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Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis

Kestutis Overture

In the Forest

The Sea




Sleeve notes in Engish


April 2020

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1344-2


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Track listing

Kestutis (1902) Symphonic Overture (Orchestrated by J. Juozapaitis)

In the Forest (1900-01) Symphonic Poem

The Sea (1903-07) Symphonic Poem

Complete description

This release by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Modestas Pitrėnas includes the complete surviving symphonic oeuvre of the great Lithuanian composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875–1911) restored back into their original versions. Čiurlionis was conceptually ahead of his time and the uniqueness and aesthetic value of his compositions have been fully understood only during the last decades.


For the international audience Čiurlionis is particularly known as a painter who gave titles related to music to his paintings, but he wrote an impressive catalogue of at least over 340 music compositions, including 10 orchestral works. Čiurlionis studied composition under professor Carl Reinecke in Leipzig. He submerged himself into investigation of orchestrations of Hector Berlioz and especially Richard Strauss. His symphonic poems In the Forest (1900–1901) and The Sea (1903–1907) remain the cornerstones of Lithuanian symphonic repertoire. In the Forest brought Lithuanian professional academic music into existence, while The Sea remains an unsurpassed peak in the history of Lithuanian symphonic literature. Sadly, both works were premiered only after the composer’s death, in 1911 and 1936. Although both works were published, it was only in recent years when they have been cleared of editions by other composers back into their original form finally bringing to the listener the way how the composer envisioned them. The 30-minute symphonic poem The Sea has particularly sad history of editions and ‘improvements’ by other composers, but this recording includes the work in its original form.


Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) has been active for more than seven decades. After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, in 1990 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, he will enjoy an invitation to serve 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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