VYKINTAS BALTAKAS (b.1972): (co)ro(na) for Ensemble (Tokyo Sinfonietta; Yasuaki Itakura), Pasaka for Piano (Benjamin Kobler), Sinfonia for Ensemble (LENsemble; Vykintas Baltalkas), b(ell tree) for String Quartet (Chordos Quartet), Ri for Soprano and Electronics (Rita Balta [soprano]), Poussla for Ensemble and Orchestra (SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden und Freiburg; Johannes Kalitzke), Pasaka for Piano and Electronics (Kobler [piano]), Saxordionphonics for Saxophone, Accordion and Orchestra (Marcus Weiss [sax], Teodoro Anzellotti [accordion], Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; Emilio Pomarico).
Catalogue Number: 08S059
Description: Baltakas' music is energetic and constantly restless, frequently playful in a rather driven, hectic way. Typically, a piece will begin with little disjointed fragments which gradually assemble into trills or a medley of gestures like the twittering of birds, usually in a high register. Then longer anchoring chords or bass notes start to appear at intervals, providing a suggestion of tonal centres of gravity and a sense of harmonic progression. The glittering, bubbling surface textures, despite their complexity, are far from random and also tend to stay within a fairly well defined tonal area. Within this framework, though, the pieces are very different. Saxordionphonics suggests a kind of concerto, the saxophone and accordion beginning and ending the work with an interplay of little gestures, while the main part of the piece consists of increasingly dense orchestral textures in competition with the 'soloists'. Poussla is particularly impressive; a large, richly textured orchestral canvas with a powerful sense of directional momentum. Pasaka begins with the pianist playing fragmentary gestures and vocalising fragments of Indian mythological texts and poetry, and here the addition of layers of spatially disposed electronics expand the piano into a kind of complexicist super-instrument. (co)ro(na) and the tiny Sinfonia, an explosive little squib of a scherzo, keep the listener guessing with their unexpected phasing in and out of tonality and ebb and flow of texture, something that the composer seems to delight in, based on this exciting sample of his work.