10 days ago, in the music academy, we had the 70th birthday celebration of Lithuania's best clarinettist, Algirdas Budrys - seems like only yesterday that we celebrated his 65th in a long series of concerts at the Filharmonija. He's probably the oldest professor at the music academy who still performs, and he does it well. He played, as well as a number of his present and former pupils, and grandpupils.
The concert began with his Grand Trio (Budrys, Petras Geniusas and David Geringas) playing two movements from Brahms' piano trio op. 114. Beautifully played, of course - I sat close to the cello (quite an achievement in the packed hall), and oh, Geringas' sound! He really is such a stunning cellist! I was also contemplating his good looks - for a guy 9 years older than me he looks pretty damn good, a man at the peak of his life.
There were lots of performances; outstanding were also Budrys' students Rimvydas Savickas and Azuolas ('acorn' in English?) Paulauskas putting together a very nice performance of Krommer's concerto for two clarinets, making it completely their own.
But who were these people from the Kaunas end of clarinet playing? 4 teenage boys, Zilvinas Brazauskas, Ernestas Sidiskis, Antanas Makstutis and Andrius Polianskas made everyone smile with their fun, funky, highly spirited performance of D'Rivera's 'Contradora' - what talents, what choreography and how much fun they had - and we! There was a quite a bit of life, nay, a cornucopia of life (that sadly seems to disappear as people hit 25). We need to get that inoculated into the music academy, too. Similarly Dainius Karzenauskas, Dalius Pilikevicius, Eitvydas Gavutis, and Rimvydas Vilkas, saxophonists from the Kaunas faculty of the music academy produced a spirited and fun version of Wibernu's 'Afrika'. Ok, so these pieces were light music, but there's nothing wrong with that - they were in any case technically challenging, and again played with gusto! Kaunas, get yourself known in the world! Your wind players are outstanding!
(And my readers' homework for today is memorizing all these Lithuanian names).