MIKALOJUS KONSTANTINAS ČIURLIONIS
Symphonic Poems: In the Forest/ The Sea
Fugues/ String Quartet
Folk Songs for Choirs
VSSECD003–6/ TT: 3.32’36”
This set of four CDs was issued to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the birth of Čiurlionis, the painter and composer. These digital recordings of his music werw made between 1991 and 2000.
CD1: These symphonic poems are played by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Gintaras Rinkevičius, recorded in 1991.
In the Forest is full of emotional and psychological expression, and a longing for his native land.
The Sea was writen for orchestra and organ. The composition conjures up bright and evocative images, and contains many purely musical ideas. The CD gives the original version of the syphonic poem(prior to this only the version transcribed by Eduardas Balsys has been performed). This recording is also unique because it is the very first digital recording by the Vilnius Recording Studio, the first in the history of Lithuanian discography.
CD2: This CD was recorded by the organist Jūratė Landsbergytė( on the organ of Vilnius Cathedral, 2000) and by the M.K.Čiurlionis String Quartet in 1996.
The fugues were writen in 1902, while Čiurlionis was a student at the Leipzig Conservatoire. Although theey werw writen for piano, they are usually seen as organ compositions. This explains why they have such an unusually broad dynamic range, with so many sudden outbursts of different ideas, and are based on constructive polyphony. This CD contains seven fugues adapted for organ by Professor Leopoldas Digrys. One of the last and most important of Čiurlionis’ compositions, the Fugue in B Flat Minor VL 345, is also on this disc.
The String Quartet in C Minor was composed in 1901 and 1902. It has a rather modest and traditional form, and expresses an elegant and romantic longing for Lithuania.
CD3: Piano Works.
These form the major part of the composer’s output, and they illustrate best the development of his style and his artistic maturity. The 1900–1909 compositions and the preludes for piano, the most mature and original of his works, composed during the last years of his life, are performed by the pianist Aleksandra Juozapėnaitė-Eesmaa, now based in Estonia.
CD4: This CD was recorded by the Jauna Muzika Choir (conductor Vaclovas Augustinas) in 2000. Čiurlionis harmonizaed folk songs for choir between 1904 and 1908, when he was the leader of the choir of the Warsaw Lithuanian Mutual Benefit Society, and later of a society called Vilniaus Kanklės. He understood and felt deeply the nature of old Lithuanian folk songs, which makes the songs harmonized by him different from those by other composers. This CD is based on a new collection of songs prepared using the composer’s original manuscripts( scores and individual voices) from the National M.K.Čiurlionis Museum in Kaunas and the Juozas Žilevičius and Juozas Kreivėnas Lithuanian Musicology Archive in Chicago.
The recording of Čiurlionis folk songs will be additionally distributed on a separate CD.