Osvaldas Grinius
www.kamane.lt 2007 03 15 In brief: What relates the Norwegian composer Edward Grieg and our composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis? An expert would start searching for relations in the feeling created by music, in studies or elsewhere. However, every music admirer of Kaunas may answer – they are related by the festival. The event uniting these two musicians was organised for the tenth time already on March 13. The festival of E.Grieg and M.K.Čiurlionis music relates Kaunas and Hordaland county in Norway by the friendship ties.


A traditional programme of well-known music pieces was chosen for the opening concert of the festival – the symphony poem “In the Forest” of M.K.Čiurlionis, suite of E.Grieg “Per Gynt“ and scenes from the unfinished drama of the same composer “Olav Tryggvason”. Such a programme obliges artists to present a high-quality and expressive performance. Therefore, the strongest forces of Kaunas were rallied – Kaunas Symphony Orchestra, Kaunas State Choir and soloists of Kaunas State Musical Theatre.


When the first accords of M.K.Čiurlionis’ poem started sounding, the warm and equal sound of the orchestra was heard. Romantic music is close to the style of this orchestra. However, despite the rich colour of the orchestra and attempts of the musicians to play lively, persuasively, the symphonic poem sounded rather boringly, the lack of dynamics and more expressive interpretation was felt.


The same may be stated about the performance of “Pero Gynt”. The fourth part of the suite “In the Cave of Mountain King” almost turned into a catastrophe when the tempo was speeded up. The question arose then why the chief conductor Modestas Pitrėnas is seen rather rarely at the conductor's desk in concerts of Kaunas Symphony Orchestra.


The music of E.Grieg for the drama “Olav Trygvasson” is imposing and full of northern mystics. The beginning of the music piece gave hope that the listeners would dip into the magic world of Scandinavian epos. Still, the mystic aura disappeared soon. One of the reasons could be the singing of Juozas Malikonis who performed the clergyman's part. The experience accumulated by the singer was not sufficient for the performance of this music piece, the high notes were rather shouted than sung. Rita Preikšaitė, who also has much experience in singing mezzo soprano parts, did not spare the power of her voice this time. Due to the efforts to sing louder, her voice started trembling.


The language could not be heard clearly while singing as well. It became clear in the first scene that the singers were singing in German rather than the Norwegian language. Moreover, the choir which gave hope at the beginning also frustrated the audience later. The lack of musical organisation and clear pronunciation was felt.


It could be felt during the concert, that the professional collective of Kaunas and soloists lacked rehearsals to “tame” the impressive music piece of E.Grieg. The jubilee festival was started by a loud accord. However, was it resonant?

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