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From the ‘authentic’ Baroque sound to modern technology
The 42nd Klaipėda Music Spring Festival, a magnificent festival of classical music, is approaching. From March 29th to April 21st it will be anchored at the Klaipėda Concert Hall that may be seen as the largest harbour of classical music on the Lithuanian sea coast where historical heritage is highly valued and modern culture is being continuously nurtured.
The current programme, which presents a captivating synthesis of tradition and novelty, offers seven spectacular events. An ocean of sound, turbulent and powerful, will surge in the passages of virtuoso soloists and undulate in the performances of symphonic and chamber orchestras. These concerts will feature both repertoire staples and world premieres of the newly written pieces. The audience will be lured by the sound of historical instruments and bewildered by invasion of new technology into the field of art music culture.
We invite you to inaugurate spring with music! While listening to music, you would become oblivious to anything else. While relishing the sounds, your soul would race down the winding route of thoughts, aspirations and fantasies. The perfect beauty and power of music will enthral with unrestrained energy and present moments of joyous elation!
Wednesday 29 March, 6.30 pm
The opening concert “Classical Fountains” will immerse you in the sounds of piano and string instruments. Once again, pianist Lukas Geniušas will share the stage with the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra. Concert itineraries of this highly gifted and promising virtuoso have extended far beyond the boundaries of Europe. His artistic biography boasts victories at the most important international piano competitions, such as Silver Medals awarded at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw and Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, which led to appearances with the major orchestras and evening-length recitals. This time he returns to Lithuania from concerts in Singapore and Japan where he appears with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, and then he will travel to Paris where he is bound to appear with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
Lukas Geniušas, who holds dual citizenship and represents Lithuanian and Russian cultures, has once revealed: “Coming back to Lithuania always feels like home to me. I’ve felt like that since childhood and, I’m sure, this feeling will stay with me forever.”
In Klaipėda, we have already witnessed Lukas’s solo appearances, as piano duo with his father, Petras Geniušas, and as soloist with the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra. In the upcoming programme he will perform classical pieces from the 18th and 20th centuries by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn, Dmitry Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten.
Friday 31 March, 6.30 pm
“Cascades of Sounds”
A concert entitled “Cascades of Sounds” will mark the 20th anniversary of one of the most outstanding and productive Lithuanian chamber ensembles, the Kaskados Piano Trio. The trio of excellent musicians boasts an extensive repertoire, encompassing works from various historical periods, but dedicates most of its time and energy to fostering and promoting contemporary Lithuanian music. No wonder then that they decided to include the world premiere of Anatolijus Šenderovas’ Concerto for Piano Trio and Symphony Orchestra. The anniversary programme also features excerpts from his ballet Desdemona.
Modestas Pitrėnas will stand at the helm of the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, eagerly doing his “insanely captivating and fascinating job.” He is currently one of the leading Lithuanian conductors, a recipient of Lithuanian National Arts and Culture Prize and Baltic Assembly Prize and Principal Conductor of the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra. Together with soloists Lilija Gubaidulina (soprano), Ieva Prudnikovaitė (mezzo-soprano) and Edgaras Davidovičius (tenor), he will lead the orchestra in the performance of Dmitry Shostakovich’s song cycle From Jewish Folk Poetry. The programme will be rounded off with the performance of Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony.
Wednesday 5 April, 6.30 pm
“The Colour of Water”
The State Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga in the single sinfonietta type orchestra not only in Latvia but also in the Baltic countries. It is like a melting pot for various musical traditions coming from West and East Europe. This is where the unique, deliberately nurtured performance style is being continuously kneaded and polished, with the primary aim to achieve an impeccable quality of sound. Sinfonietta Rīga gives regular performances in Latvia and elsewhere. Three times it has been announced the winner of the Great Music Award of Latvia, last time in March 2016.
The major highlight of this concert is the world premiere of new work for solo saxophones and chamber orchestra by Lithuanian composer Justė Janulytė entitled The Colour of Water. Co-commissioned by the Saxophonia Festival in Riga and the Klaipėda Music Spring Festival in Klaipėda, this work, in composer’s words, “is an attempt to poetically reflect on the illusory colour of water, which is actually non-existent.”
Lithuanian saxophonist Arvydas Kazlauskas, who currently resides and teaches in Latvia, will join the orchestra, performing on soprano, alto and baritone saxophones. Besides the world premiere, Normunds Šnē, artistic director and conductor of the Sinfonietta Rīga, has programmed works by Joseph Haydn, Jachin Pousson and Erkki-Sven Tüür.
Friday 7 April, 6.30 pm
“St John Passion”
Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion is a work filled with enormous conviction. It was written by a deeply religious man who sought to glorify God in his works. It narrates the Passion of Christ according to the Gospel of John and is usually performed during Lent before Easter.
The initiator behind the upcoming performance of this magnificent oratorio is conductor Andres Mustonen who is a world renowned expert of early music and long-standing artistic director of the celebrated Hortus Musicus ensemble, as well as a charismatic violinist and conductor in his own right. Extensive knowledge of the most diverse musical repertoire enables him to find his own key to the interpretation of works from different genres and periods. He will steer the performances of Bach’s St John Passion in Klaipėda and Tallinn, with the participation of Lithuanian and Estonian musicians, including the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, with the complementary wind section, the Tallinn Boys’ Choir and Estonian singers as soloists.
It is going to be an excellent opportunity for collaboration of musicians from the two countries, an opportunity to strike a sensitive chord with the listeners and reflect on the meaning of life. At the same time, this performance will mark 500 years since the Reformation, thereby affirming our commonality, faith, and hope.
Friday 14 April, 6.30 pm
“Bach and France”
The ensemble Les Talens Lyriques was founded twenty-five years ago by harpsichordist and conductor Christophe Rousset. This instrumental and vocal formation owes its name to the subtitle of an opera by Rameau: Les Fêtes d’Hébé.
Proponents of a broad vocal and instrumental repertoire ranging from Early Baroque to emerging Romanticism, the musicians of Les Talens Lyriques endeavour to throw light on the great masterpieces of musical history, providing perspective by presenting rarer or little known works important as missing links in the chain of European musical heritage. This musicological and editorial work is a priority for the ensemble, leading to its great success with audiences and critics alike.
Les Talens Lyriques range from Monteverdi toHandel and Lully, taking in on the way Mozart, Salieri, Gluck and Beethoven, as well Berlioz,Massenet and Saint-Saëns and other authors. The recreation of these works goes hand in hand with close collaboration with prominent stage directors and choreographers.
Alongside the lyrical repertoire, Les Talens Lyriques also explore other musical genres such as the madrigal, the cantata, the symphony and the vast corpus of sacred music.
Les Talens Lyriques are involved in this way with performances around the world in formations varying from a handful to over sixty musicians representing every generation.
Les Talens Lyriques have also been working in schools of the Greater Paris area. They introduce young secondary school pupils to music with an ambitious programme of artistic actions and innovative teaching initiatives.
The programme “Bach et la France” is amusical dialogue between Germany and France.
Wednesday 19 April, 6.30 pm
“The Heavenly Life”
Lithuanian bass-baritone Kostas Smoriginas Jr. currently enjoys a successful international career as an opera singer and soloist, making frequent appearances at the Royal Opera House at Convent Garden in London and other major opera venues in Great Britain, Italy, France, Germany, and the U. S. He might be considered a true expert of bass-baritone roles in Mozart operas. His engagements in the productions of Mozart operas have thus far included Leporello (Don Giovanni) at La Scala, Milan, at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and in Bordeaux; Don Giovanni in Santiago and Toulouse; Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) for San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, and Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre; and Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) for Vilnius City Opera.
Celebrated arias selected from these operas make the core of his programme to be presented by Kostas Smoriginas at the Klaipėda Concert Hall together with the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra under its chief conductor and artistic director, Gintaras Rinkevičius. In addition to accompanying the operatic arias, the Orchestra will also perform Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. Several decades ago Gintaras Rinkevičius and his newly founded orchestra embarked on a series of concerts featuring complete Mahler symphonies, which resulted in critically acclaimed recordings and instigated a new wave of interest in Mahler’s music in Lithuania. Soprano Lina Dambrauskaitė will perform solo in Mahler’s Fourth and add some stunning coloraturas in the excerpts from Mozart operas.
Friday 21 April, 6.30 pm
“When we make music, we have to think about ways to use our art to aid society. And society is not limited to a small circle of artists; it embraces us all,” claimed German composer and music producer Sven Helbig during his visit in Lithuania last autumn. What is really amazing about this original artist is that he often prefers smaller venues in more remote places to the largest halls in the big cities. He welcomes people with his ‘democratic’ music and they come to listen to what he has to offer. In live performances he combines the sound of a large orchestra with electronica, adding appropriate lighting and visualizations when needed. His live appearances attract crowds of people all around the globe.
His debut appearance at the Klaipėda Concert Hall together with the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra will feature his Pocket Symphonies. Sven Helbig will be participating as performer of electronica part, also adding some extra tones on the piano and vibraphone. Pocket Symphonies are twelve miniatures for orchestra and piano quartet in the form of songs, in which the composer presents his themes in digestible pieces, from two to five minutes in length. These pieces can of course be put into a pocket and listened to on the journey between underground stations, as they provide an outstandingly high-quality soundtrack for everyday life. Their catchy melodies and harmonies make them highly reminiscent of film music. “I realize that people are open and can accept more complex music. If listeners can feel that this music is meant for them, then it works,” says Helbig who seems to have no difficulty in finding a way into every listener’s heart with his music.