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Žibuoklė Martinaitytė

Ex Tenebris Lux




Sleeve notes in English


June 2022

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1403-2


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Track listing

Nunc fluens. Nunc stans. (2020)

Ex Tenebris Lux (2021)

Sielunmaisema (2019)
I. Winter

II. Spring

III. Summer

IV. Autumn

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Complete description

This second Ondine recording of music by Žibuoklė Martinaitytė (b. 1973) is devoted exclusively to works scored for string orchestra, all of which were composed in the last three years. These works are performed by the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, one of the most internationally well-known orchestras from Lithuania, conducted by Karolis Variakojis.


Based in New York City, Martinaitytė has begun to be recognized in the United States as well as throughout Europe; recently her orchestral work Saudade was performed on a subscription concert by the New York Philharmonic. Martinaitytė continues to refine her carefully crafted musical compositions which are equally inspired by the external natural world and internal psychological realms, but which are all filtered through her desire to create music that, first and foremost, is beautiful.


The title of Nunc fluens. Nunc stans. (2020) originates from a quote from The Consolation of Philosophy, a treatise written in the Sixth Century C.E. by the Medieval Roman thinker Severinus Boethius (c. 477-524): “Nunc fluens facit tempus. Nunc stans facit aeternitatum.” (“The now that passes creates time; the now that remains creates eternity.”). Martinaitytė composed this very slowly unfolding music during the early months of the global pandemic as a direct artistic response to the precarious and uncertain times in which we are still living. “Suddenly we all found ourselves having just a present moment,” Martinaitytė has written. “The future was uncertain and therefore irrelevant; it was absurd to even think of it. The past vanished, becoming more and more like a dream. We had only Now, which seemingly lost its flow and stood still for a while. Days were passing and weeks, and there was no change. Only the Now remained...”


Ex Tenebris Lux (2021) is the most recent piece featured herein. It is scored for a total of 18 stringed instruments (eight violins, four violas, four cellos, and two doublebasses) and each player has a unique part. The work, whose Latin title means “from darkness comes light,” is also a musical response to the current world health crisis. The resultant nearly 25-minute continuous sonic arc that Martinaitytė fashioned in response charts a journey from a very contained low and morose yet serene dirge to an expansive soundscape spanning the entire range of the string orchestra that is ecstatic and radiant.


Sielunmaisema (2019) is a hefty 34-minute work for solo violoncello and a large string orchestra requiring a minimum of 21 players. It is constructed from a very fundamental aspect of time: the cycle of a year. Its four movements are named for winter, spring, summer, and autumn, which can also each be played separately as self-contained works. Martinaitytė’s music is introspective, as can perhaps be gleaned from her overall title for the work, a Finnish word which means a “soul-landscape, a particular place that a person carries deep in the heart and returns to often in memory.” Martinaitytė has explained that for her such a soul-landscape is directly related to her experience of having lived in two very different cultures and two very different physical spaces: “Soul-landscape is related to questions of identity and place which resonate with two parallel cultural identities that I carry within – my native Lithuanian and later acquired American. My physical home keeps changing and the only thing that remains is music.” Ultimately, these four movements are sonic portraits of the composer’s internal responses to the four seasons rather than direct portrayals of each of these seasons in sound.


Pavel Giunter is the most influential and recognized percussionist in Lithuania. He is also a leading soloist and studio musician performing a wide range of music from classical to modern, world and jazz. Giunter has premiered many contemporary works, some of which are dedicated to him. In 1989 he was appointed as the principal percussionist at the Lithuanian State Symphony, where he currently serves. With this orchestra he has toured many European and Asian countries performing with top conductors.


Rokas Vaitkevičius is currently the principal cellist at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre and a founding member of Mettis Quartet and the cello ensemble Cello Club. He is also teaching solo cello and chamber music at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Vaitkevičius has performed in important venues and festivals such as Wigmore Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, Hamburg Laeiszhalle, Paris Hotel des Invalides, Calouste Gulbenkian Lisboa, and others. As a soloist Vaitkevičius has performed with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra and has won prizes in both national and international cello competitions in Lithuania.


Founded in 1960, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra is recognized as one of the finest and most internationally acclaimed Lithuanian orchestras. Over the years its tour itineraries have covered the length and breadth of Europe, reaching both Americas, Africa, Arabic countries, Australia, China and Japan. The LCO has appeared at major European halls such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna’s Musikverein, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Salle Pleyel and Gaveau in Paris, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus to name a few. From 1992 until his death in 1999, Yehudi Menuhin conducted almost 60 concerts on the orchestra’s annual tours, many of which have been recorded. During its five decades, the LCO has also produced over 100 albums of diverse repertoire, with special attention to the music of Bach and Mozart. Along with performances of Baroque and classical masterpieces, the Orchestra has frequently included contemporary works in its programs and recordings. It has always been an active promoter of Lithuanian music. Sergej Krylov is the orchestra’s music director, soloist and conductor since 2008.


Karolis Variakojis has become the leading conductor for contemporary classical music in Lithuania collaborating with composers including Bronius Kutavičius, Žibuoklė Martinaitytė, Justė Janulytė and skillfully executing international masterpieces such as Hans Abrahamsen’s Let Me Tell You or Steve Reich’s Music for Ensemble and Orchestra. Variakojis’ conducting style combines a meticulous technique, mesmerizingly natural movement and unrelenting energy. Born in the rural town of Biržai, Lithuania and educated at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Karolis Variakojis studied under the tutelage of Maestro Juozas Domarkas, himself a student of the legendary Russian educator Ilya Musin. Variakojis is currently the principal conductor of the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra as well as the State Wind Orchestra and can frequently be seen as a guest conductor on Lithuania’s principal stages such as the Lithuanian National Philharmonic.

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