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2017 03 06

Lord Yehudi Menuhin has named Kaunas State Choir the collective of the highest level. The choir that is well known in Lithuania and abroad for the performance of large-scale world classic’s pieces is as well famous for the nurturance and spread of Lithuanian music. Pieces by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Česlovas Sasnauskas, Juozas Naujalis, Stasys Šimkus, Vladas Švedas, Bronius Kutavičius and Lithuanian authors belonging to the younger generation have a special place in the repertoire and discography of the collective.

The festive concert on the day that is important to the whole Lithuania is not accidental. The head of National Philharmonic Rūta Prusevičienė says: “Artistic, civic and communal activity of the choir and its’ founder Petras Bingelis, spread of Lithuanian composers’ oeuvre, thought for the audience in the regions and representing of the Lithuanian choral culture in the world just identifies the choir’s name with the most important events and dates of the restored Independent Lithuania.”

Led by its’ art director and conductor Petras Bingelis the choir during the concert will introduce the programme “Lietuva brangi” (“Lithuania My Dear”). The song written by J. Naujalis upon the lyrics of Maironis that has become almost the second national anthem permanently sounds in the choir’s artistic activity as the beautiful and meaningful keynote. Performed by the singers from Kaunas in 2012 it witnessed the Lithuanian music tradition during the 26th Macao Music Festival that took place in China. CD recorded by the choir in 2000 and containing the patriotic and religious pieces by the most famous Lithuanian composers from the beginning of the 20th century is as well called “Lithuania My Dear“.

The most beautiful Lithuanian choral music will be performed during the event. In the programme there are represented several generations of Lithuanian music creators: the first composers of national music – Vincas Kudirka, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Aleksandras Kačanauskas, as well Julius Juzeliūnas, Rimvydas Žigaitis, Zigmas Virkšas who have cultivated Lithuanian music later and nowadays authors belonging to several generations – Algimantas Bražinskas, Vytautas Barkauskas, Vytautas Miškinis, Vaclovas Augustinas.

The major part of the concert will be conducted by the Kaunas choir’s leader Petras Bingelis who has been honoured with numerous distinctions. In 1993 he was awarded with the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Premium, in 1994 awarded Grand Duke Gediminas Medal of the 4th degree, in 2003 – with the Comandor’s Great Cross of the medal “For the merits to Lithuania”. In 2008 was elected the Honour Citizen of Kaunas city, in 2013 was granted Ministry of Culture sign of honour “Nešk savo šviesą ir tikėk” (“Carry your light and believe”). The exclusive and touching estimation links P. Bingelis with the patriarch of Lithuanian choral music – Juozas Naujalis whose pieces will be performed in the programme of the concert. Maestro is keeping the original wand of Juozas Naujalis that has been handed to him by the composer’s daughter Zofija Naujalytė more than thirty years ago.

The young conductors Kęstutis Jakeliūnas and Mindaugas Radzevičius will as well appear at the conductor’s stand. K. Jakeliūnas will conduct composition by V. Miškinis “Oi šąla šąla” (“It is freezing”) and M. Radzevičius – a song by Z. Virkšas “Oi, ant kalno” (“Oh, on the Mountain”).

K. Jakeliūnas says that composition by V. Miškinis “Oi, šąla šąla” ir one of the most colourful composer’s pieces. “Since the very first phrase of the choir – the canon that is sung by sopranos, the music carries to the magical play of the first snowflakes and when other voices join gradually the harmony develops up to the graceful spree of the snow storm. The brightest colour and impression of light is felt in the middle part of the piece. When soprano is singing solo and the choir answers, at the end of every phrase a bell rings and it seems that it stops the flowing of the time, - shared his thoughts conductor.

K. Jakeliūnas describes the opportunity to work with the choir as an exceptional experience, plenty of everyday searches of the music’s depths, climbing to the heights of mastership, professional advices of P. Bingelis: “These are indeed inestimable values that give sense to the life and creative activity and encourage materialise your skills, to release the creative potential.

M. Radzevičius compares the choir to the small state where everyone though being different is working for one goal: ‘This is a team-work. Often it is necessary to search for the compromise, to listen to others attitude. I think this is the way to reach the best result”. The conductor says that every season of th choir’s creative activity brings new challenges, interesting programmes, often – smart musical experiments and create dynamic atmosphere that enables to reveal artists’ creative potential.

Kaunas State Choir is waiting for its listeners in Lithuanian National Philharmonic (Aušros Vartų str. 5, Vilnius) on March 11 d., 7 p. m. The choir will be accompanied by Renata Marcinkutė-Lesieur (organ) and Beata Andriuškevičienė (piano).

 Musicolog Rasa Aukštuolytė