Jan. 25, 2022
Arvydas Malcys and Rūta Lipinaitytė: New Violin Concerto Tells a Story About Us
Author: Beata Baublinskienė
Publication: Lietuvos rytas
Jan. 25, 2022
Author: Beata Baublinskienė
Publication: Lietuvos rytas
On 29 January, the Concerto for Violin and the String Orchestra by composer Arvydas Malcys will be premiered at the National Philharmonic Society. A new piece by the composer whose opuses can often be heard not only at Lithuania’s but also foreign concert halls will be performed by violinist Rūta Lipinaitytė and the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Modestas Pitrėnas.
– Arvydas, you are a hard-working composer: the catalogue of the Music Information Centre Lithuania (MICL) lists almost 144 different pieces by you. Still, this is your first work in the field of a classical genre. What led to the decision to create a violin concerto?
Arvydas Malcys: I have always admired numerous remarkable pieces of music for violin. When there is plenty of good music, it is both curious and hard to commit to one more opus. The idea to write a violin concerto came during an informal conversation with Rūta Prusevičienė, director of the Philharmonic Society, and Sergej Krylov, a violinist and the head of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra. This concerto was commissioned by the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society. Forms and fashion of music change but passion and the human content always remain the same. I am sure that today both performers and listeners are missing those special moments in music which make you fall in love in one or another new piece of music – as in the past when people were fascinated by works of Mozart, Schubert or Brahms...
The winds of modernism have almost died down, so you can see music from different eras merged in one work. This score has a certain plot with its monologues, dialogues and allegories. I tried to construct a concerto out of many fragments that would reflect the possibilities of the violin, the cultural background of today, the modern-day pulse, the hopes and the struggles of people. I wanted the listener to love this story of our experiences, of love and its loss, of the people we meet, of our travels, of the trials of life…
The beginning of the Concerto conveys a premonition of the longed-for spring, like the long-awaited return of birds to their homes, their clucking and joy at their return. The beginning of the work was inspired by a beautiful spring morning, when I saw a view out of my car window: huge flocks of birds flying back to Lithuania. There were so many of them, and all of nature was longing for them and rejoicing at their return.
– In the genre of concerto, the personality of the soloist is very important. Your piece of work will be played by one of the most prominent violinists on our stage, a laureate of the Golden Disc, Rūta Lipinaitytė. What can you tell us about your collaboration with this violinist?
A.M.: Rūta is a charismatic performer who is very comfortable on stage. She is artistic, technical and likes challenges. I am impressed by her diligence and self-reliance. I am delighted with Rūtas’ mission of culture – her desire to look for, to prepare and perform pieces of work by the Lithuanian composers.
Her initiative to record all known works for solo violin by Lithuanian composers and publish them on YouTube is solid and meaningful. The relationship of the performer to contemporary music is important for every composer. I remember very well the time when the Lithuanian composers wrote a lot of string quartets because they were inspired by the Vilnius Quartet. It was the phase when many works for violin emerged thanks to the initiative of the tireless violinist Raimundas Katilius. I see Rūta as the one who continues his mission to promote and inspire the Lithuanian contemporary music for violin. Rūta has already played my Concerto for Violin, Viola and String Orchestra and has recorded a piece for solo violin “Narcissus” (available on YouTube channel). In fact, the concerto for violin, viola and string orchestra had to be performed much earlier with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra but it was postponed several times due to the pandemic, and now, when the Board of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society has found a new date for a concert, it will be performed together with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra.
– Rūta, how do you find rehearsing the new piece of work? Do you have much contact with the author in preparation for the premiere?
Rūta Lipinaitytė: It’s going very well; we are now looking for the key with the National Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Modestras Pitrėnas. We certainly have a lot of contact with the author. I appreciate Arvydas Malcys’ confidence in the performer, but at the same time I understand his infinite care for the new work, his desire for the listener to hear, experience and understand both what is written in the sheet music and the other world that exists in-between the notes.
– Could you describe the Violin Concerto by Arvydas Malcys? Could you compare it to other similar pieces of music? R.L.: This Concerto tells a colourful story that I believe in; a story of an artist’s life in which a violin is a character that embodies an artist’s soul. It is a wandering character that wants to be loved, heard and understood by others.
R.L.: This music is full of childhood memories of losses, trials, disappointment, and serves as a tool for conveying the dreams an artist has. The finale of the Concerto is completely different – in it, the solo violin and the orchestral tutti symbolise the leader and a gang of like-minded people who make noise, shout, laugh, and mock others. These images are partly the composer’s own imagining, partly my own perception of the work. It is always interesting to hear the audience’s opinion after a concert – maybe others will see a different character, maybe they will hear a different story, echoes of their childhood? Music by Arvydas Malcys always reflects a full range of human feelings. I do not compare music; each piece leaves a deep and very different imprint on my heart. I love the process of getting to know a piece of music – from the timid first touches to the sincere love. This path of discovery is always very colourful: full of doubts, searches, joys, even anger, disputes, disagreements. It is like with another human being: you have to find the right key to the heart of both the other person and the piece of music. And when you find it, the established friendship brings infinitely many pleasant moments, warms your heart and inspires you.
– Rūta, what fascinates you about contemporary music and the work of Lithuanian composers in general?
R.L.: I really play a lot of music by Lithuanian composers. Why? In part, it has to do with patriotism. At all times, the first performers of new works have usually been the composer’s compatriots. Who, if not the performer, can open the way for a new creation to enter the hearts of listeners? But it is also a genuine love: when I play the Lithuanian music, I feel it well, it is simply my music, I love it, I respect it, it is a part of me. Besides, I also like to choose unknown pieces because I see a deep meaning in the performance of such music. Listeners are not always ready to take risk and listen to some unheard music, but a performer provides listeners with the opportunity of getting surprised and discovering something new. These emotions are no less valuable than the pleasure to listen to well-known pieces of music.
– Arvydas, your music is widely performed not only in Lithuania’s concert halls but abroad as well. Did you have to adjust your plans in terms of your creative work due to the pandemic?
A.M.: The pandemic disrupted all performances of the works. In that sense, it was a tragic period. There were many plans, both in Lithuania and abroad: some were postponed, others were irretrievably extinguished... The most important of those realised in 2021 were the performance of MozART Games at the Tsarskoye Selo Palace during the Summer Music Festival performed by the Russian National Symphony Orchestra, as well as the performance of the Concerto for Violin, Viola and Strings at the Usedom Festival in Germany performed by the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, soloists Hartmut Rohde and Ingrida Rupaitė, and conducted by David Goering. The Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Modestas Pitrėnas premiered the work The Message for symphony orchestra at Vilnius Festival. I met the excellent Latvian Quadra Piano Quartet from Riga, who performed Snow Hyacinth at the Baltic Music Days Festival in Estonia and Riga. In 2021, my works were recorded on several Lithuanian CDs: the Kaunas VMU Chamber Orchestra’s Fraktalas, Giedrius Gelgotas’ Solitude, the piano duo of the brothers Motiejas and Mykolas Bazars’ NE žaidimas (NOT a game), and Liudas Mockūnas' Polylogues.
In terms of my creative work, the pandemic has had no impact on me: you sit alone at a keyboard – it doesn’t matter, whether there is a lockdown or a festival. Nothing changes. I think that the lockdown gave me more time to think, to reflect on things, to slow down. People had to look at themselves, to think about themselves, to turn their eyes to their relatives, children, grandchildren and they were surprised by what was going on in their close environment. They finally got back into reading. I am vaccinated and I try not to contact with others, if there is no need. I reduced my visits to theatres, concerts, exhibitions and I hope I will not get the virus. The entire world is tired of the pandemic. We can cope with it and the resulting outcomes only by our common effort, tolerance and responsibility.