Sandglasses, the album dedicated to the young Lithuanian composer Justė Janulytė, is yet another release of the Contemporary Composer series by the Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre. The album includes a DVD of the world-renowned audio-visual performance Sandglasses complemented by an interview with the artists who took part in it. Janulytė’s first album also features a CD with her five most successful recent compositions and a bilingual booklet.
No Lithuanian project has ever attracted such a huge attention internationally as Sandglasses. The performance has become part of events of Réseau Varèse, the European network of festivals of contemporary music. The project’s international debut turned into a roadshow substantially longer and geographically wider than originally planned. Sandglasses, which brought together artists from Italy and Lithuania, has toured the most prestigious venues of contemporary music in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Belgium and the United States. Although Janulytė’s oeuvre included a number of mature works already prior to Sandglasses, it was the extraordinary success of that project – commissioned in 2010 by the Gaida Festival in Vilnius – that became a key motive to release an album representing the creative panorama of the composer.
As Janulytė points out, the album marks the most important stages of her creative biography and presents the most unfailing performers of her music who have lived through those stages together with her, including Sinfonietta Rīga and its artistic director Normunds Šnē, Italian cellist Francesco Dillon, his fellow countryman video artist Luca Scarzella and others. It is fair to say that the entire album is Italo-Baltic, because Sandglasses and all the compositions recorded on the CD involve creative forces from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Italy. A sharp-eyed listener-observer might even discover a few autobiographical moments from the composer’s life, starting with her Baltic roots and influences she eventually frees herself from before arriving in Italy.
The music of the album reveals in various forms the visual thinking and the ‘monochromatic’ creative method invented and aptly termed so by Janulytė. The former not only becomes evident through inner structures and inspirations of her pieces (Observation of Clouds, Elongation of Nights, Aquarelle, Textile, Psalms) but also emerges as a clear visual effect as it is the case in Sandglasses. This work, the composer says, is the most precise and suggestible expression of what she has been trying to extract over the past decade. The new album, by the way, marks the end of the first creative decade for Janulytė who says it began after she had finished her bachelor studies and wrote her very first truly original pieces that already featured the aesthetics that is still hers and still relevant.
The album has been released in collaboration with Vilnius Festivals, and has been sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and the Culture Support Foundation of Lithuania.