Lithuanian music for cello and piano

Rokas Zubovas ir Gleb Pysniak. Laiptų galerijos arch. nuotr.

The most important thing for a composer is to speak in his own, authentic voice. This is how five personalities who represent the entire historical scope of Lithuanian professional music speak in this vinyl record. Five legendary composers of Lithuanian musical culture presented here are Anatolijus Šenderovas, Vidmantas Bartulis, Faustas Latėnas, Vytautas Barkauskas and, of course, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. Their works for cello and piano are recorded on this vinyl by cellist Gleb Pyšniak and pianist Rokas Zubovas.

In comparison with the extensive traditions of the Western Europe, the history of Lithuanian music is short and marked by historical upheavals. It has taken root only on the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when the first legend emerged – It was uniquely talented Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. His perspicacious vision and pursuit of a distinctive, mystical world became a reference to the creative direction of future Lithuanian composers. In this recording, Čiurlionis is presented by snippets of his richest, piano, legacy as adapted for cello and piano. The listener is offered six miniatures of Čiurlionis: Angelus Domini, Nocturnes in F sharp minor and C sharp minor, Dedication, along with Preludes in B minor and D minor.

The second legend on the recording, Vytautas Barkauskas, was herald of avant-garde in Lithuanian music, who entered the music scene in the 1960s. An ever experimenter, he was among the first in Lithuanian music to test serialist technique and aleatoric music, which were labelled “formalism” by Soviet censorship. In his works, the rational (perhaps brought from the study of mathematics) and the intuitive coexisted harmoniously. As a composer he was in a constant evolution and, without professing fidelity to a single stylistic direction, was insisting on moving forward towards the utmost expressiveness of music. Suite de Concert Op. 98, as the composer himself has admitted, is saturated with tensity on various levels – openly dramatic in the outer movements and concealed in the middle ones. According to Barkauskas, the work ends in “the positive illusion of a defeat of tragedy”.

Similarly, without being attached to a particular style or compositional technique, Anatolijus Šenderovas has created an emotional, expressively idiosyncratic creative universe, which attracts both performers and listeners with its open emotionality, freedom of melody and depth of thought. His Songs of Shulamith, cherished by numerous performers, captivates by the subtlety of the sonic palette, exquisite ornamentation of melody line and freedom of musical breath granted to the performers.

The fourth and fifth legends presented in this album are composers Faustas Latėnas and Vidmantas Bartulis, dubbed the “new romantics”, whose sensitive ear has annoyed their colleagues spellbound by the avant-garde.

Faustas Latėnas implemented his creative vision and aesthetic dissent by bringing back a melody to the contemporary music. Burdened numerous times because of his creative choices, the composer found his shelter in theatre, whose community may have felt closer to his heart than that of the musicians. Nevertheless, his concert music legacy is no less striking. Sonata for Cello and Piano, featured on this recording, is an early work written by 22-year-old composer. It later became a fixture in the repertoire of the leading Lithuanian performers.

In his turn, Vidmantas Bartulis was a multifaced master who has masterly combined witty irony and gentle nature, new ideas and strive for pure beauty of music in his works. Quotations from composers of the past have come to be integral part of his idiosyncratic vocabulary. It would be difficult to find another composer whose work would be so rich in dedications to his friends – those he met and his precursors whose ideas he shared – with whom he whispered through the music. According to the composer’s good friend, composer Algirdas Martinaitis, Bartulis’ I’m Seeing My Friend Off and We Are Taking One Last Look at the Snow-covered February Trees… was born from deep fascination with the Eastern poets whose restrained voice and translucent textures the composer transferred into music.

Written by Rasa Murauskaitė. Translated by Sonata Zubovienė.


At the age of 14, cellist Gleb Pyšniak made his debut at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall as a soloist with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, conducted by prof. Saulius Sondeckis. Today, the disciple of the legendary cellist Natalia Gutman gives concerts in the major concert halls of the world, including the Musikverein in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and others.

Pianist Rokas Zubovas is best known to listeners for his interpretations of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis works – the pianist has recorded all piano works by this composer, played his famous ancestor in the feature film Letters to Sofija. The musician has performed in North and South America, as well as in many European countries.



Lithuanian  music for cello and piano
Composers: Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Anatolijus Šenderovas, Vidmantas Bartulis, Vytautas Barkauskas, Faustas Latėnas

Anatolijus Šenderovas (1945-2019)
Dvi Sulamitos giesmės
Songs of Shulamith

Vidmantas Bartulis (1954-2020) 
Palydžiu iškeliaujantį draugą ir mes paskutinį kartą žiūrime į apsnigtus vasario medžius…
I’m Seeing My Friend Off and We Are taking One Last Look at the Snowcovered February Trees….

M. K. Čiurlionis (1875-1911)

  1. Noktiurnas fis-moll, op. 4 Nr. 1 (VL 178)
  2. Viešpaties Angelas (Angelus Domini), op. 6 Nr. 1 (VL 184)
  3. Preliudas h-moll, op. 11 Nr. 3 (VL 182a)
  4. Preliudas d-moll, op. 12 Nr. 1 (VL 239)
  5. Dedikacija, op. 3 Nr. 1 (VL 169)
  6. Noktiurnas cis-moll, op. 6 Nr. 2 (VL 183)    

Piano works of M. K. Čiurlionis adapted for cello and piano by Juozas Čelkauskas and David Geringas.

Vytautas Barkauskas (1931-2020)
Suite de Concert Op. 98

  1. Impetuoso
  2. Calmo, con dolore
  3. Scherzo, con grazia
  4. Quasi tranquillo
  5. Affetuoso – Hommage à Stasys Lozoraitis

Faustas Latėnas (1956-2020)
Sonata for cello and piano

I. Ramiai, plaukiančiai
II. Gyvai
III. Andante

Gleb Pyšniak, cello
Rokas Zubovas, piano

Sound engineer: Arūnas Zujus
Design: Dovydas Čiuplys
Photos: Ugnė Žilinskė, Kęstutis Pleita
Text: Rasa Murauskaitė
Translation: Sonata Zubovienė

2022 | Contact us by e-mail for purchase or buy Here.