(Impressions from the opening of Pažaislis Festival) Vaiva Mažulytė
www.kamane.lt, 2008 06 08

Opening of Pažaislis Festival. Photographs by L.Brundza

The calendar summer and the 13th international Pažaislis started on June 1. It may be compared with the opening of the music beach at Kaunas Lagoon: flows of contrasting melodies, transparent depths of music pieces refresh body and soul.

It is rejoicing that no plot of land remained for sitting in the great yard of Pažaislis monastery. On another hand, such amount of people caused inconvenience – traffic jams, audience running late, people leaving the concert before its end in order to avoid the crush.

True, the more careful people arrived one hour before and did not rush home. The walk around the architectural ensemble and sharing of impressions under the trees perfectly suits the general atmosphere of the event.

It is good that this year no motley of opera arias performed by duets of classic and pop music stars was offered. The attempt of the festival organisers to include the music of Pink Floyd, which has become classics already, and the stage cantata of the 20th century famous composer Carl Orff “Triumph of Aphrodite” into the programme was interesting. It is only a pity that four songs from “Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd” arranged for the symphony orchestra by Jeremy Coleman did not make the wished effect.

No arrangement may surpass the original works of Pink Floyd. Meanwhile, the cantata from the trilogy of C.Orff, which sounded right after Pink Floyd, could have appeared strange to listeners. Even though I approve of performance of works played more rarely, still I did not understand the general concept of the concert.

The works of C.Orff are very closely related with the theatre. The result of creative searches of the composer is the theatre triptych “Triumphs”: the popular “Carmina Burana”, “Catuli Carmina” and “Triumph of Aphrodite”, which resounded in Pažaislis.

The cantatas should be sung, acted and danced. Therefore, I offer an idea for the new project: to stage the entire triptych of C.Orff. It could turn into an interesting project which could help understand the creative works of the composer.

On the other hand, it was not the programme that spoiled the wonderful evening the most. The biggest complaints may be expressed to the sound engineers. I had luck to sit at the left loudspeaker during the first part of the concert. It was absolutely no pleasure to hear the rasp every time music reached higher or lower registers.

This is why I rushed to listen to “Triumph of Aphrodite” to the right. No rasp sounded there but the total power of the orchestra and choir was missing there. The organisers should take a good thought regarding other concerts in the yard of Pažaislis and not to spare money for the space which requires special sound equipment, as the success of the concert depends on sound quality in essence.

Possible notices to the performers are not purposeful as I am sure that things heard with sound problems corresponded the reality. Anyway, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra (art director and chief conductor Gintaras Rinkevičius), Kaunas State Choir (art director and chief conductor Petras Bingelis), main soloists - Joana Gedmintaitė (soprano), Viestur Janson (tenor), Egidijus Dauskurdis (bass), and the conductor G.Rinkevičius have deserved gratitude.

All performers needed much effort to play and sing with the sun shining into the eyes and with the wind blowing at the microphones.

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