Osvaldas Grinius, 2008 11 06


In brief: All Souls Day is the time for concentration, peace and reflections. One may dip into reflections while trying to reach cemeteries in traffic jams; also, one may choose to visit the palace of eternally live academic music, the Philharmonic, and search for inspiration and peace in music sounds resounding there.

The Philharmonic marked the period of All Souls Day by two concerts. The programme “Across the World from Baroque to the 20th Century” of the family duet of Vytautas and Gražina Kurnickai was presented in the renovated hall on October 31, and the traditional “Requiem” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart sounded under the vaults of the Garrison Church on November 2.

Even though the last day of October is not attributed to the period of All Souls Day, several works related with this theme were performed during the evening; still, no big prominence was given to it. The programme performed by the soloist of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre V.Kurnickas and G.Skinderytė-Kurnickienė appeared to be a jumble of music pieces of various authors and epochs hardly related with the name of the programme.

V.Kurnickas is a performer well-known to Kaunas audience with stable and formed skills of interpretation. He justified to be a good opera soloist during the evening. His voice sounded the best while singing the scene from the opera “Queen of Spades” by Piotr Tchaikovsky. When music pieces from the Baroque epoch were interpreted, the superficial understanding of musical and verbal text as well as pronunciation mistakes of the Italian language became prominent.

The pianist Renata Milašiūtė-Drungilienė who accompanied the performers played responsibly and accurately, still, too carefully and modestly. Some surprises were presented by the soloist G.Skinderytė-Kurnickienė. Even though the performer finished her studies in 2004, she still makes mistakes typical of students. Uneven vocal line, poor intonation and diction, incorrect phonetics of foreign languages, stylistic discrepancies could be noticed in the performance of the soprano singer. Strange, but the complicated Mermaid’s aria from Antonino Dvořak’s opera “Mermaid“ was performed the best most probably.

“Requiem” by W.A.Mozart performed annually on All Souls Day has become a beautiful tradition cherished by Kaunas State Choir. This year due to economic reasons parts of soloists were performed by Kaunas State Choir singers. The budget of the Philharmonic could be improved by this, but the quality of performance surely deteriorated.

Kaunas State Choir and Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra are professional collectives that have their image in Lithuania and abroad. The name of the collectives promises the respective level of professionalism and artistic performance. This level was maintained on the evening of All Souls Day. The choir sounded energetically and warmly under the conduction of Petras Bingelis, the orchestra played evenly and spread the best emotions.

The only professional of this field, tenor Mindaugas Zimkus represented soloists well. The version of solo part known from earlier concerts sounded in high quality and lyrically. Other three soloists: soprano Jurgita Žilinskaitė, mezzo soprano Jurgita Šalčiūtė and bass Antanas Kulakauskas did not rise to the heights of W.A.Mozart’s music interpretation. The reason for this was the specifics of choir singing, which prevents the voice from spreading freely above the orchestra, little experience in interpretation and sometimes insufficient vocal skills.

Still, the general level of this concert was much higher, and the soprano soloist who sang on October 31 at the Philharmonic should work hard to reach this level.

Are performers guilty themselves that they are cast to the depth of music with a friendly wish not to drown without a lifebelt? And perhaps it is the perfunctory attitude of concert organisers that Kaunas residents will be satisfied with anything. Unfortunately, nobody wins in either of the cases if a festival of professional frustration is offered instead of concentration on All Souls Day.

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