19 December 2015

Justina Repeckaite: Toro

My choice of composer is built on two reasons, firstly it is always a novelty for me to see contemporary composers writing for my first musical instrument, the euphonium; secondly she is a composer I have admired her work for as long as I have known about her.
Justina Repeckaite (1989*) is a Paris based composer, who initially studied in under the guidance of Osvaldas Balakauskas and Ricardas Kabelis while she was studying in Lithuania. While in Paris she has studied with Jean-luc Herve and worked with many leading ensembles like Ensemble 2e2m and Ensemble Cours-Circuit. A meticulous composer, every single one of Justina's pieces is carefully considered and expertly crafted. In the profile I wrote about her for the Lithuanian music information centre, I made the comparison between her and a diamond which annoyingly now writing this blog post, I cannot find a way to top it. There is not much point in trying to compete with myself or rewrite myself.

The piece in question I wanted to show this week is Justina's work Toro (2015) for euphonium and electronics. the work was written for and dedicated to Vianney Desplantes a wonderful French euphonium player, who really brings so much out of such a beautiful instrument. Toro almost quite simply gets the most animalistic sounds out of the instrument, through percussive colours, multiphonics, and other extended techniques; and then further warps them with the electronics. The result is an extremely primal ritual. 

Despite the raw sounds and disjunctive shifts from gesture to gesture, the result is oddly hypnotic. The gradual build of energy in the centre of the piece is just fantastic; its almost like a whole new creature has been born out of this piece. Hopefully other euphonium players will see this piece and just realise how much more there is to their instrument, so they can finally put things like the Carnival of Venice to sleep. Anyway back to my point, the structure of the piece is handled so beautifully and the energy and musicality always well restrained; its almost like Justina knows the story of the ten bulls, this bull despite still being a wild animal, is well controlled and brings a new musicality to an instrument that has needed this input for a severely long time.

The recording of the piece can be heard here and people who want to discover more about Justina Repeckaite really should check out her website here. I am intrigued where she could take this instrument, and as always very intrigued to see where her music takes her next.

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