The St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra has gained popularity in Klaipėda mainly due to its long-standing artistic director and chief conductor, Donatas Katkus. Ever since Modestas Barkauskas has taken up this position in 2017, he sought to maintain a high standard of professionalism, a reputation of a versatile orchestra, and attention to the music by Lithuanian composers.
The programme “Far Away, Till Midnight” that promises many pleasant surprises for the audience was named after a piece by the eminent Lithuanian composer, Bronius Kutavičius. Scored for a rare combination of instruments – saxophone and string quintets – this work reveals the composer’s interest in Indian classical music. According to Kutavičius, “there are 24 modes in Indian music, one for each hour of the day. In Far Away, Till Midnight, I used modes until sunset.”
In the performance of this work, which introduces us to a unique and bewitching sound world, the orchestra will team up with the Atomos Saxophone Quintet from Riga under the artistic leadership of Arvydas Kazlauskas. An ardent performer and teacher of music for classical saxophone, Arvydas Kazlauskas will also appear solo in a virtuoso piece by Belgian composer Piet Swerts, entitled Kotekan.
Yet another enthusiast of contemporary music, violinist Rusnė Mataitytė, will play solo part in the Concerto brio written for her by Osvaldas Balakauskas. Some sections of this composition will remind us of the Baroque concerto grosso, while others will feature some recognisable elements of jazz. The next surprise of this programme will await the audience in the performance of Anton Webern’s Langsamer Satz, written in the post-romantic style by the member of the Second Viennese School. Written last year, the new piece called Cinema by Ramūnas Motiekaitis will be no less intriguing. The composer says about his piece: “Too pretty to be true. That’s cinema. Can there be anything more realistic than cinema?”
This programme will be conducted by the talented young conductor, Karolis Variakojis. Inquired in one of the interviews what he thinks the concert is, he replied: “The fulfilment of expectations, which should bring us closer to the ‘musical truth’ of the work. The fruit of all rehearsals, all repeats. If this works, the joy is overwhelming.”