Although the 2020 European Brass Band Championships were cancelled due to the global Covid-19, the MCC Palanga organisers still ensured that composers were invited to take part in a competition to find new music for wind bands.
MCC Palanga 2020 is dedicated to an important date for the whole Lithuanian nation.
March 30th 2021 marks 100th anniversary of the return of the Palanga resort and part of the Baltic coast belonging to Latvia to Lithuania.
It followed a period when there was dispute over the region after Lithuania declared its independence on February 16, 1918. After a period of negotiation a compromise solution was reached with the intervention of the League of Nations, with an act of agreement was signed on March 30th, 1921.
The theme of the MCC 2020 was 'legends and stories of Palanga' with composers asked to write original wind band compositions of high artistic and educational merit that would enrich the repertoire.
MCC Palanga 2020 had four categories; each differing in difficulty, duration and instrumentation. The organizer was PE Palangos orchestras and was financed with support from the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Palanga City Municipality.
Performances by the Palanga City Wind Orchestra of the works by the seven finalists will be held when appropriate in 2021.
These were chosen from a high quality field of entrants with the winners as well as incentive prizes chosen by the international jury panel consisting of Jan de Haan (Netherlands), Oliver Waespi (Switzerland) and Kazys Daugėla (Lithuania).
The 500 Euro winner of Category A was Rimvydas Stanaitis for the composition 'Vaidilutes sokis' (Dance of the Priestess), with Tadas Zakarauskas taking the Category B honours and 1000 Euro prize for 'Gintaro pilis' (The Amber Palace).
Category C and 1500 Euros was won by Mikas Karosas for 'Myleti karzygi' (Loving a Warrior) and Category D and 2000 Euro by Linas Rupslaukis for 'Tiltai' (The Bridges).
Given the rapidly expanding wind and brass band movement in Lithuainia, I'm sure there's a lot of exciting music for wind and brass we can expect in the years to comeOliver Waespi
Speaking to 4BR, Oliver Waespi said: "Despite the fact that it took place in this difficult pandemic year, the competition was a highly encouraging success of a remarkably high standard.
We also found a lot of creativity and personality in the works with orchestration and the particular sound of this fascinating medium. Given the rapidly expanding wind and brass band movement in Lithuainia, I'm sure there's a lot of exciting music for wind and brass we can expect in the years to come."
That was echoed by Jan de Haan, who added: "I was not only very surprised by the large number of submissions, but also by the quality of the works. It is good to see that so many Lithuanian composers are interested in the wind music world."
Kazys Daugėla added: "The competition was very professionally organized. It is also gratifying that the organizers sought to encourage Lithuanian composers to create new works for wind orchestras which still lack high-quality Lithuanian repertoire.
The strong competition saw the composers responsibly delve into the theme and the emergence of new authors was very gratifying."