Dalia R. With’s expressive palette is driven by an internal muse, informed by her interest in literary sources, philosophy, and multi-media disciplines. At her disposal is a strong command over experimental instrumental technique as well as a penchant for beautiful expressive melancholy.
|01||Solitarius for clarinet solo|
Solitarius for clarinet solo
|Joshua Rubin, clarinet||5:54|
|02||Ventus for alto saxophone and electronics|
Ventus for alto saxophone and electronics
|Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, alto saxophone, Dalia Raudonikytė With, electronics||12:50|
|03||Grues et nix for string orchestra|
Grues et nix for string orchestra
|The Vilnius City Municipality St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, Donatas Katkus, conductor||12:14|
|04||FCH for piano solo|
FCH for piano solo
|Šviesė Čepliauskaitė, piano||3:30|
|05||Primo cum lumine solis for guitar solo|
Primo cum lumine solis for guitar solo
|Daniel Lippel, guitar||3:28|
|06||Idem non semper idem for alto saxophone solo|
Idem non semper idem for alto saxophone solo
|Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, alto saxophone||8:04|
Composer Dalia Raudonikytė With focuses on exploring nuances within the phenomenon of sound, approaching it from a variety of multi-disciplinary angles including the visual arts, literature, philosophy, computer programming and ethnography. Her music often creates implicit links to passages from great literature by including literary quotes in her scores that encode the performer’s perception and interpretation with extra-musical reference points. In her solo clarinet work, Solitarius, we hear whispered fragments of text occasionally woven into the fabric of the performance itself, a window into the unspoken literary source that informs its interpretation. The work unfolds otherwise as a thoughtful soliloquy, a rhetorical dialogue with different sides of oneself. Ventus is timbrally more exploratory, as fluttering extended techniques in the saxophone merge with unstable sounds in the electronics. The chamber orchestra piece Grues et nix revels in dense sound masses and long, sustained lines, creating cresting waves of evocative and expressive harmony. FCH, an homage to Frederic Chopin, begins with an exploration of sparse lyricism before evoking its dedicatee through pianistic passagework. The solo guitar work Primo cum lumine solis also sticks with conventional harmony for the most part, melding the free, rhetorical dialogue of Solitarius with modal harmonic treatment. The final section of the piece breaks away from the prevailing lyricism with some angular passagework before the final cadence brings back the expansive character of the opening section. The final work on the program, Idem non semper idem, returns to the fragility of the extended techniques of the solo saxophone, with unearthly multiphonics behaving as architectural pillars for this strange and vivid sonic language. Dalia R. With’s expressive palette is driven not by aesthetic agendas, but instead by an internal muse. At her disposal is a strong command over experimental instrumental technique as well as a penchant for beautiful expressive melancholy, and connecting the diverse expressive worlds she inhabits is a solemn, lyrical quality that pierces through all of the varied textures she employs.
- D. Lippel
Engineers: Gisburg (tracks 1 and 5), Cato Langnes (track 2), Michailas Omeljančukas (track 4), Arnas Akelaitis (track 6)
Recording locations: Harvestworks, New York, NY (tracks 1 and 5), NOTAM, Oslo, Norway (track 2), Union Palace of Culture Vilnius, Lithuania (track 3), PIANO.LT, Vilnius, Lithuania (track 4), Kaunas State Philharmonic Society, Lithuania (track 6)
Mastering: Gisburg, Harvestworks, New York, NY
Design: Marc Wolf (marcjwolf.com)
Project Management: Daniel Lippel
Produced with the support from the Norwegian Society of Composers
Dalia Raudonikytė With is a composer, pianist and educator. Born in Vilnius, she moved to Oslo in 1998 and now is based in New York. She graduated from the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy and was granted a qualification Master of Music in composition and piano education. After receiving a grant from The Research Council of Norway continued her studies for two years in composition and electroacoustic music at Norwegian Academy of Music. Her works include a wide range of performers: from solo instruments to symphony orchestra and from chamber ensembles to electroacoustic compositions. Her music has been premiered and performed in concerts across Europe, the United States, and Russia, including at international music festivals “Gaida”, “Is arti”, “Jauna muzika”, “Muzikos ruduo”, ”Druskomanija” in Lithuania, “Floralia muzyczne” in Poland, Oslo International Church music festival and Bergen International festival in Norway, MATA Festival (New York), New York film festival Another Experiment by Women, and New York Electronic Art Festival. Dalia R. With is a recipient of several grants and fellowships from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Norwegian Music Funds, Norwegian Society of Composers, and Arts Council Norway.http://www.daliawithmusic.com/
Lithuanian composer Dalia Raudonikyte With doesn’t hide her love of literature in her work. This diverse portrait album contains bookish connections in just about every piece. Clarinetist Joshua Rubin (of International Contemporary Ensemble fame) whispers discrete words from a Seneca text in the middle of his solo performance on the title piece. “Ventus” interprets the Francis Picabia quotation, “Our heads are round, so our thoughts can change direction,” as the extended techniques performed by the superb Norwegian alto saxophonist Rolf-Erik Nystrøm (known for his membership in the daring trio Poing) and the jarring, splintery electronics played by With herself clash and blend. The composer, who studied in Oslo and now lives in New York, has a broad aesthetic; on “Grues et nix,” performed by the Vilnius City Municipality St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, she uses a string orchestra to dramatically embody the Virginia Woolf line, “Melancholy were the sounds on a winter’s night,” projecting both chilly atmospheres and a crushing sense of darkness—sorrowful, on the edge of collapse.
The brief piano solo, played here by Sviese Cepliauskaite, an old colleague of the composer from Lithuania, brings a dazzling precision to “FCH,” a piece inspired by one of the pianist’s greatest loves, Frederic Chopin, while New York guitarist Daniel Lippel brings complexity to “Primo cum lumine solis,” a rangy modal exploration marked by a moody lyric quality and wonderfully discursive shifts in tone and attack. The album concludes with “Idem non semper idem,” another solo piece, with Nystrøm showcasing his deep multiphonic vocabulary and a veritable catalog of swooping glissandos and percussive popping, aptly closing the narrative to a collection of pieces rich in allusion and metaphor. — Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily, 9.18.2017
New music requires new composers, of course. And of those there are no shortages. Virtually every day I find the music of somebody I do not know in front of me. And many of them surprise me in good ways. I am lucky to be alive right now for music. Even if it impoverishes me. What is joy worth? One cannot translate it into monetary terms. So my life is very rich on the level of gratitude, much less so in some other ways. C'est la vie.
Today we have another example: the music of Daliya Raudonikyte With, a she, Norwegian maybe? The recent album of her music, Solitarius (New Focus 186) gives us pause. It is a compendium of some six works, four involving a solo instrument, one a kind of duet, and one a chamber orchestra work.
In each case there is a literary quotation as a springboard--Thomas Wolfe, Picabia, Virginia Woolf, Chopin, Stefan Zweig. What results is distinctive, carefully sonorous music that stays within to reverberate with your being. There is sonic acuity, deliberation, gesture, and a special envelope full of the present.
Expect very appropriate ventures into extended techniques, a contemporary modernism that has more than the norm of invention, often far more. "Grues et Nix," the single orchestral work, has a kind of uncanny opening onto a personal sonic mapping of what Woolfe declaims as "Melancholy were the sounds on a winter's night." This work is in its very own way as evocative as something like Ives' "Central Park in the Dark," and without sounding like Ives at that, but equally home-spun, native individual like.
The other works each have a particular personal With touch, whether it be "Solitarius" for clarinet, "Ventus" for alto sax and electronics, "FCH" for piano, "Primo cum lumine solis" for guitar, or "Idem non semper idem" for alto sax. Nothing is tentative, even if nothing seems exactly formal in some scientistic way, and so much the better because With is expression first perhaps, structure second?
In the end it is all of course about the listening experience. With gives us an excellent one while being very much herself.
So I do suggest this one as rewarding, essential in its own way as music of this very second!
— Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Classical Modern Music Review, 7.14.2017
I am glad via this blog I can experience the music of numerous worthy contemporary composers. Yet sometimes life becomes hectic to the point where I find I know something and have reviewed it previously. My memory can suffer a slip when I have been grappling with distractions as I have so much lately. So it happens with the CD at hand. I already reviewed it last July and find out after I have written yet another article. OK, I might as well post it anyway! You can compare it with the earlier one and notice a consistency, yet also another slightly different take on things. So here it is:
Dalia Raudonikyte With comes center stage for us in a recent recording of solo and string orchestra music, Solitarius (New Focus Recordings FCR186).
In each of the compositions on the program a literary, artistic-aesthetic or philosophical quote forms the reference point for the music at hand. So we have launching point pithiness from Seneca, Francis Picabia, Virginia Woolf, Frederic Chopin, Stefan Zweig and Thomas Wolfe, in each case underscoring a work of a distinctly modern, sometimes extended-technique-colored and an expanded tonal sort.
Receiving her MA in composition and piano education at the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy, With went on to study composition and electroacoustic music at the Norwegian Academy of music.
The program includes concentric works for solo clarinet, for alto saxophone and electronics, for piano solo and for solo guitar. Centerpiecing the sequence is the searching “Grues et nix” for string orchestra, which contrasts with the solo fare and shows a fullness against the solo open sound dimensions of the surrounding works.
A constant is a poetic musical demeanor, a search for extended sonarities that express meaning and mood without being tied strictly to the text that inspires each.
It all is well played and a somewhat different take on what is possible today. Well worth your time.
© 12.28.2017, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, Grego Applegate Edwards
Since we have been a conversation
I stood there, in the middle of the museum, in the hall where on the floor white lines of the chamber perimeters of famous prisons were drawn – startlingly small cells, in which hundreds of thousands condemned were spending their last hours. Suddenly the phone rang and there was no other choice than to answer it immediately, trying to mitigate the uncomfortable situation. While talking I was asked if I’ve heard Dalia Raudonikytė’s CD that came out last year. That’s how I learned about this publication.
The CD "Solitarius" (published by New Focus Recordings, FRC186, ℗ & © 2017 Dalia Raudonikytė ̇-With) is really worth attention. It contains six compositions (1996-2017) for various instruments. One can say that it is a thoughtful self-portrait of the composer, at least partly reflecting her multifaceted interests and colorful experience. The booklet mentions that Raudonikytė-With has interests in the arts, literature, philosophy, computer programming, and ethnography. She composes orchestral music, electro-acoustic projects, sound installations, creates collages of musique concrète and collaborates with video artists.
One can only guess why such a set of music came out only now, because it is obvious that the existing style fermented already a long time ago, so there was definitely something to show (imagine writers who are happy to read, but who are not publishing their own works). The fact that the author is not living in Lithuania (Norway and the US) can’t make her creative work “exotic”. In today’s world the place of “residence” no longer has such a meaning as a few decades ago yet traditionally it is expected more from emigrants than those living here.
A wacky romantic Hölderlin said that the creation of poetry is "the most faultless occupation of all". Of course, to say something in terms of “fault” about the music in which there is no verbal text is even more difficult. However, music inevitably broadcasts endless information about her author’s taste, emotional condition, attitude towards self-attributed place in “the world of the established values" (that is, aesthetic likes and dislikes). It also reflects manners and stereotypes taken over from teachers, an openness or closeness for today’s world. For sensitive ears, it is always like a sieve full of holes, from which as fountains spurt sounds that are not necessarily what the author wants. And no matter how much the listener would try, he will never escape from his own listening inertia and stubborn superstitions stuck in his head – what is good taste and what is proper and good music.
So the concept of innocence of the music we are listening to is very complicated and hard to untie. How could it be otherwise, when the process of the music comes together mostly in the consciousness of the listener with the added interpretation of his own imagination. Moreover, even the same piece, which is recorded and immutable, sometimes it can appear different when listening to it a few times in a row. Somehow it seems that some things were performed better one time than another (although it is impossible), or that the power of suggestion was stronger when hearing it for the first time and after one hour it is already fading.
Raudonikytė With’s works start right away, without any intros. The mood and condition of the music, the transparent atmosphere and peace cautiously shimmer from the very first moment. The recording possesses a property, which is impossible not to notice – there is no idle talk. Phrases are psychologically motivated; the form is architecturally well built. It is music of complicated dynamic trajectory, however in it there is no overload or anomaly of expressivity. A need for any kind of thrill is foreign to the composer. It is the string of short episodes as though composed and improvised for oneself, avoiding prolonged situations and boring repetition.
This music has a specific color, maybe even neon by nature, as well as cozy softness, as though painted with fingers or printed in pale colors. Timbres are important in particular, they say no less than an overall compositional form.
Three works on this album are performed by the soft timbres of woodwinds – Solitarius for clarinet (2017, performed by Joshua Rubin), Ventus for alto saxophone with electronics (2002, performed by Rolf Eric Nystrøm and the author; it seems to be the most improvisational opus) and Idem non semper idem for alto saxophone (2017, performed by Rolf Eric Nystrøm). The instruments’ characters are amazingly intimate, sensual, and discreetly sensitive like reliable friends who have proven their loyalty more than once.
Derek Jarman called a shadow "a queen of color", and this is related to Dalia’s creative work. Here there are no bright colors without a spacious background marked with patterns of shadows. This is well revealed in Ventus, where various saxophone timbres are spreading within constantly changing delicate electronic ribs. Sounds like leaves of a plant are spreading freely, turning around daily with a new angle and making up uncountable constellations of forms. The space breathes and quivers without binding us to attentively follow the evolution of the ornament appearing for a brief instant. It’s like a current of the river flowing through the shadows of the shrubs, lightly flickering and different at each moment.
The most monumental sounds are heard on the third composition on the album: Grues et nix for string orchestra (1996, performed by the Vilnius St. Christopher Chamber orchestra, conductor Donatas Katkus), written earlier than the others, it especially captivates the emotions of the listeners, maybe because of its more complex polyphony and more open pathos. Temporarily I even had doubts whether this music needed to be put together with other five solo pieces? However this more old-fashioned music most of all determines the coloring of the entire album. The injection of aching melancholy sinks into the deepest corners of consciousness.
Raudonikytė has a refined jazz-like style when she writes for piano, at least it is so in the case of her piece FCH (2007). Her chosen model of “a journey to Chopin”, when migrating from own material to an easily recognizable territory of the classics, is not new. There are maybe thousands of such pieces. Thus the thought arises that the performance could benefit from a different point of view – not looking from a standard canon of romanticism as done by the performer of the piece Šviesė Čepliauskaitė, but grounded in Raudonikytė With’s swing-like rhythm and harmony, offering a more modern, almost Bill Evans type of pianism.
One of the quiet culminations of the album is Primo cum lumine solis for guitar (2017, performed by Daniel Lippel). It's one the most beautiful modern pieces for acoustic guitar I’ve ever heard. Almost strange that this music is not performed by the composer herself – that’s how strong is the effect. The composition is restrained and expressive, whiffling with distant echoes of contemplative flamenco, yet nowhere crossing unnecessary limits and preserving the original touch.
The conceptual sequence of six pieces is completed by saxophone. The final work Idem non semper idem is ceremonial and hypnotizing, demonstrating the best qualities of her aesthetics: the ability to speak with almost intangible sounds, simply and with concentration, with gestures of the magician stopping the breathing of the listener and initiating it again. An impetuous breakthrough is replaced by a vision of absolute extinction – to infinity, nothingness, dissolution into an invisible distance and into the calm of high pitches.
By the way, the composer wisely conceals any technological characteristics of her music and does not interfere with their sophisticated descriptions in the program notes of the pieces, presented in a neat CD booklet (designer Marc Wolf). She makes use of laconic quotes from the texts of philosophers, artists and writers significant to her, creating a silent polylogue with personalities of different times. Seneka, Francis Picabia, Virginia Woolf, Fryderyk Chopin, Stefan Zweig, Thomas Wolfe – the music presented here is linked to them.
The entirety of the CD is as clean as gallery space: empty white walls with only a few carefully selected objects hung on them without errors. On the other hand, we experience the all-encompassing twilight of shadows, gray, romantically nostalgic, and occasionally sensual. Of course I wonder whether impressions written here were influenced by that strange place where my meeting with Dalia Raudonikytė With’s music started. That previously mentioned museum with incredible installations and a shocking martyrological exposition. Perhaps yes, because the feeling of the very first impulse – not even musical –penetrated deeply so that later on it would merge with reflections about heard music and would become an indistinguishable oneness.
And now I’ve been listening to these nonsentimental, but extremely poetic compositions for longer than a month. Remembering Hölderlin: "Since we have been a conversation / and have been able to hear from one another"...
-Šarūnas Nakas, Autorius, 8.6.2018. Translated by Žibuoklė Martinaitytė