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Eduardas Balsys

Violin Concerto No. 1

Dramatic Frescoes

Reflections of the Sea




Sleeve notes in English


April 2021

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1358-2


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Track listing

Violin Concerto No. 1 (1954)
I. Allegro moderato ed agitato

II. Andante cantabile e sostenuto

III. Allegro vivo

Reflections of the Sea (1981)

Dramatic Frescoes (1965)

Also recommended...

Complete description

This new album introduces to international audience the music of Eduardas Balsys (1919–1984), a key figure in Lithuania’s music from the 1950s until his death in 1984. This album release by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Modestas Pitrėnas includes three works from this award-winning composer, including his early breakthrough work, Violin Concerto No. 1, alongside two other orchestral scores. In these works, Balsys reveals himself as a master of rich, colourful orchestral scores.


Balsys underwent a considerable evolution of style from his early compositions written in classical form, to his late expressionistic and dodecaphonic works. His oeuvre reflects turns and twists of the development of Lithuanian music, from ideologically motivated ‘folkloric’ romanticism (until 1958) toward new stylistic trends and compositional techniques. Violin Concerto No. 1, written after completing his studies at the Leningrad Conservatory, was the zenith of his first creative period. Balsys seems to have taken the first step towards a new style. On the other hand, it is still a traditional work not far from the world of the violin concertos of Tchaikovsky and Khachaturian. Dramatic Frescoes for violin, piano and symphony orchestra (1965) marked the beginning of the composer’s final creative period. This one-movement symphonic work merges the features of several genres: instrumental concerto, poem and symphony. Solo instruments are treated here as the main elements of the orchestra. In this work the composer sums up dramatic conflicts of our era, including the threat of war. Reflections of the Sea (1981), scored for string orchestra, is one of the composer’s final orchestral works. The work is saturated with expressive moods and sharp contrasts enabled by using a technique of dividing instrumental segments into smaller subsections.


Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) has been active for more than seven decades. After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, the Orchestra was given the name and status of the National Symphony Orchestra. The LNSO has accumulated an extensive, colourful and significant repertoire, embracing works of oratorio genre and symphonic opuses of the past epochs as well as modern contemporary music with the works by the Lithuanian composers occupying an important place. During the years, the LNSO has performed in many of the major European concert halls.


One of the leading Lithuanian conductors, Modestas Pitrėnas has taken the position of the principal conductor and artistic director of the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) in autumn of 2015. In 2003, Pitrėnas won the 1st prize and gold medal at the 7th Grzegorz Fitelberg Conducting Competition in Katowice (Poland) and was awarded a special prize of the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra. This has led him to collaborate with Poland’s leading symphony orchestras. For his contribution to Latvian music culture Pitrėnas has been decorated with Latvian awards including the Cross of Recognition. In 2012, he was honoured with the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize. In 2015, the Baltic Assembly jury awarded the Maestro with the Baltic Assembly Prize for the Arts. Starting August 2018, Pitrėnas has served as the principal conductor at the Theater St. Gallen in Switzerland. Pitrėnas has recorded over 15 albums of choral and symphonic music. Since 2003, he has taught conducting at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, where in 2015–2017 he served as the head of the Conducting Department.

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