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Bronius Kutavičius
Two Birds in the Shade of the Woods

Year of Composition:  1978
Duration:  14
Instrumentation:  S-ob-prep pf-tape
Text (language):  Rabindranath Tagore, translated by Vytautas Nistelis (Lithuanian)
Samples:   Score    Audio

Cantata in 3 movements


Programme Note:

Two Birds in the Shade of the Woods for soprano, oboe, prepared piano and tape (1978) is a lyrical, meditative composition similar to The Small Spectacle. It was inspired by the subtle poetry of Rabindranath Tagore and an interest in the traditions of classical Indian music. Kutavičius, who has developed his music utilizing various micro-scales and persistent, though varying, motifs, has an affinity toward this tradition. The first movement of this composition can be compared to a morning raga. The singer sings and ululates, accompanied by a prepared piano and an oboe. The third movement, a sunny day raga, features a meandering melody and the drone of the strings of a prepared piano. Kutavičius frequently uses the piano in an unconventional way, by drawing across the strings with resin-covered strips, etc. This experimental generation of sound is suitable in this instance because the droning, buzzing timbre, the strong resonance and fusion are the elements that characterize Indian music and make it so interesting.


The central movement of the composition is a dialogue between incongruous lovers doomed to be apart forever. Sounds and words speak of nature and civilization, safe and dangerous spaces, freedom and restraint. The composer uses tape recording to portray this disparity: one lover is a bird flying about in freedom. The singer performs his song live. The second lover is a bird in a cage; his song is recorded on tape. There is much more emotion in “the songs of the woodlands” when compared to “the speech of the learned” and it evokes a nostalgia for untouched landscapes and unfettered expressions of human nature. These concepts are very important for city dwellers living in confined environments who long for the beauties of nature and wander through imaginary landscapes.


© 2011 Austė Nakienė

© 2011 translation by Ada Valaitis


Published scores:

Vilnius: Vaga, 1986


Released recordings:

LP Melodiya C10-18773-4 "Jubilee Concert", 1982 (perf.: Giedrė Kaukaitė – soprano, Eugenijus Piličiauskas – oboe, Julius Andrejevas – piano, Jurgis Banevičius – piano)


CD Bronius Kutavičius. The Small Spectacle. – Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre, LMIPC CD 064, 2011 (perf.: Giedrė Kaukaitė – soprano, Eugenijus Piličiauskas – oboe, Julius Andrejevas – piano, Jurgis Banevičius – piano)

LMIPC Library:
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