VYTAUTAS BARKAUSKAS (b.1931): Symphony No. 5, Op. 81, Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 63, Sun for Orchestra, Op. 69, Konzerstück for Orchestra No. 2, Op. 103.
Catalogue Number: 01K007
Description: Both the large-scale works and the orchestrally flamboyant tone poems display Barkauskas' imaginative and original use of an eclectic but always accessible and communicative idiom. The music's strong sense of forward motion is frequently ostinato-driven, with frequent echoes of Shostakovich and Sibelius; Schnittke may also come to mind, though Barkauskas' idiom is demonstrably his own, his idiom much less derivative than many Soviet-era composers. The concerto opens with the soloist pitted against the orchestra in propulsive confrontation (with the intermittent support of a solo harpsichord, an original and intriguing effect); the slow movement has them collaborating in a brooding lament, the final section being a subtle epilogue with a sense of reconciliation. The powerful symphony has some political-nationalistic overtones, with brutal military music alongside music of macabre and bitter irony, and extended episodes of pain and tragedy. Pulsating ostinati suggest marches, heartbeats and the inexorable passage of time. The vocabulary is predominately tonal, as with the other works here, constantly disturbed though not totally disrupted by uneasy dissonances. Yuri Bashmet (viola), Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra; Robertas Servenikas, Juozas Domarkas (Konzertstück).