Justina Paltanavičiūtė, 2011 03 04

St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra. Photo from the archive of

In brief: St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra founded in Vilnius as the Municipality Ensemble in 1995 celebrated its 17th anniversary in Vilnius St. Catherine Church on the 15th of February and in Kaunas, at the State Philharmonic Hall on the 25th of February.

The head of the ensemble Donatas Katkus noted that many members of the orchestra were from Kaunas; therefore, such a decision to celebrate the anniversary in this city was understandable.

According to D.Katkus, the time of madness of St. Christopher Orchestra is already passing by, and this could explain why the birthday celebrated at Kaunas State Philharmonic Hall was not crazy at all and quite temperate.

The concert of two parts was started by Brandenburg Concert No. 6 in B major BWV 1051 of J.S.Bach. The opus was played by part of the orchestra without a conductor. It is rejoicing that the interpretation of J.S. Bach's Concert was not romanticised. The music piece sounded in ascetic and precise Baroque manner.

Afterwards a totally different music piece was presented: Waltz La plus que lente by Clause Debussy. This time violin and chamber orchestra performed, and the solo part was performed by Ingrida Rupaitė. The composition was performed very professionally: the soloist played piano, and the orchestra did not down her sound at all.

Later contemporary music was presented: Concert for string orchestra Odyssey-2 of Osvaldas Balakauskas created specifically for the 17th birthday of St. Christopher Orchestra and dedicated to Donatas Katkus.

In the second part the orchestra returned to the 19th century and paid a tribute to Romanticism – it performed the Sextet for strings in d minor op. 70 called “Souvenir from Florence” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The music piece was performed in light, refined, transparent manner and very harmoniously.

Such was the temperate 17th birthday of St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra. Some playfulness was brought only by the host of the evening Donatas Katkus, who was the conductor as well as the announcer of the concert and who shared some jokes with the audience. The birthday concert did not surprise by any tricks or big drama – the golden middle was chosen and four opuses of different epochs were performed in professional and subtle manner.

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