Welcome to episode 16 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast!
Teisutis Makačinas (b. 1938) is a prolific Lithuanian composer who describes his style of writing as a junction of polyphonic neoclassicism, with a sort of folk music transformations. For organ he has created 6 sonatas and 3 notebooks - Lithuanian, Ancient, and Armenian. I met with him for a conversation on the occasion of my upcoming premiere performance which happened on October 10, 2015 of his newest work - Festive Sonata-Symphony (2015) for organ.
"At the beginning I didn't write the sounds but I thought about the atmosphere, about the character of the work. I had about 3 months to focus and to think about this. From the outside it should have looked really strange because I was walking around the room from window to window meditating about that work. And then I started to improvise on the keyboard - then these musical ideas and intonations came into my head."
Listen to the conversation
Yesterday I shared with you a video with my improvisations based on the fresco above the organ from the recital on October 10. Today I'd like you to listen for the first time to Festive Sonata-Symphony (2015) by Teisutis Makacinas which was premiered at the same recital.
This is a big 3 movement work. It has a very complex polyphonic texture, some harsh sounds, lots of modal thinking taken from Lithuanian folk music, and in general quite colorful and unpredictable design because of constant variation of melodic and rhythmic materials which is a signature style of Makacinas.
Enjoy this video.
The long awaited week has come. This Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 6 pm at the Vilnius University St. John's church I will premiere Festive Sonata-Symphony (2015) by Teisutis Makacinas (b. 1938).
This composition is dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the reconstruction of the largest pipe organ in Lithuania which stands at the Vilnius University St. John's church.
Besides this premiere, that evening I will also perform an improvised musical story based on the fresco above the organ. The fresco depicts episodes from the life of St. John.
Makacinas is significant to me because he introduced me to organ improvisation some 20 years ago at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater where I was a student at the time.
When I found out that over the summer he was creating his new large-scale work for organ, I was very happy when he asked me to premiere this work in our church.
His compositional style is neo-classical with some modal techniques. Therefore it works well for our mechanical organ at St. John's.
The composer is especially fond of intonations of Lithuanian folk melodies and general character of our nation. What makes his music come alive is his habit to rarely use direct repetition in his pieces. He likes to variate. This feature makes it difficult to memorize the work but at the same time it creates the feeling of liveliness, surprise, and unpredictability.
During our musical conversations, I told the composer about 6 second reverberation at our church and he decided to take advantage of this room and its huge acoustics.
Makacinas' impact on Lithuanian organ culture is quite significant. He was the first person to create a Sonata for this instrument (1968). So far he has created 6 organ sonatas and 3 notebooks - Ancient, Lithuanian, and Armenian.
Currently I'm finishing preparing new editions of all organ works of Makacinas with registrations adapted to the great organ at Vilnius University St. John's church.
Last Friday, together with Prof. Makacinas we have recorded a conversation about his organ music. It was nice to have him talk for 40 minutes about his compositional process, stylistic influences, and share some insights about his new Festive Sonata-Symphony which will help make the Saturday premiere performance more true to his intentions.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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