MALCYS Clarinet Concerto1. Cleaved Silence. In Perpetuam Memoriam.2 Milky Way. Vox Clamantis in Deserto3 • 1Roger Arne Vigulf (cl); 2Hartmut Rohde (va); 3Camila Hoitenga (fl); Lithuanian CO • QUARTZ 2085 (78:12)
Read more Lithuanian composer Arvydas Malcys (b.1957) is, on the present evidence, an exciting voice in contemporary music. He has graduated twice from the Lithuanian Academy of Music (1980 in cello and 1989 in composition). His uncompromising Clarinet Concerto (2007) reveals his interests in the timbral possibilities of the instruments he writes for. The bustling Allegro vivo is a virtuoso flurry, hard-edged; the central 10-minute “Meditation” fully lives up to its title. The Norwegian clarinetist Roger Arne Vigulf is a truly special player. His lyricism in the slow movement is remarkable, while the grinding dissonances just under four minutes into this movement and the soloist’s responses to these make for profound effect. The idea of a Scherzo as finale is a fine one, and there are certainly playful elements here, albeit of an angular kind. Fascinating music.
The booklet notes (written by three authors) wax lyrical about the ideas behind Cleaved Silence (2004). The composer is quoted as saying, “We are drowning in an endless sea of sounds not being to identify many of them in our lifetime. We perceive just a fraction of them.” It seems also as if the violence implicit in the verb “to cleave” is part of the generating idea here, as there seems to be an undercurrent of violence just waiting to explode (as it does on occasion before retreating back into silence). The even earlier In Perpetuam Memoriam (1997) is subtitled “Concerto for Viola and Small Orchestra.” Again, there is a pronounced meditative element. Hartmut Rohde is a superb player. The piece is the composer’s homage to performers who die early. Low pedal points underscore the tragic mood here. A most touching piece. There is some challenging writing, too, for the soloist, and Rohde takes it all in his stride.
Milky Way (2004) opens in a most approachable fashion. Apparently the piece invokes the ideas of the music theorist Heinrich Schenker (in the sense of music as a biological organism). The composer also refers to this piece as “a post-scriptum to Mozart,” and perhaps unsurprisingly it is Malcys’ most popular composition, existing in no fewer than 11 versions. There is a palpable sense of fun in this performance.
Finally, Malcys’s Flute Concerto No. 1, or Vox Clamantis in Deserto, written in 1995. The subtitle means “The Shouting Voice in the Desert.” The flute is the voice of the individual pitted against a silent but mighty collective (the desert). Here, dancing rhythms predominate in a way not experienced elsewhere on the disc. The piece climaxes with a flute cadenza. Again the soloist is of the highest caliber. Recording standards throughout are fine indeed. Recommended—a thrilling, thought-provoking listen.