Music as Theatre

Remembering Faustas Latėnas and Vidmantas Bartulis

Last year, music and theatre community suddenly lost prominent composers Faustas Latėnas, Vidmantas Bartulis… Composers belonging to the same generation left a painful emptiness that can only be filled by their music – unique, extremely captivating and loved by listeners and performers.

The works of Faustas Latėnas remain in the spotlight despite the passing decades and the loss of the composer: the performers regularly include them in their programs, and the listeners always respond enthusiastically to them. “For me, the key indicator is that the work lives, is performed and is needed”, the composer said.

According to musicologist Viktoras Gerulaitis, “Latėnas’ chamber instrumental works are listened to as small musical spectacles, in which each musical gesture has a certain meaning, often known only to the composer. The composer is not at all afraid of banalities or various reminiscences of recognizable music, the strangest hypertrophied climaxes or provocative combinations. He is convinced that “it is not necessary to use many notes, to speak a lot or in an intricate way to encode an inner suggestion. Everything can be put across in simple and familiar details, in simple harmony.”

This concert features Latėnas’ works of that nature. Written in the 1980s, they allude to the spirit of theatre, the longing for lost friends or the passion of Latin American music. The words about Samba lacrimarum, once said by the composer, take on a different meaning today: “Samba is a celebration, a fiesta, and in life this samba fiesta is replaced by tears. The celebration is short-lived, but we remember it for a lifetime. It’s joy through tears.”

Surrounded by Latėnas’ music, Vidmantas Bartulis’ composition from his famous series I like speaks no less persuasively. The theatre composer’s extensive experience led him to create and direct his own “dramas”, which caused a stir in the late 1980s, and are still intriguing today. As Linas Paulauskis wrote, “supposed frivolity is combined with deep concentration, sarcasm with melancholic sincerity, intimate soliloquy with massive drama, existential cold with all-pervading bliss – and everything at the same time…”

Interviewed by Rūta Gaidamavičiūtė, Bartulis said about I like Marlene Dietrich (Lili Marlene): “The personality was legendary, starting with sexual orientation and ending with belonging to several secret service agencies. That boring Marlene synchrony is like a sunken ship that rises overgrown with shells, algae, all the sediments of time. Having emerged, it appears in all its beauty, antique-historical shape…”

The Vilnius String Quartet, pianist Petras Geniušas and violinist Dalia Kuznecovaitė, the quartet’s 1st violin who also appears here in a duo with Geniušas – the performers of most diverse programmes – invite you to experience the music by composers who have already become legends.

PUBLISHED: 2021-04-30