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Stifters Dinge (Stifter’s Things) is a composition for five pianos with no pianists, a play with no actors, a performance without performers – one might say a no-man show. First and foremost, it is an invitation to audiences to enter a fascinating space full of sounds and images, an invitation to see and hear. It revolves around awareness of things, things that in the theatre are often part of the set or act as props and play a merely illustrative role. Here they become protagonists: light, pictures, murmurs, sounds, voices, wind and mist, water and ice.
Goebbels describes Stifters Dinge—inspired by the 19th-century Austrian romantic novelist Adalbert Stifter—as “an encounter with the Other, with a sense of time which does not mirror our own rhythms. The unknown voice, which tells you something you don’t understand.”
The performative installation Stifters Dinge has been performed more than 300 times in four continents, garnering numerous awards and drawing extraordinary critical and public acclaim. It is one of the most frequently performed stage works of Goebbels’s, distinguished for its unique audiovisual concept that has a powerful effect on the listeners’ senses. Eulogised as a music-theatre legend of today, Goebbels creates his own brand of performances between theatre and opera, which often leave audiences gasping in astonishment. The work that has earned worldwide acclaim will be shown for the first time not only in Lithuania but also in the Baltic countries.
Friday 29 September, 6.30 pm
“City Life” is a 24-minute sonic picture of contemporary city as portrayed by American minimalist composer Steve Reich in 1995, which is scored for an extended chamber ensemble and sampled city sounds, pre-recorded speech and noises played live during the performance. Knowing the composer’s penchant for new technology, this piece uses it to the fullest advantage. The five-movement piece, distinguished for catchy rhythmic movement and the abundant use of percussive instruments and effects, reveals the colourful and vibrant life in the composer’s home town of New York City. It reminds of an ebbing and flowing river of minimalist sonorities, whose undulating and ever-changing flow carries both pre-recorded sounds from the streets of New York and instrumental doublings of speech intonations and rhythmic samples.
Reich’s City Life will round off the programme presented by the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, which begins with his somewhat earlier Duet for two violins and strings (1994) dedicated to world-famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Its solo parts will be performed by violinists Dalia Dėdinskaitė and Teodora Morta Ajauskaitė.
This programme also features Credo in Us (1942), styled as “a dramatic playlet for Two Characters” and described by its author, American experimental composer John Cage, as “a suite with a satirical character.” It calls for four performers: a pianist; two percussionists playing muted gongs, tin cans, electric buzzer and tom-toms; and a fourth performer operating a radio and a phonograph and playing sound samples from the recordings of classical works, as well as fragments of radio broadcast.
Two musicians known for having a soft spot for rhythmic music – percussionist Pavel Giunter and pianist Guoda Gedvilaitė – will join the orchestra in the performances of Emmanuel Séjourné’s Concerto for Vibraphone and String Orchestra (1999) and Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra (2005) by Arvydas Malcys who celebrates his 60th anniversary this year. The programme will be conducted by the contemporary music aficionado, Mindaugas Piečaitis.
“I don’t know what the future development holds for me and where it will take me, but I also understand the necessity to be open to it. I don’t even know what to expect from this process – it is a question of the future…” (Steve Reich)
Wednesday 4 September, 6.30 pm
“A Concert of Concertos”
As many as three different concertos performed by three outstanding Lithuanian soloists and the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra will form the framework of this programme titled as “A Concert of Concertos.” The idea to devise such a programme was proposed by the LSSO’s artistic director and chief conductor, Gintaras Rinkevičius, who, on this special occasion, will give way on the conductor’s pulpit to Mārtiņš Ozoliņš, chief conductor of the Latvian National Opera. Playing solo with the orchestra in Zita Bružaitė’s Viola Concerto Awakening and Sergei Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante for cello and orchestra will be the leaders of the orchestra’s viola and cello sections, Rolandas Romoslauskas and Povilas Jacunskas.
According to Bružaitė, “the foundation of this work lies not in the modern sonorities, diverse methods or sources of sound production, which characterize the modernist sound, but in the communion between the capering, brooding, singing viola and the orchestra, which in effect blurs the boundaries between serious art music and somewhat lighter genres.”
Symphony-Concerto in E minor (1952) for cello and orchestra, more commonly referred to as Sinfonia Concertante, is one of Prokofiev’s final completed works that was for a long time considered unplayable. “This work is really important to me; I like it very much, indeed. Even though it is quite an easy-listening piece for the audience, the music is formidably complicated, posing many technical challenges to the performer,” Jacunskas asserts.
Lithuanian-born pianist Gintaras Januševičius, who has currently made Hannover his second home, is known to have a knack for experimentation with the formats of presentation. Thus his every appearance is imbued with a spirit of adventure: he is always very keen to look for unusual venues and frameworks wherein to present less known musical works, or find a different key to the well-known staple pieces. At the “Music of Changes” festival he will perform the legendary Concerto in F (1925) by George Gershwin. Walter Damrosch, a commissioner and first conductor of the concerto, praised the work in the following lines: “Lady Jazz... has danced her way around the world... but for all her travels and sweeping popularity, she has encountered no knight who could lift her to a level that would enable her to be received as a respectable member of musical circles. George Gershwin seems to have accomplished this miracle... boldly by dressing his extremely independent and up-to-date young lady in the classic garb of a concerto. ... He is the Prince who has taken Cinderella by the hand and openly proclaimed her a princess to the astonished world, no doubt to the fury of her envious sisters.”
Friday 6 October, 6.30 pm
“For Love is Strong...”
Harmonious and resonant voices of the Jauna Muzika Choir under the artistic leadership of Vaclovas Augustinas, hypnotic music by American post-minimalist composer David Lang, and enchanting sonorities conjured up by the sleights of pianist Petras Geniušas’s hands. All this will mix together in the programme titled after one of Lang’s choral pieces – For Love is Strong.
David Lang, an esteemed guest and focus composer of the festival, is an avid and ingenious innovator who seems to be restlessly pushing the established boundaries of the musical realm, resisting categorization, and exploring new horizons. Augustinas comments: “My first encounter with David Lang occurred when I watched Paolo Sorrentino’s La grande belezza. He is one of those composers who are bold enough to use very few notes, but manage to discover something that leaves you mesmerised and dazed, like being spiritually intoxicated.” The programme of this concert includes two vocal pieces from Lang’s film work: I lie, featured on the soundtrack of the aforementioned film, and Just from P. Sorrentino’s later film Youth, for which the composer received many awards nominations in 2016, including the Academy Award and Golden Globe.
Pianist Petras Geniušas, whose solid reputation rests on the refined sense of musical style, exquisite technique and a keen sense of tone colour and texture, is well-known and sought-after not only on the classical music scene, but also in jazz and avant-garde music circles. He will perform Lang’s This was written by hand. In the composer’s words, “I got my first computer in 1993 and I have not written music with a pencil ever since, but I often wonder how – or if – the means of my writing had any effect on the writing itself. I wrote this piano piece to find out.”
Geniušas will proceed with several piano etudes by American minimalist composer Philip Glass, which he played last year at the Gaida Festival in Vilnius, in the immediate presence of the composer. Minimalist and post-minimalist aesthetic are two major and most enduring influences on the work of Lithuanian composer Gintaras Sodeika, which is also obvious in his new piano piece Firecrackers.
The showcase of Lang’s music will culminate with a few extracts from his Little match girl passion, which garnered him the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Music and later 2010 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance (recording released on Harmonia Mundi). The New Yorker praised it as “one of the most original and moving scores of recent years.
Saturday 7 October, 6.30 pm
New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can All-Stars, which celebrates its 30 anniversary since its formation this year, will visit Klaipėda for the first time to showcase the music of its co-founders and co-artistic directors – Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe.
Bang on a Can All-Stars are recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world and experimental music, this six-member amplified ensemble has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking music into uncharted territories. Their previous appearances in Vilnius, in 1997 and 2012, were greeted with thunderous applause, since it is only at their concerts that the audience felt emotional directness and the whole range of states new music is able to evoke – from the manifestations of urban energy and throbbing anxiety to trancelike musings – let alone the highest quality of music and execution. Performing each year throughout the U. S. and internationally, the All-Stars were awarded Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year, in 2005, and have been heralded as “the country’s most important vehicle for contemporary music” by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The All-Stars have worked in unprecedented close collaboration with some of the most important and inspiring musicians of our time, including Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Tan Dun, DJ Spooky, and many more. The group’s celebrated projects include their landmark recordings of Brian Eno’s ambient classic Music for Airports and Terry Riley’s In C, as well as live performances with Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Iva Bittova, Thurston Moore, and others.
Celebrating thirty years of Bang on a Can, its founders Gordon, Lang and Wolfe return to the collaborative spirit of the group’s origins with an all-new collection of tunes entitled “Road Trip.” “The tank is full, the top is down, and we have our collective hand on the dial for a euphoric musical journey. Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe flood the waves with an original mash-up of wind-in-your-hair tunes that capture the sublime exhilaration of freedom and possibility. Performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Road Trip is a tribute to journeys of all sorts, and the people who make them. There is a road, but it is no simple highway. ” Plus David Lang’s ‘classic’ Cheating, Lying, Stealing – one of the works that established the All-Stars on the contemporary scene in the 1990s – and more…
Monday 4 September, 5.30 pm, at the KCH Ground Floor Foyer
Talk with composer and theatre director Heiner Goebbels (Germany)
German composer and director Heiner Goebbels belongs to the most important exponents of the European contemporary music and theatre scene. His innovative work defies any categorisation. He says it is his deliberate choice to expand the boundaries of theatre art, to change and challenge the spectator’s modes of perception. He once said music has no home any more. It was a call for composers to leave the tower of genius built for them by traditional subjectivism and, once out in the open, listen to the spectrum of manifold sounds, which the fresh wind of the medial age has been blowing round their ears.
He rejects established truths, be they traditional or avant-garde, and a straight road, especially one that leads to Rome, does not exist for him. His artistic decisions are the result of inquisitive perception and practical experience. In the multimedial labyrinth of today’s cultural landscape he finds plenty of escape routes and back doors by which he can avoid being defined and yet at the same time remain in the public eye.
Goebbels’s relationship to new music is that of a continuous and critical interaction, practised at varying degrees of distance. That might well be due to the fact that he has had a good look around the field of performing arts: in political music, radio art, theatre music, noise art, jazz, rock, stage performance, and visual arts. As a student, he had no particular interest for theatre. It is only later on, he recalls, that he started to realise how many possibilities theatre gives and how much artistic space for experiments it offers. That’s what he does now: explores the fields he wasn’t allowed to explore before.
A talk with Heiner Goebbels will be hosted and moderated by composer Mindaugas Urbaitis.
Friday 6 October, 5.30 pm, at the KCH Ground Floor Foyer
Talk with composer David Lang (USA)
Passionate, prolific, and complicated, composer David Lang embodies the restless spirit of invention. Lang is at the same time deeply versed in the classical tradition and committed to music that resists categorization, constantly creating new forms. Lang is one of America’s most performed composers. Many of his works resemble each other only in the fierce intelligence and clarity of vision that inform their structures. Much of his work seeks to expand the definition of virtuosity in music — even the deceptively simple pieces can be fiendishly difficult to play and require incredible concentration by musicians and audiences alike.
Lang’s music is informed by modernism, minimalism, and rock – and can perhaps be best described as post-minimalist or totalist. His music can be in turn comic, abrasive, and soothing, and it usually retains elements of conceptualism.
David Lang will meet musicologist Lina Navickaitė-Martinelli for a talk about his work.
Saturday 7 October, at the KCH Conference Hall
“A Different Kind of Tradition. The Influence of the Reformation on the Musical Culture of Lithuania”
Various religious denominations have left their trace in the cultural history of Lithuania. The 500th anniversary of the Reformation offers an inspiring opportunity to revise the cultural heritage of Lutheranism and its impulses that have in a way affected the course of music history in Lithuania. To discuss diverse aspects related to the role of Protestantism in Lithuanian musical culture, music researchers from across Lithuania and other countries gather in Klaipėda, one of the major cities in the former Lithuania Minor, which has witnessed many dramatic historical upheavals and has been home to many prominent cultural luminaries.
The conference is organised by the Musicological Section of the Lithuanian Composers’ Union in collaboration with the Klaipėda Concert Hall.
“Music of Changes”, offering the best, most rewarding and truly genuine
The upcoming “Music of Changes” Contemporary Music Festival is to take place in Klaipėda from September 7th to October 7th, inviting citizens and visitors of Lithuania’s Capital of Culture 2017 to open up their minds to change and promising plenty of new experiences. By presenting the most daring and exciting musical art of our time, the festival offers an opportunity to focus attention on the ever changing and constantly reviving world of sounds. We sincerely hope that their invigorating flow will inspire changes in our environment and our inner selves.
This year the “Music of Changes” offers what’s best, most rewarding and truly genuine in the entire musical world today, including:
– a unique performative installation Stifters Dinge by Heiner Goebbels;
– a stupefying blast of raucous energy in the performance of the New York-based Bang on a Can All-Stars ensemble;
– Steve Reich’s ode to the modern city life in the programme presented by the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra;
– an intriguing “Concert of Concertos” presented by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra;
– David Lang’s hypnotic music session, featuring the Jauna Muzika Choir and pianist Petras Geniušas;
– inspiring talks with two internationally acclaimed composers – Heiner Goebbels and David Lang;
– a musicological conference, offering new perspectives on the influence of the Reformation on Lithuania’s musical culture.
Let’s get together at the “Music of Changes”!