Sunday, March 16, 2008

Two concerts of one half (each)

Two concerts, starting two hours apart today. Could have made all of the first concert, but without a car, and with needing to be early in the second concert to get a good seat, I left after the first half.

It was the trio 'Fortvio' (piano trio, ....think about it). Consists of Indre Baikstyte (accompanist in the music academy, Ingrida Rupaite (leader of St Christopher's Orchestra), and Povilas Jacunskas (first cello desk of Lithuanian State Orchestra). I have been aware of Povilas since before he started studying at the music academy 7 years ago. Ingrida I heard recently play solos with her orchestra, but there she was a bit lacking in confidence - not the case today! Makes you wonder about interpersonal dynamics in the band....Ms Baikstyte did all the emoting she cannot do as an accompanist. They are all good musicians. In fact, looking at them today, I wondered what it is that happens to Lithuanian musicians once they turn forty and many seem to lose the will to live. Was speaking to someone today who said that the Opera House orchestra is really difficult to motivate - yes, we can hear it!

Our young trio, in existence formally since 2006, has already won some international prizes - the International S Vainuno Chamber Music Competition in Vilnius in 2006, and the third prize at the J Brahms International Chamber Ensemble Competition in Austria last year. Keep an eye on them!

I heard Haydn's G-major piano trio, and Shostakovich's second trip. Both were great. Gee, the energy and the communication the group has! The Haydn was a bit dull for the cello perhaps, but he did not let it show and played along perfectly with his fellow players. The Rondo al' Ongarese was so ....Ongarese ... with loud, dirty cello playing (only where required!) and everything. None of that (falsely) refined 'oh, the notes must all sound nice' playing. This was pure Bull's Blood and temperament.

The Shostakovich, which I recognized when I heard the second movement (and I am surprised I had not reviewed it before) has a funny start, which would be good for a listening exam - 'which instrument starts first'? The cello plays harmonics for what seems forever while then the violin enters with much lower notes. Like the Haydn last movement it has plenty of scope for rumbustious, temperamental playing - I loved the beginning of the last movement, which the violinist and cellist played like the approach of a couple in a tango (not in tango rhythm of course) who then dance violently with each other. I wish I could have heard the remainder of the concert.

But I had to rush to the Lutheran Church for the next concert of Musica Humana of Bach and 21st century Lithuanian music. When I saw the balance of the programme, I was a bit dismayed - one Bach, three modern pieces. But by then I had hailed one of the composers, so had to listen to his work - which was ok.

Like yesterday we were made to stand in memory of someone. I could not believe it yesterday, but now I've checked - it was in memory of Margarita Dvarionaite, a (woman) conductor of the Filharmonija for over 30 years. We had them here, first? Maybe it helped that Dad had been a quite well-known if not exceptional composer (and brother is violin professor, whose children are music teachers...another dynasty).

So although I was aghast that they put the 'Air on a G-string' on the music stands, under the circumstances one could hardly protest.

This was followed by Bach's concerto for oboe d'amore in A major. Oboe d'amore, in Lithuania? Methinks the delectable Robertas Beinaris, our best oboist, has a new toy! It must be the first d'amore anything in Lithuania. And a very fine, dark tone he produced, too. It was a bit lost because he was in the middle of the orchestra, and the pitch is not ideal for that, but hey, keep it coming, Robertas. Played as beautifully, and securely, and confidently as he only knows how.

Osvaldas Balakauskas' clarinet concerto, brand new, was the last piece I heard today. It's in two merged movements, with largely the same rather spiky rhythm for the orchestra throughout (or at least for the first fiddles, practically among whom I was sitting). The second movement read 'Andante' or 'Andantino' on the score, but it was hard to tell the difference. It seemed very virtuosic for the clarinet who was constantly playing. Again his sound was a bit lost among the orchestra, or maybe I was just too close to them - plus I was really paying attention to the first fiddles - who went astray at one stage despite counting very hard. It happens, I suppose. Now, don't ask me if it was atonal (no, almost certainly not) or serial music (also almost certainly not) .... It was quite pleasant, really, but very hard work for the clarinetist.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much! Maybe, we could learn who told such good and acute words about us? We will kindly ask you to come to our next concert. Both movements ;) FortVio

violainvilnius said...

Hi Fortvio, you know me well by sight - I've talked to Povilas before somewhere. (Look at the photo, and think of the name of this blog....) Would always be happy to come to your concerts, as long as I am in Vilnius at the time!