24 May 2016

Druskomanija 2016: Day 2

Another day means another concert, thankfully last night was only one so I wasn't giving myself repetitive strain through continued manic scribblings in my note book. Last night was a return to the wonderful space that is the Gothic Hall of the Vilnius Art Academy. The piano trio Thirty Fingers performed six works (one cheeky surprise) showcasing young composers from across the EU.

The first work started, notes hang in the air like drifting clouds. Restrained harmonies slowly grew and despite the austerity always sounded bright. The mood evoked something akin to Bent Sorensen, with its 'simplistic' harmony but made more resplendent through rich colours. Luis A. Tenaglia's Transfiguracion was quite a strong work indeed. A rather beautiful piece in places. However I did ponder how much greater would the magic be if it was significantly slower. It would have been like lying on the grass watching the clouds drift by without a care in the world. 

The magic bubble was burst by Whist by Aleksandra Zviozdkina. The opening chords were sickly sweet and felt like any pop ballad in the charts now. Honest to God I thought Adele was going to sing at any moment. I am a big fan of simplicity, but for it to function and strike people significantly it needs a stronger purpose instead of 'pretty' harmonies. The voice leading the violin and cello melodies, were a bit clumsy in places and the suddenly appearing 'dissonant' chords felt out of place. I personally would have loved for the piece to be significantly more austere like water frozen or allowing itself to be lead to new harmonic places.

Following this came a work by Tze Yeung Ho. shulammite (a) was an extremely colourful work, which showed a lot of imagination and understanding of the dynamics of a trio setting. The manic flourishes and the sudden breaks were very impressive at the start, but the harmonic focus began to unwind, meaning in places the work had as much focus as an ADHD child in a petting zoo. This being said the piece had a wonderful sense of drama and communication. With greater harmonic focus Tze Yeung Ho will stun audiences.

After this and a bit of shuffling came Water for piano trio and electronics by Tine Surel Lange. The electronics instantly made their presence and purpose known, giving the work a dynamic similar to Berlioz's Harold in Italy with the small heroes fighting off the greater force throughout their tale. The trio element on the whole was strong, showing a lot of creativity and personal character. Some moments were extremely beautiful and the lulling water was riveting. The only issue I had was the block composition of the structure let the piece down as, excuse the pun, the sense of flow was ruined by it. The elements themselves were beautiful, but their context wasn't always very strong. But I am curious to see how the composer develops, there is a spark.

The penultimate piece, LaLaMiRe, by Vilte Zakeviciute was curious. She surprised me in the piece. Starting off with a melancholy akin to Shostakovich, but suddenly building into a piece with the same novel and intriguing interactions you find in the works of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgren. A very strong work, Vilte is has come on a lot since hearing her little flute piece a few months ago. What I would love to see is her now jumping into something harmonically more complex. I imagine with a strong prowess of serialism Vilte could produce mindblowing works of immense grandeur and spectacle. She is definitely gathering steam!

The final piece was a surprise, and annoyingly that meant I didn't manage to get the name of the piece. This surprise work by Dominykas Digimas was for trio and video. Sharp musical gestures swooped in. The accompanying projection was particularly surreal as the music was so dynamic and the imagery was so 'normal'. The work was full of colour and evolving timbres, something Dominykas has proven his prowess before, but I fear in this work the harmonic language was a tad stale. The only element driving the progress of the work was the visuals and the musical colours, if the harmony contributed too it would have been an almost immaculate work. The piece was definitely a noble attempt at producing something new, but the lack of independant musical structure and stagnant harmonies let the work down. Dominykas has great potential indeed, if he address these issues he will be a force indeed.

Another day done, now to gather myself before tonight's two concerts including a fun shindig with mini-moogs!

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