Vaiva Mažulytė , 2009 09 01

In brief: The last weekend of the summer ended with the last concerts of the 14th Pažaislis Music Festival. Listeners could enjoy vocal music in Birštonas culture centre on the 29th of August and in Pažaislis Monastery on the 30th of August. Romantic duets and songs sounded in the first concert, while romantic arias, duets and choirs were performed in the second concerts. The concerts, which seemed to be similar at the first glance, differed in fact.

Secrets of chamber music were shared by the soloists Rita Preikšaitė, Giedrius Prunskus and pianist Lina Krėpštaitė in Birštonas. Scarce audience had an occasion to get acquainted with rarely performed works of famous composers. The stage solution to perform the stanza of J.Massenet “Love Poem” sung by R.Preikštaitė behind the stage and later to join G.Prunskus on the stage was rather unusual. It was interesting to listen to recitation of singers’ poems too.

Love theme dominated in the concert. Songs and duets of P.Tchaikovsky, M.Jakovlev, A.Grechaninov, R.Schumann resounded in the concert in addition to bigger cycles of J.Massenet and J.Brahms. The programme formed of various composers’ works demanded fast orientation from performers and the ability to dip into different mood and style. They fulfilled this task successfully.

On the following day people were invited to Gala concert closing the festival in Pažaislis Monastery. In addition to Kaunas Symphony Orchestra (chief conductor Modestas Pitrėnas) and Kaunas State Choir (artistic director and chief conductor Petras Bingelis), well-known soloists were invited to the concert: Raminta Vaicekauskaitė, Vaidas Vyšniauskas and Liudas Mikalauskas. Famous arias, duets and choirs of G.Rossini, B.Dvarionas, W.A.Mozart, G.Bizet, P.Mascagni, A.Dvorzak, G.Puccini, G.Verdi and R.Wagner were performed.

The idea of the concert was clear: popular works and famous performers attract the crowd of listeners. Still, is everything so simple? The evaluation of quality of outdoor concerts and requirements for them should be different. Musicians are working in hard conditions due to unfavourable weather. Moreover, the professionalism of performers makes a big impact on the success of the concert. This time the soloists showed their best skills. Arias sung not for the first time and self-trust of performers left a rather good impression.

Meanwhile, the programme without any concept raised the biggest amount of questions. It was impossible to understand why some arias were sung in the original language while others – in Lithuanian. Was it an attempt to please the listener, who did not know too much about music? It is rejoicing that such concerts are visited by more people, among whom there are people who rarely come to the philharmonic. Still, due to this fact the organisers are forced to toss between art of high level and pop culture in order to please the diverse audience.

The article should be dedicated to the millennium of Lithuania’s name, as the 14th Pažaislis Music Festival was dedicated for this occasion. The programme of the festival of three months was really diverse. Still, it remained unclear which event distinguished the festival of this year from thirteen former ones. One may surely use such a grand possibility to grant additional weight to constant activity. Still, are these the real rays of glory? Is there no danger to drown in them?


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