The newly released CD “The Complete Mots” (Toccata Classics, London), featuring piano works by Lithuanian émigré composer Vytautas Bacevičius (1905–1970), will have its Lithuanian launch on 28 March 2012, at 6.30pm, at the Museum of Applied Art in Vilnius. This is the second release of Bacevičius’s music on the Toccata Classics label, after the inspiring success of the first recording of his orchestral works. Both releases were produced in association with the Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre.
Among the participants of the launch event in Vilnius are pianist Gabrielius Alekna, the initiator of this CD project, Martin Anderson, the owner of the Toccata Classics label, and musicologist Edmundas Gedgaudas, the co-author of two-volume book about Bacevičius and expert of his work. Bacevičius will also have ‘a word’ in the programme of the event: two of his Mots for solo piano will be performed live by Alekna and one movement from the Septième mot for two pianos will be demonstrated from the recording.
As the cover of the CD suggests, it is the first volume in the coming series of Bacevičius’s piano music. His seven Mots
(Words) for keyboard – five for solo piano, one for organ and one for two pianos – were written between 1933 and 1966 and show the evolution of his musical language from the post-Scriabinian style of the early works, via the influence of Prokofiev and Stravinsky, to highly individual and visionary modernism, akin to that of two fellow radicals, Edgard Varèse and Stefan Wolpe.
In this project, Lithuanian pianist Gabrielius Alekna collaborated with the two-time Grammy winning producer Judith Sherman and the three-time Grammy-nominated pianist Ursula Oppens. The Deuxieme mot for organ was recorded by Matthew Lewis, organist and director at Church of the Incarnation in New York City. More than half of the compositions on this CD are first recordings made in Vilnius and New York. All this would not have become a reality without the generous support of sponsors, which have included Yamaha Artist Services, Inc., New York, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, the Lithuanian National Radio and Television, Saulius Karosas Charity and Support Foundation, Mr. Vladas Algirdas Bumelis and other private sponsors.
Photo: Gedmantas Kropis
Prize-winner of fourteen international competitions, Gabrielius Alekna is an expert of Bacevičius’s music. He is the first Lithuanian to hold a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School in 2006. His doctoral thesis on the unpublished piano works by Bacevičius was awarded with the Richard F. French prize as the best doctoral thesis of the year at the Juilliard School. Currently based in
New York, Alekna regularly returns to Lithuania to give concerts and lectures as a newly appointed Visiting Associate Professor at the Music Academy of Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas
On 25 January 2012 the CD has already been launched in London where it received favourable responses from the public and critics alike. To quote Richard Whitehouse of the The Classical Review: “Impractical as a concert proposition, the cycle is ideally accommodated on disc – not least when Gabrielius Alekna is so alive to the music’s forging of an idiom which, if less innovative or personal than its composer might have intended, is rarely less than engaging on its own terms. (…) Clear though never clinical sound and extensive notes from Malcolm MacDonald enhance a disc that defines the restless, sometimes unfocussed but always absorbing persona of Bacevičius in a positive light.”
Toccata Classics was launched in 2005 to record “forgotten music by great composers and great music by forgotten composers” (Robert Reilly). The label now has over 80 CDs in the catalogue, ranging from obscure Baroque cantatas via overlooked Romantic symphonies to composers once hidden behind the Iron Curtain. In the pipeline are recordings of Brahms, Enescu, Korndorf, Lyatoshynsky, Reicha, Roentgen, two CDs by the Lithuanian composer Vladas Jakubėnas and one by Jeronimas Kačinskas. The label also runs a Discovery Club, which gives discounted access to all the new releases long before they come in the shops. Details at http://www.toccataclassics.com/.
To purchase CD please visit:
The CD launch in Vilnius:
Wednesday, 28 March 2012, at 6.30 pm
Museum of Applied Art (Arsenalo g. 3A, Vilnius)