Sergijus Kirsenka Introduces Tuba Music by Lithuanian Composers
Tuba, the often-forgotten orchestra instrument, had virtually no Lithuanian solo repertoire before Sergijus Kirsenka, the tubist, ventured off looking for new pieces for the instrument. Thanks to him, a number of local composers learned more about both the modern use of tuba and its extended techniques.
“For quite a while, I’ve nurtured the idea of collecting all Lithuanian tuba music into a single album, given that I’ve been its first performer,” Sergijus Kirsenka said. “It was this year that I felt it’s the right time for me to do it. Simultaneously, I took the chance to release the digital scores.”
The anthology provides an insight into the history of Lithuanian tuba music, namely its solo and chamber repertoire, which combines tuba with electronics, piano, accordion and strings. In an interview for Music Lithuania, Sergijus Kirsenka talks about the music and its origins.
What was behind the idea of the compilation of Lithuanian tuba music?
Prior to 1995, we had only one piece of tuba music here in Lithuania, the Koncertino for tuba and symphony orchestra (1986) by Benjaminas Gorbulskis, first performed by Leonardas Ulevičius. After the graduation from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, I was eager to give solo concerts, hence I started looking for tuba music, new pieces in particular to reveal the technical capability of the instrument. I soon learned that as a solo instrument tuba was well out of the radar of Lithuanian composers.
How did your and their ways link up?
Vytautas Germanavičius was the first composer I met. In almost no time, he came up with EOS, the piece written for me, which debuted in 1995 at the Contemporary Arts Centre in Vilnius. Later that year EOS took the fourth prize at the chamber music competition hosted by the Music Foundation of the Lithuanian Composers’ Union. In 2001, I played EOS at the Two Days & Two Nights of Modern Music, the festival in Odessa, Ukraine.
Later I met more young local composers, Žibuoklė Martinaitytė and Valdas Stanaitis among them. In 2006, while I was touring Lithuanian music schools and conservatoires to introduce the tuba as a solo instrument, I played Attention! High Tension! for tuba and piano (2001) by Žibuoklė Martinaitytė more than fifty times! Later still I made friends with Vaida Striaupaitė-Beinarienė and Linas Baltas.
DEW, the Concerto for tuba and symphony orchestra by Linas Baltas, was performed in 2016 at the National Philharmonic in Vilnius together with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Modestas Pitrėnas.
What’s special about this tuba music itself?
EOS by Vytautas Germanavičius is the first Lithuanian piece which employs extended techniques for tuba. Žibuoklė Martinaitytė’s Ab Initio for tuba and recording involves songbird sounds, while the aforementioned Attention! High Tension! was inspired by my singing while playing the instrument at its lowest pitches. Valdas Stanaitis has gone into the search for the timbral links between tuba and piano. TubAccordo Duo by Vaida Striaupaitė-Beinarienė offers an intriguing convergence of tuba and accordion.
I am glad to say that the album also features her brand-new piece, Mozaika V for tuba solo (2021), the fifth part in her series of music for solo instruments, Mozaikos. Tuba Quintet in C by Linas Baltas, written in 2019 and dedicated to me and the Chordos String Quartet, has never been performed on the stage too.
Currently Sergijus Kirsenka has been working on Ab Initio, the album that also features pianist Eglė Kižytė-Ramonienė, accordionist Raimondas Sviackevičius and the Chordos String Quartet.
All the performers interested in digital scores are welcome to our online store.