Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis: Miške (In the Forest)
Arvo Pärt: Como cierva sedienta
Pēteris Vasks: Epifania
Arvo Pärt: Te Deum
A storytelling forest; blue mountains; mystery; synaesthesia and the beloved minimalism of Arvo Pärt – voices from the Baltics at the Bridging Europe festival.
Although the Lithuanian Čiurlionis only lived to the age of thirty-five, he composed four hundred pieces and painted three hundred works of art. Associating colours with notes came naturally to him: he played with the visual arts as well as music. Miške is an emotional, musical landscape. The symphonic piece takes the listener to a fairy tale forest, where we have nothing to do but enjoy the atmosphere and the paintings being projected, and let our fantasy soar.
Similarly, the works of the Estonian Arvo Pärt allow us to enjoy this velvety mystery. Pärt is is one of the most-played composers alive today. He has veritable cult status, and his music has been featured in over one hundred films. He is also known for the most productive artistic crisis in the history of music literature. Pärt retired completely in 1968, returning only eight years later to create his own compositional style: tintinnabuli (small bells). His new music is the modern continuation of medieval church music. In its timeless and deep, holy minimalism, both ancient and modern at the same time, all notes receive the same kind of love. Como cierva sedienta is Pärt’s first piece written for soprano voice and orchestra, reaching back to the words of Psalms 42 and 43.
Similarly to Čiurlionis’s work, Te Deum was also born out of synaesthesia: “The Swiss artist Martin Ruf once said that he can see more than twenty shades of blue if he looks at the mountains on a clear day. His words immediately turned into sounds within me: I began to hear those blue hills.”
The third composer on the programme, the Latvian Pēteris Vasks, is also attracted to minimalism. His works are pure and talkative; Epifania was composed only for strings (whose language Vasks, a former violinist and cellist, speaks particularly well).