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Raminta Šerkšnytė

Year of Composition:  2010
Duration:  11
Instrumentation:  4343-4431-5perc-hrp-pf/cel-str
Samples:   Audio

Commissioned by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.



I. Misterioso

II. Con brio



17 and 18 May 2012, at the Herkulessaal der Residenz, Munich; performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conductor Mariss Jansons.


Programme note

In this piece, I have drawn inspiration from several sources. First of all, I knew long beforehand that it will be premiered in the programme before Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and thus picked some of its motifs, which became basis for the harmonic development in my composition. I also kept thinking about the fateful circumstances, including progressing deafness, which surrounded Beethoven at the time he was writing his Fifth. This provoked me to compose music of heightened dramaticism and ever-growing inner tension.


On the other hand, Fires is a sequel in the series of orchestral works, whose titles directly refer to the natural phenomena and elemental forces (also including Iceberg Symphony, Mountains in the Mist, and Glow); even though any other indirect association that those titles imply might prove equally important. In this particular work, I tried to reflect diverse 'faces' of fire: from distant perception of the approaching calamity to thunderous explosions of the accumulated energy – the whole variety of shades and shapes, in which fire appears during the processes of heating, burning and melting. Consequently, the composition is wrought as a continuous process of harmonic, rhythmic, textural and timbral variation of several initial motifs.


Fires was commissioned by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra at the initiave of its chief conductor, Mariss Jansons, and premiered at the Hercules Hall in Munich, 17 and 18 May 2012. This project included performances of the complete symphonies by Beethoven and six new pieces by contemporary composers, reflecting on his life and work, within the period from 2008 to 2012.


Raminta Šerkšnytė


Released recording:

CD Beethoven – The Symphonies and Reflections (6 CD). – Munich: BR-Klassik 900119, 2013 (CD 3, perf. Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conductor Mariss Jansons)

CD Zoom In 10. - Vilnius, Muzikos informacijos ir leidybos centras LMIPCCD079, 2014 (perf. Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla)

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