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In Contrast to Winter: the Heat of Italian, Spanish and Brazilian Music Spiced with Cinematography

In Contrast to Winter: the Heat of Italian, Spanish and Brazilian Music Spiced with Cinematography


The National Philharmonic Society offers its listeners a refuge from the first cold winds of winter and invites them to a concert on December 8th, Saturday, at 7pm, featuring a programme of hot Italian, Spanish and Brazilian music spiced with bits of cinematography. The Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO, artistic director and chief conductor Juozas Domarkas) under the baton Yuri Serov promises a true musical feast. The programme features a passionate symphonic suite from the film The Godfather, composed by the Italian film music master Nino Rota; the famous guitar concerto Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo pulsing with Spanish heat and the Forest of the Amazon suite by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, written for the movie Green Mansions.

Composer Nino Rota (1911–1979) might justly be called a figure inseparable from the greatest masters of the 20th century Italian film tradition, including such names as Fellini (Rota wrote music for the major movies of this director), Visconti, Castelani, Borghesi, Zeffirelli and others. Rota’s music can also be heard in the legendary Godfather trilogy (1972–1974) directed by Francis Ford Coppola. In 1974, Nino Rota has received an Academy Award for his score to the movie The Godfather. Part II. Eventually, the music written for this trilogy became independent from the movie and has found its place in concert repertoires. The suite to be performed at the Philharmonic Hall includes seven most distinguished pieces, reflecting the tonality and melodiousness characteristic to Rota’s musical language, along with some echoes of neo-classicism.

In a film-like fashion the audiences will be transferred from Italy to Spain by the famous guitar concerto Concierto de Aranjuez (1939), composed by Joaquin Rodrigo (1901–1999). Concierto de Aranjuez was inspired by the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez near Madrid, the spring resort palace and gardens built of the Royal Bourbon family. He described the concerto as capturing "the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds, and the gushing of fountains" – the sensations a nearly blind composer could experience in the gardens of Aranjuez. Rodrigo expressed these experiences by merging the characteristic features of Spanish folklore, early church and Baroque music.

The solo part at the concert will be performed by the Saulius S. Lipčius, a Lithuanian guitarist of the young generation. Being 19 years old he had a successful debut in the Royal Festival Hall, London and has actively performed ever since, appearing with a variety of musicians, actors and ensembles. In 2004, together with other young guitarists he founded the Baltic Guitar Quartet – one of the best known guitar ensembles in the Baltic States.

The third piece of the programme is also related to film and has a sensitive background story of this association.  The Forest of the Amazon suite (1958) was the last major composition written by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887–1959), who composed it for Mel Ferrer’s film Green Mansions, featuring the famous actress Audrey Hepburn. The composer thought of this collaboration as a dire failure and creative humiliation, so often encountered by many famous artists trying to enter the Hollywood’s film industry. The music director of Green Mansions, an experienced writer of film scores Bronislau Kaper had ruthlessly cut the original composition, thus ‘defiling’ the music, as Villa-Lobos has put it. This misunderstanding has occurred because the film masters who asked Villa-Lobos to write the score have not troubled themselves to introduce the composer to the ‘Hollywood rules’ – they simply handed him the script and Villa-Lobos wrote music as if he were composing for ballet or opera. In his autobiography, a Hungarian composer Miklós Rózsa recalls meeting Heitor Villa-Lobos on the eve of film’s screening. The composer was happy to have completed the score and when he was asked about what would happen if it turned out that the music does not go in line with the image, he said that the film, i.e. the image, would have to be redone. Unfortunately, Rózsa’s presentiments came true. Naturally, no one was ever going to redo the film, thus the greatest harm was done to the original music score. The composer was paid in accordance to the contract, but he had no right to influence the ‘cutting’ of his music for the purposes of the film. However, using the copyright protection Villa-Lobos has managed to preserve four wonderful songs and symphonic episodes, which he later joined into a symphonic poem, the so-called Forest of the Amazon suite for voice, men’s choir and orchestra.

The suite’s soprano solo will be performed by young Lithuanian singer Viktorija Miškūnaitė. The choir part will be performed by the men’s group of the Vilnius State Choir (artistic director and chief conductor Povilas Gylys).

The concert will be conducted by Yuri Serov and it is going to be his debut with the LNSO. Pianist and conductor, he was born into the famous family of Russian musicians in St. Petersburg. He graduated from the St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in 1991 and completed his postgraduate studies in 1993.  He has studied in Salzburg and Weimar as well. As a pianist and conductor he has toured more than 25 countries and has recorded over 60 CD’s at major labels in Russia, Belgium, Japan and the USA.


LNF inf.


Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society

Address: Aušros vartų st. 5, LT-01304 Vilnius, Lietuva
Contact: tel. +370 5 266 52 10, fax. +370 5 266 52 66

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