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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