Same Direction. Bel Canto Choir Vilnius & Sofia Vokalensemble in Concert

A cozy and elegant evening of the most beautiful Swedish choral music for male choirs and contemporary choral music, featuring performance by Vaiper Vitalijus Despotin & Tomas Fingalick Narkevičius.

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, Lithuania’s best mixed voice volunteer choir, and one of the best Swedish choirs, Sofia Vokalensemble, which won Europe’s best choir title in 2012, joined forces for an extraordinary concert in the cozy St. Catherine Church in Vilnius. Bel Canto Choir Vilnius’ guests – the male group from Sofia Vokalensemble – presented some of the most beautiful Swedish music for male choirs, while Bel Canto Choir Vilnius performed works of contemporary choral music. An exciting premiere took place during the evening: a joint project between Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and the Lithuanian electronic and urban music composers Vaiper Vitalijus Despotin and Tomas “Fingalick” Narkevičius.

Touching Northern romance by the men of Sofia Vokalensemble

The concert was opened by the male group from Sofia Vokalensemble, who presented – for the first time in Lithuania –  works of male choral music that are highly popular in Sweden as well as some of the best music for male choirs by foreign composers. The program ranged from romantic, nature-inspired works such as Aftonen (the Evening) by Hugo Alfvén to Quatre petites prières de Saint François d’Assise by Francis Poulenc, reflecting religious texts.

The aim of the program was to present the vision of Bengt Ollén, the Artistic Director of Sofia Vokalensemble. “The vision is to create music that transcends notes. The music performed by the choir is not just about wonderful sounds and a tidy interpretation of music. Music must have an impact on the listener. Hence, every singer is a highly important part of a musical piece.”

Passion for contemporary choral music by Bel Canto Choir Vilnius

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius performed works by renowned contemporary choral music composers Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjeilo. The Choir presented the choral version of Enjoy the Silence, a composition by British band Depeche Mode, written by Grammy award winner Eric Whitacre, as well as the touching work Northern Lights by Ola Gjeilo. The Vilnius-based choir also presented several works from its new program. These included the diptych Nacht und Morgen by György Ligeti, the playful miniature Bonjour, et puis, quelles nouvelles by Orlando di Lasso and M. K. Oginskio priesakai sūnui (M. K. Oginskis’ behest to his son) by Lithuanian composer Vaclovas Augustinas.

A special premiere during the evening was a joint performance by Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and electronic and urban music composers Vaiper Vitalijus Despotin and Tomas “Fingalick” Narkevičius. They performed the choral piece Lietuviškos dainos (Lithuanian songs) by Giedrius Kuprevičius based on the texts by Antanas Strazdas, which was newly arranged and adapted for Bel Canto Choir Vilnius by the two special guest performers. With the help of electronic and choir voices, Despotin and Narkevičius created a spacey and mysterious interpretation of Lietuviškos dainos (Lithuanian songs) by Giedrius Kuprevičius, the father of Lithuanian electronic music, live on the stage. The two special guests say they are seeking to interpret and promote creative work by talented Lithuanian composers in order for it to be discovered not only by connoisseurs of academic music, but also by a new generation of gourmands of music.

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and Sofia Vokalensemble concluded their concert with a work called Norrland by Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar, performed by the men from both choirs.

The Artistic Director of Bel Canto Choir Vilnius is Artūras Dambrauskas; the choirmasters are Raminta Gocentienė, Milda Zapolskaitė and Giedrius Pavilionis.

The Artistic Director of Sofia Vokalensemble is Bengt Ollén. Producers of the concert include Audrius Valatkevičius, the president of Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and Tomas Icikzonas, a member of Sofia Vokalensemble.

Same Direction concert in photos

Concert Program. Male group from Sofia Vokalensemble

Hugo Alfvén

Gryning vid havet
Hugo Alfvén

Herr, lehre doch mich
Rudolf Mauersberger

På Fjället i Regn
Wilhelm Peterson-Berger

Kung Liljekonvalje
David Wikander

Mart Saar

Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d’Assise
Francis Poulenc

Tėvyne mūsų
Vaclovas Augustinas

From The First Hello To The Last Goodbye
Johnny Burke

Concert Program. Bel Canto Choir Vilnius

Lietuviškos Dainos
Giedrius Kuprevičius
Featuring Vitalij Vaiper Despotin & Tomas Fingalick Narkevičius

Northern Lights
Ola Gjeilo

Bonjour, et puis, quelles nouvelles
Roland de Lassus

Nacht und Morgen
György Ligeti

Enjoy the Silence
Martin Gore (Depeche Mode); choral version by Eric Whitacre

M.K. Oginskio priesakai sūnui
Vaclovas Augustinas

Wilhelm Stenhammar
Performed by male groups from Bel Canto Choir Vilnius & Sofia Vokalensemble

Artists & Performers

Male group from Swedish choir Sofia Vokalensemble
Artistic Director Bengt Ollén

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius
Artistic Director Artūras Dambrauskas

Vitalij Vaiper Despotin & Tomas “Fingalick” Narkevičius
Electronic and urban music composers

Producers of the Concert Audrius Valatkevičius and Tomas Icikzonas

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