Substantia alba for string orchestra
world premiere

Kristupas Bubnelis, a Lithuanian composer of younger generation, is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London and a recipient of numerous awards from the Lithuanian Composers’ Union. The composer’s musical language is centred on timbre, revelling in its ability to compile textures and to produce an expression of a hybrid nature.

Substantia alba was commissioned by the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra. The opus was inspired by the white matter (Latin: substantia alba) in the human central nervous system. “If we were to look for sonic analogies for this work, they would probably be most accurately epitomised by the spectral experiments of the Frenchman Gerard Grisey and the texture and micropolyphony of the Hungarian György Ligeti. I have always been fascinated by the dual nature of stringed instruments: on the one hand, they are instruments of fixed tuning in intervals of fifths, on the other hand, they have a relative intonation that is completely different from the well-tempered keyboard of Bach’s time”, said Bubnelis. In this composition the string orchestra becomes a kind of mediator, an intermediate link between the musical ideas and the listener. It is a constant blurring and becoming: strict structures are disrupted by the shadows of natural overtones, like an enzyme, like living nature, or even the nature of sound itself. It resembles walking a tightrope or observing the sonic microworld.

The world premiere of Substantia alba was performed by the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Martynas Stakionis.

PUBLISHED: 2023-05-12