M. K. Čiurlionis symphonic music – “Definitely worth a discovery”

“Definitely worth a discovery” – Pizzicato.

In his short life, Lithuanian artist and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1875-1911) achieved great things in both painting and music. He saw himself as a synesthete, and his paintings often have musical names such as sonata, symphony or fugue.

In his short career of only ten years, he composed almost four hundred musical works, including two large-format tone poems, an overture (the only orchestral works to survive), piano sonatas, chamber and vocal music. Most of his compositions are lost. He also created about four hundred paintings and etchings as well as several literary works and poems. Due to depression he was admitted to a psychiatric clinic in 1911, where he died of pneumonia.

The program begins with Kestutis‘ expressive, opulently orchestrated overture, followed by In the Forest and The Sea, two tone poems, which are accompanied by paintings of the same name by Ciurlionis.

Both works stand out for their richness of colour and can be attributed to Symbolism, i.e. the results of a sensual experience that develops in a mystical way, independently of reality. Both works adopt the atmospheric and coloristic instincts of Ciurlionis and are highly original.

They are played by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra in an atmospheric and expressive way and are definitely worth a discovery.

Swedish publication Kulturdelen gave the recording a 5-star review. The author finds Ciurlionis’ orchestral music similar to Karlowicz, Richard Strauss and Sibelius.

It was also picked up as “Editor’s Choice” from Presto Classical (world’s biggest classical music record store).

”Atmospheric depictions of landscape here rival those of Sibelius and Mahler for imaginative orchestration”.

I have my colleague David (our resident enthusiast for all things Baltic) to thank for alerting me to the genius of this Lithuanian composer, whose atmospheric depictions of landscape here rival those of Sibelius and Mahler for imaginative orchestration; there are whispers of the latter’s First Symphony and Wagner’s Götterdämmerung in his evocation of dawn, and the turbulent sea-scape of the final work seems to look forward to Britten’s –Peter Grimes.

Sistema ir dizainas: Jonas Lekevičius