Osvaldas Grinius
www.kamane.lt 2009 06 08

In brief: The idea of organisers of the 14th Pažaislis Music Festival to start the cycle of concerts lasting all the summer by “The Mass” by Leonard Bernstein was original and intriguing. The music was also unusual: complicated at times and speaking in colours typical of the musical genre sometimes.

The chanting of a church choir was intertwined with the wind instrument orchestra marches, recorded episodes were changed by live performance, opera soloists sang along with pop singers. The listener could not relax and had to follow the action on the stage attentively. The theatre features of the Mass were encoded masterfully in the music of the opus.

The attempts of the US singer Douglas Webster to move out the action did not seem very natural at the beginning but later the soloist justified the expectations. The baritone sang the upper notes clearly, he performed with huge expression, only the lower notes were not dramatic enough occasionally. The character of the Celebrant is the central figure of the opus, and Kaunas audience had a chance to enjoy the masterful performance of this role.

The composer left a much smaller load for the rest of participants of ”The Mass”. Still, it was enough to reveal the special qualities of separate soloists. One of the discoveries was the interpretational possibilities of the tenor Rafailas Karpis. The singing of Asmik Grigorian was memorable, the baritone of Laimonas Pautienius sounded colourfully, and the timbre of Evelina Sašenko voice was warm.

The descant from Visaginas Ilja Aksionovas is a doubtless talent. The clear voice of the boy suited the ensemble of experienced soloists well. It was the second acquaintance with the notes of “The Mast” by L.Bernstein for Rosita Čivilytė, and it was rejoicing that this time the singer followed the composer’s indications and did not offer her own interpretations.

Donatas Montvydas and Jeronimas Milius created original characters who replenished the dramaturgy of the opus well. The mild voices of Ąžuoliukas choir singers melted in the flow of music and became a means granting some shade to the music rather than an independent group of performers. Kaunas State Choir received a slightly unusual role – it was distributed into two parts. Still, all singers confirmed once again that this collective could perform music of various styles.

The Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra gladdened the audience by its performance as usual. The reinforced groups of wind and percussion instruments played effectively and did not let any listener doze.

Still, as the concert proceeded, the thought persisted, where it would be better to listen to such a work: in a concert hall or in the open air. The space of Pažaislis Monastery is charming and unique; still, in order to realise the music of L.Bernstein better, one needs concentration and special focus of attention.

Another thought did not leave the head of the author throughout the evening. It appears that the usual “Ite, missa est” may mean something else in addition to an end. Pažaislis Music Festival started in such words is going to be interesting and unusual. The future will show what it will be; on another hand, every end encourages to wait for a new beginning.

Read comments
Write your comment