Jan. 1, 2016
Ten Stages of Creation by Arvydas Malcys
The author: Mikhail Artyomovich Kokzhayev
Jan. 1, 2016
The author: Mikhail Artyomovich Kokzhayev
The basis of the creation by Arvydas Malcys is the idea of „musical poetics“. The composer perceives originality not as a need to be distinguished or to become an innovator; he tries to find the roots of various phenomena that occur inside and around him. The composer does not take an interest in trends of contemporary art that assert selectness, disassociation or abstractedness. He does not strive for a formation of “a new listener” by his music. On the contrary, the composer pays an attention to the spaces around a human that the surrounding counterculture is prone to eradicate. The author speaks sincerely and intelligibly upon ignoring the unclear and disturbed rules of plays in art. The composer does not wish to turn music into mathematics or grammar; he is sure that music would speak about the most important aspects of the human life: human passions, a struggle, rise and fall, love, death and friendship, loneliness, temporality and eternity. “In my music, a listener would hear a certain cultural environment or a cultural field, perceive a commonness of music signs and accents. The latter should not oblige the listener to do anything and make the listener distressed because he (she) does not know or understand anything or to force him (her) to feign – “if I do not understand, it is, probably, the art …”
Composer and performer Arvydas Malcys was born in 1957. He graduated from Lithuanian Academy of Music: in 1980, with specialization in violoncello (prof. Domas Svirskis) and in 1989, with specialization in composition (prof. Vytautas Laurušas). As a soloist and a member of various ensembles, A. Malcys is involved in premieres of music works created by many today Lithuanian composers. Since 1979, A. Malcys is employed at Lithuanian National Philharmonic and is a member of the Lithuanian Composers’ Union and the Lithuanian Music Performers Union. The composer has recorded nine author’s compact disks.
Music works by A. Malcys are presented on a regular basis at international festivals arranged in Lithuania, such as “Gaida”, “Jauna muzika” and “Iš arti”, the Contemporary Music Festival in Ghent, music festivals in Ravenna, Rotterdam, Haifa, Ankara, Seoul, Echternach (Luxembourg), International Review of Composers Belgrade, ISCM World Music Days in Ljubljana, “Sinfonia Baltica” in Riga, the Kremlin Christmas Music Festival In Moscow, “The Perspectives of the 21st Century” in Yerevan, “Two Days and Two Nights of New Music” in Odessa, “Europe – Asia” in Kazan, “Kiev Music Fest”, “Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus” in Austria, “The Gallery of Topical Music” (“Галерея актуальной музыки”) in Moscow, “Moscow Autumn” (“Московская осень”), “Gogolfest” in Kiev, “Euro-Mediterranean Music Expo” in Limassol (Cyprus), Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, the Art Festival “The Silk Road” in Sean (China) et cetera. Works created by the author were performed in over thirty countries of Europe, Asia, North and South America.
The composer was a laureate of a number of international competitions: in 2004, he won the third award at the International Competition of Composers “Sinfonia Baltica” in Riga for his work for a symphony orchestra ‘”Only the Sky under Us”; in 2005, he won the first award at J. Karosas International Competition of Composers in Vilnius for the Concert for a piano with a chamber orchestra; in 2006, he was awarded with the prize of the conductor at the Competition of Composers “Mozart 250” in Moscow for the composition for a string orchestra “In memoriam”, in 2008, he won the first award at J. Karosas International Competition of Composers in Vilnius for his work for a tenor saxophone and a string orchestra “Saxchord”. A particular attention was attracted by two works of the composer: in 2007, his “Сantus sirenum” gained the second award at the International Festival-competition of Compositions for a Flute in and in 2009 his “Narcissus” was included in the compulsory programme of the International Max Rostal Competition for a viola in Berlin.
Creative partners of Malcys include worldwide famous performers: David Geringas (a violoncellist and an orchestra conductor, Germany), Jury Bashmet (a violist and an orchestra conductor, Russia), Sergey Krylov (a violinist and an orchestra conductor, Italy), Camilla Hoitenga (a flute player, U.S.A.), Marc Gravell (a flute player, Belgium), Denis Shapovalov (a violoncellist, Russia), Hartmut Rohde (a violist, Germany), Alyona Bayeva (a violinist, Russia), Aleksandr Zemtsov (a violist, Great Britain), Maria Fedotova (a flute player, Russia), Liudas Mockūnas (a saxophonist, Lithuania), Raimundas Sveckevičius (an accordionist, Lithuania); orchestra conductors: Mstislav Rostropovich, Misha Rachlevsky, Fyodor Lednyov (Russia), Olari Elts (Estonia), Andris Nelsons (Latvia), Pavel Baleff (Germany), Damian Iorio, Pavel Berman (Italy), Daniel Gazon (Belgium), Petar Ivanovich (Serbia), Christian Arnesen (Norway), Volodimir Sirenko (Ukraine), Robertas Ševrenikas, Juozas Domarkas, Saulius Sondeckis, Gintaras Rinkevičius, and Modestas Pitrėnas (Lithuania).
Over thirty orchestras perform music works created by A. Malcys; they include: Leipzig MDR Symphony Orchestra, Baden-Baden Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Meiningen Symphony Orchestra, “Novaya Rossiya” Symphony Orchestra, Kazan National Symphony Orchestra, Armenian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Ljubljana Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, “Moscow Soloists” (“Солисты Москвы”) Chamber Orchestra, “Moscow Virtuosos” (“Виртуозы Москвы”) Chamber Orchestra, Moscow “Kremlin” Chamber Orchestra, “Berliner Camerata”, “Vestfold sinfonietta” (Norway), “Kymi sinfonietta” (Finland), “Kiev Camerata”, “Leopoldinum” Chamber Orchestra (Poland) as well as all Lithuanian orchestras.
In the creative treasury of Arvydas Malcys, instrumental music predominates. In his creative works, an expressiveness of “pure” music is combined with expressionistic figurativeness and impressionistic poetry of sounds, the neo-classical sensation of a form – with elements of aleatory music and sonorism. Thanks to his well-developed timbre hearing sense, the composer pays a considerable attention to nuances of sounding of instruments and different registers of them. Because Malcys is aware of a specificity of the instruments, he operates various possibilities of their expressiveness and combinations and creates bright, personified, “theatrical” characters of the instruments. The creative treasury of the composer includes abundant contrasting comparisons, grotesque and irony.
The source: Music information Centre Lithuania
Published as a book. KOKZHAYEV Mikhail Artyomovich. TEN STAGES OF CREATION BY ARVYDAS MALCYS (Десять Творческих ступеней Арвидаса Мальциса). Designer М. Tsvetkova. Editor E. Plotitsa. Making-up and type-setting by E. Voronova. Format 70х100 1/16. Printed sheets 21.5 + 1.5. A study guide, 29.9. Publication No. 11915. Publishing house “Kompozitor”
The Author’s Note
For the first time, music works by Lithuanian composer Arvydas Malcys generated an interest during a symphony concert at Yerevan Philharmonic where his “Impetus” and “Only Heaven above us” were presented. The impression was unexpected: in our sad times when overall destroying images triumph, sparks of conceited distinctness started shining suddenly! The composer “spoke out” easily playing all colours of the music rainbow, amused himself and the audience as well as somebody third who was invisible but easily accepted the acoustic lexicon of the composer full of romantic irony and observed with a high interest a the varicolored cavalcade of both serious and buffoonish masks concealing the images supposedly rather differing from the said masks. And even some errors of performance could not overshadow this kaleidoscopic play of the music colorfulness; behind its breathtaking shine, the perspicacity of the creator – the contemplator of the unique music universe is felt. The brightness and, most important, the meaningfulness of the figurativeness that is beyond the framework of the conviction firmly rooted in the psychology of a majority of connoisseurs of contemporary music art (i.e. supporters of the idea of destroying world, accepting it obediently as an alternative-free inevitability) impressed the author as a fresh wind of artistic positivism, a form of resistance to the darkly face of the new music times.
Upon analyzing the phenomenon of this music interlinear space, the author of this musicological (?!) study found that the composer using non-abundant technical means caused by his music a deep satisfaction of an understanding listener. It was astonishing how Arvydas Malcys, upon “juggling” the composing approaches of different sizes and characters as a smart fakir, could develop a process consisting of acoustic “flecks” perceived as a music field of varying sizes and colours in that depth, characters of his music narrations are being formed and rapidly disappearing upon changing each other in unusual asymmetrical discreteness. Some later, Arvydas Malcys had provided me an opportunity to get an acquaintance with a number of his rather witty works and then ten of them were selected – they were of different genres, demonstrated his original style in the best way and presented a chain of music works for various instruments, chamber and symphony orchestras that covered motley music forms from a small piece for an instrument solo to a large symphony orchestra.
Hereinafter, the list of music works by Arvydas Malcys selected for the analysis is presented:
It is evident that the principle of examining the peculiarities of the above-listed works is simple: from singularity to plurality – in an ascending order. However, a certain research intention is hidden in this simplicity: in addition to the genre-based scope, it should be desirable to disclose the value-based features of the works according their artistic significance both in the limits of the works by Arvydas Malcys under the analysis and in the limits of the process of contemporary music development. This means, in its turn, that the analytic process should highlight an adequacy of the set of technique to the artistic sense expressed by it, not only the signs of formal complexity. Such a methodology of the analysis supposes not only ascertaining a certain approach and the adequate artistic outcome, but also disclosing the impulsive causes that guided the composer to this compositional solution. This type of analytics is purely such usable by a composer, because a composer, having skills in selection of means of expression, is capable to perceive the thread of thoughts of another person even in a musical lexicon not usual for the composer, when such thoughts sometimes are expressed as a phenomenon of a paradox ignoring the laws of formal logic
I had formulated the initial postulates of this analytic method in my book “The Topology of Music Space” where the non-traditional attitudes towards the problems of music graphics, music time, music energy and a number of other theoretical problems related to fundamental knowledge of the nature of music art were discussed upon.
A distinctness of the style of a composer that is the basis of the creative individuality consists of three components: selection of means of music expression, their logic sequence in the process and a system of hierarchic interactions between structural elements of various meanings and sizes. In a certain sense, the features of stylistic distinctiveness are algorhithmic: they are always similar independently on the composition model. A piece for a flute solo or a work for an ensemble or an opus for a symphony orchestra created by a certain composer includes certain recognizable signs. However, a distinctive sign of belonging to a certain composition talent is absolutely unpredictable: the set of the means of expression and the principles of their application in the process of composition comply with any regularities, except of mysterious (for the surrounding persons and sometimes even for the creator) laws of creation guiding the artistic and intellectual processes of thinking of the music creator. Namely, this section of the structure of music composition is particularly interesting for a researcher, because it, in addition to defining the peculiar features of the composer’s style, discloses in each specific case the impulsive causes of application of a certain method as well as the specific consequences resulted by the process of creative search.
The author of the book studied the paradoxes of the creation of Arvydas Malcys with a great interest and found a number of unusual (even in the aspect of music modernism) composition approaches interpreted by the composer in another way, as compared to the provisions of the orthodox rules of application of one or another music system. For example, in his piece “Lost in desert” Arvydas Malcys combines several techniques: minimalism (minimum music), repetitiveness, aleatory music, tonal music, noise effects and whoopees of the performer. It seems that it is difficult to find any uniting logic in such a variety of the techniques (some of the above-mentioned techniques or even all of them contradict each other). However, it becomes clear that the logic uniting this music kaleidoscope lies in the storyline: an individual lost in desert passes consecutively all the stages of psychological disorder: from astonishment – how it could happen? – to the mind warp – the “flopping” of unshod feet on the sand that recedes from the listener, – and it provides a practically visible reconstruction of the image of an individual out of wits who is running to nowhere (because the desert is endless). How the composer accomplished this? – During the nuance diminuendo the flute player knocks the keys. It is notable that the uniting principle lies in symbolic illustrational sphere (not in music sphere) guessable unambiguously and not supposing other interpretations of the images and the story.
With whom of great avant-gardists this artistic model of the music work and the typology of thinking of its author may be compared? Probably, something similar may be met in works by Cage or in musical urban pictures by Satie. However, the author of the book supposes that nevertheless paradoxes of Arvydas Malcys have no direct analogues in music of the 20th century and are more easily found in other branches of art, such as in surrealistic pictures by Dali, collages by Parajanov or literary fantasies by Kafka…
However, not only paradoxical combination of techniques (it should be noted that the author insists: it is namely combination of techniques, not styles) characterizes the creative attitudes of Arvydas Malcys, although it is met in his works all too often. The distinctness of the composer’s thinking almost always is expressed by an unexpected collision of directly opposed structures. For example, upon “interspersing” elements of repetition in caesura-free episodes of music piece “Vertical Horizon” (even the title is paradoxical) and, in addition to the said elements, “interspersing” and using elements of variability that deform the initial structure, but preserve the sign of its recognizability, Malcys ensures an internal stress of the facture expressed by conjunction or the repeated with the non-repeated. This musical paradox is intended for an accomplishment of simultaneous co-existence of the two parallel worlds (developed in different spaces and different discretenesses) in the music process. However, as distinct from parallel worlds, the worlds of Malcys interact, so a listener, in addition to his usual horizon, can see also a vertical horizon of another (parallel) world having invaded in a mysterious way the real Universe of the listener. It is evident that manifestations of such musical relativism are highly relief in music by Malcys. In a certain sense, here an analogy with the phantasmagoria by Stockhausen where three orchestras are simultaneously playing independently on each other may be appropriate. However, in the version by Malcys this phenomenon is securely fixed (as contrasted with random sound combinations by Stockhausen) – and it is, in the opinion of the author, a doubtless advantage. By the way, there are many analogues in painting art – for example, in the creative treasury by Kandinsky. However, in the picture “The Metamorphosis of Narcissus” by Dali, the perspective is such ambiguous that even petrified Narcissus turned into a stone hand holding an egg with hatched out narcissus, the flower of death. In creation of images, painter Salvador Dali often used methods of deformation of things: he turned solid ones into soft ones and painted his face (in picture “Persistence of Memory”) as a creasy rubber masque thrown down to the terra firma.
Among the music works analyzed in this book, at least in two works, Arvydas Malcys tries to discover a mysteriousness of such immaterial phenomena, as shadow and silence, - namely in pieces “Shadows” and “Cleaved silence” 2.
In “Shadows”, the composer very subtly, in a hyperminimalistic manner describes the image by a sound contour in the timbres difficult to combine in an ensemble of a trombone, a violoncello and a piano. The kingdom of shadows that are bodiless and pitchless is shown in a pointillist manner by a plenty of single sounds of different timbres and different durations in absolutely limitless music space. In fact, they are resonances of the images and while listening to them, the listener tries to reconstruct in perception the objects casting the said sound shadows. Their contours, in one or another simply variable version, sporadically appear in the music emptiness, thus amplifying the effect of mysteriousness.
Something similar takes place in “Cleaved silence” 3. The title of the work includes a hint that silence is not music emptiness; it is a music silence saturated with an irrational sound matter that can be “excited” and forced to invade our real world. In one way or another, Arvydas Malcys, like the physicists having created the famous nuclear collider, causes “elementary music particles” to collide, thus resulting in a release of energy hidden in the depth of music matter.
The very fact of addressing the objects that keep secrets of the universe is an expression of rather unusual creativity, an aspiration of the composer to penetrate into the spheres of figurativeness situated in the boundary zone between the knowledge and the ignorance. When the composer provides the meanings of artistic images to the said objects, he conveys a certain poetization to his ideas almost equivalent to poetization by L. Carroll that extends the range of sensuous responses of an individual to all and any peculiarities of the structure of the universe. A listener, probably, has paid an attention to the fact that upon describing individual features of the stylistics of Arvydas Malcys, we gradually extend the scope of his artistic interests. The process piles up: first of all, a combination of techniques of various characters united in the artistic aspect by the logic of the subject-matter of the work is presented; then follows a reconstruction of interacting parallel music worlds; further, disclosing the essential features of ephemeral phenomena, i.e. shadows and silence, occurs and finally romantic music picture “Milky way” appears as a musical & painterly image of our Galaxy in a shape of the divine spiral born by the great number φ (phi) that means a perfection of any thing or phenomenon (this refers to the Golden Ratio). The number φ (1.618) is called the Golden Ratio that defines a perfection of proportions in any natural object or art work. In addition to signs of graphical similarity with an astrophysical object that in many cases is typical for the note graphics of the composer4, the total shape of the said music piece is helicoid, i.e. similar to the contours of Galaxy “Milky Way”. So, the line of the extravert movement – from disclosing the secrets of the microworld towards giant cosmic objects – is evident. Here a persistent aspiration of the composer to the space of the Universe and his unfettered thoughts striving upwards can be seen. Now, after the analysis of a number of compositions by Arvydas Malcys in the above-provided summaries that can be referred in bulk to as the “cosmogonic” branch of his creation, undoubtedly valuable also from the positions of psy-informatics the characterizes the creative treasury of the composer as an extravert layer of already formed heritage, let’s speak about the other part of expression of artistic interests of the music creator – the part related to the internal world of the personality.
The Concert for a clarinet with an orchestra imaginatively resonates with piece for a flute “Lost ij Desert” 5; however, only in part – the emotional status of the music process in it is concentrated around a personality as a phenomenon and its self-consciousness, and the composer as if discloses all subtleties of responses of a human nature to somewhat is not defined specifically, but causes a hypertrophic impact on the sphere of the consciousness that is a basis of the person’s identity.
It is interesting that Arvydas Malcys encourages to apply means of expression that are similar to the oriental music culture of meditation to a considerable extent, but upon their distinctive refraction: in the music process, easily recognizable intonations of clearly European structure or reflections of Lithuanian folklore from sutartinė or a naturalistic splash of emotions as an “outcry” of a clarinet similar to the orgasmic female from “Catulli Carmina” by Carl Off and many others and much more audible by ears of an enlightened listener appear clearly and in bold relief.
In fact, it is a kaleidoscopic variation of a huge number of music signals sent to the intellect of the listener and their sequences form the story symbols that require second-guessing. The projection of the said row of symbols on the system of artistic and spiritual attitudes of the listener‘s consciousness causes an appearance of an absolutely unique imaginative context. In other words, the music of such a structure and this music under discussion are reflected in each consciousness in an unique way, so a possibility of the same perception of a music work by each individual of the audience is excluded. 6.
The amplitude of the imaginative dispersion in the creation by Arvydas Malcys is all-encompassing: from the attempts to conceptualize the macrostructure of the Universe (“Milky way”) to going deeply into the self-consciousness. In particular, his Concert for a clarinet and a chamber orchestra is an appeal of the hero of the music work to himself, i.e. to the own ego, an attempt to distinguish in himself the total range of the states of the own consciousness and an expression of all the emotional outbursts caused by the self-consciousness or at least the most outstanding aspects of them. A detached view of a personality to itself or, strictly speaking, an ability of such a view is one of the most mysterious mental abilities of a human, so the wish of Arvydas Malcys to open slightly the veil of mystery that covers the essence of being of the consciousness (and probably, the sub-consciousness) upon applying the metaphoric approaches of musical symbolism are highly laudable.
As a matter of principle, the author of this book never puts questions to the composer whose creation is being analyzed about the contents of his (her) music work, so he was forced to solve a problem of some disagreements with this composer related to the figurativeness in the undoubtedly excellent music piece “Eccentric Bolero”. The author never would contest the point of view of the composer, all the more so, as the said point of view does not impact the result of the analysis.
Arvydas Malcys states that a military march is audible in the rhythm of his “Eccentric Bolero” and the illusion of similarity with the version of Bolero by Ravel is a peculiar symbolic allegory intended for translocation of the semantic accent from the luxuriant brightness of the Spanish dance towards the sign of militaristic marchlikeness hidden in its depth. There is no sense in disputing: the eccentricity, beyond any doubt, points out to the figurative transformation of the picturesqueness embodied in the unfading chef d’oeuvre by Maurice Ravel. Arvydas Malcys permanently transfers the attention of a listener to an association with the creation of the Great Frenchman, intentionally “forcing” the listener to compare the most evident intonation analogies. Upon supporting the own position, Malcys points out that the triplet splitting the strong beat amplifies the effect of the lurid marchlikeness and namely for this reason, the marchlikeness overcomes the structure of the solemn Spanish dance.
However, the phenomenon of rhythm perceptivity by a listener exists: even if the strong beat is split, the following long note is perceived by the ears as a strong beat.
Probably, an additional accentuation (on the base of the split strong beat) would make the said effect of marchlikeness “operating”; however, the association with “Bolero” by Ravel well-known to any music lover will make the image of dance predominating in any case.
Along with this, I’d like to draw an analogy that is related to the figurativeness of the creation by Malcys to a certain extent. In the Concert for violoncello No. 2 by Dmitry Shostakovich, there is an episode related to marchlikeness: in the perception of a listener, it is presented as a march of tin soldiers. However, in the context of the whole Concert, in combination with other images, this march is an ironical allusion to a soldier’s stogy that devastated abundant human lives and souls in the middle of the 20th century. I intentionally provide hereby this only case of certain jarring of my opinion with the opinion of Arbydas Malcys and let a reader to make the own decision.
In the reality, the music art includes abundant cases of similar dualism of music perception; by the way, analogues of similar ambiguousness are met (not often) in other branches of art as well. For example, interpretations of the smile of Gioconda by Great Leonardo da Vinci are countless. Probably, it is a sense of art in general – to provide an opportunity of choice – on the level of the apprehension of the contents of an art work.
In this survey essay, the author will not comment two last chapters of the book thus providing a reader a chance of going deep into the essence of the deepest and most philosophical intentions of Arvydas Malcys. This wish is partially bound also with a necessity to preserve an intrigue of a certain innuendo that will transfer an attention of a reader to the very end of the book, its praiseworthy and apotheosized finality.
In the music art (and, probably, in other branches of art as well), certain regularity exists: a more original style of a composer that is brighter and therefore immediately perceivable by a listener is more paradoxical. In our case, a paradox, strictly speaking, a musical paradox, is something that cannot exist but nevertheless exists and is a measure of the distinctness of a composer’s style. Of course, the point in question is not a formalization of the notion; on the contrary, it is an interpretation of the phenomenon of a paradox as an unknown phenomenon that distinguishes itself for unexpected properties sometimes being in conflict with principles of the traditions (that are exhaust and therefore unfit for a new idea). In point of fact, a paradox is an anticipation that is unexplainable in the meanwhile; however, it is accepted by the creator’s mentality as an axiom, a priori, and thanks to his power of persuasion, turns into perceptual reality that later attracts the thoughts and knowledge of those who are ready for discovery of the unknown.
Such expatiation on the nature of a paradox and its importance for a creative process are necessary for presenting the goal of this analytic work. And the goal is simple: to disclose the aspects of the “handwriting” of the composer that attest his unique musical lexicon.