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2014

CHOIR'S REPERTOIRE – EXCLUSIVE CLASSICAL MUSIC MASTERPIECES


2014 02 06


There is probably no such a person in Lithuania who does not know Kaunas State Choir, has not heard its singing or seen the founder and chief conductor of this collective – Petras Bingelis. In the musical landscape of Lithuania the choir seems to exist unconsciously: without tensions, exaggerated and noisy announcements. Such a sublime existence like singing itself testifies – participating of this choir in the process of music life of Lithuania and even Europe is natural and necessary.


Often the renown of the choir echoes from afar: famous international festivals, great concert halls, palaces and castles of foreign countries. Nevertheless those who are eager to hear choir’s singing here, in Lithuania as well have a lot of occasions. The choir sings in the concert halls and churches of our country, in summer time as well in Pazaislis and other music festivals of Lithuania.

 

This year celebrating its 45th anniversary the choir enters the age of maturity and wisdom with significant pieces, the most important being the manuscripts of Ludwig van Beethoven.

 

On the 12th of January in the National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Lithuania (LNOBT) Kaunas State and National Opera and Ballet Theatre Choirs, soloists and orchestra under the baton of Juozas Domarkas performed "Missa solemnis" by the last of the Viennese classics. This piece consisting of five parts and distinguishing by complicated choral parties the composer himself considered as the most important, complicated and innovatory piece in his oeuvre.

 

Conductor P. Bingelis as well considers "Missa solemnis" as one of the most significant pieces in the choir’s activity: "Few particular pieces had the essential impact on the choir’s maturity and harmony: "Requiem" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "Christmas oratorio" and "Mass in B minor" by Johann Sebastian Bach and "Missa solemnis" by L. van Beethoven. Those pieces had been prepared by the choir yet during the Soviet period when the immutable meaning of the Mass was considered to be a survival of religious ideology. We were very careful and discreet those days and first of all performed these pieces in the hall of Piotr Tchaykovsky’s conservatoire in Moscow. As local music critics and journalists did not stint compliments regarding the interpretation those pieces shortly were performed in Lithuania. Here nobody could reproach: the performance was positively met in Moscow!"

 

On the 30th of January in the Congress Palace in Vilnius during the concert dedicated to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Lithuanian State Symphonic Orchestra the choir together with soloists Irena Bespalovaitė (soprano), Jovita Vaškevičiūte (mezzo-soprano), Edgaras Montvidas (tenor), Michail Kazakov (bass) under the baton of Gintaras Rinkevičius performed the final part of the 9th symphony.

 

The 9th symphony is a score that has an exclusive place in the history of the choir. The choir has performed it under the baton of such conductors as Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich , Justus Franz.

 

Perhaps the most momentous performance of the 9th symphony took place in the "Am Gendarmenmarkt" concert hall in Berlin on the 12th of January, 2003 when Kaunas State Choir took part in the solemn concert held on the occasion of UNESCO decision to include the manuscript of the symphony into the list of World documents heritage ("Memory of the World"). On this prominent occasion the choir performed together with the Philharmonic of Nations Orchestra under the baton of J. Frantz. Later he acknowledged: "I have always had warm feelings towards the Kaunas Choir, the world's most talented large ensemble of singers, led by the most talented maestro, Petras Bingelis".

 

In April one more momentous musical event is waiting for the admirers of Kaunas State Choir and L. van Beethoven’s music - an impressive vocal-instrumental score by L. van Beethoven – oratorio "Christ in the Mount of Olives" will be performed.

Alina Ramanauskienė

Nemunas. No 5