I am very excited about it all. So until then, viso gero!

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