Given the fact that he died of pneumonia at the age of 35, Ciurlionis' output is amazing, more that 250 compositions in all, many of them for the piano, though his symphonic poems In the Forest and The Sea are perhaps better known. This is without mentioning his painting career, which is a considerable part of his legacy. Both in his painting and music he appears to be a man both supremely of and ahead of his time. It is clear there were antecedents for the directions Ciurlionis took in both his painting and his music, but it is also abundantly evident he had influence on his contemporaries (especially visual artists).
At any rate, this generous sampling of his keyboard music makes for compelling listening. Recorded in 1975, the two-disc set is comprised of selections spanning the composer's productive life, from 1899 to 1909, as played by Aldona Radvilaite, Raimondas Kontrimas, Augustinas Maceina, Aleksandra Juozapėnaitė and Birute Vainiunaite (I assume all are Lithuanian pianists--I was unable to locate any information). While the music is pleasurable to listen to merely for its color, harmony and melody, it is just as interesting to listen for the changes that crept in with his maturity: some atonality is introduced into the collections of preludes, fughettas and Lithuanian folk melodies.
It is known that Ciurlionis had a melancholic temperament. Some sources write that it was a bout of depression and subsequent hospitalization that ultimately caused his fatal pneumonia. Thankfully, I am not a biographer and don't have to provide sources, but I can recommend this music. While this particular disc is difficult to track down, there are well regarded collections readily available from the Marco Polo and Celestial Harmonies labels.
(track info via musicperformers.lt):
|Four Pieces op. 3||1||No 1 Prelude in B flat minor 2'33||2||No 2 Humoresque in G minor 2'24||3||No 3 Mazurka in B minor 1'17||4||No 4 Prelude in F minor 1'11||Two Pieces op. 4||5||No 1 Nocturn in F sharp minor 3'42||6||No 2 Prelude in F sharp minor 1'30||Two Pieces op. 6||7||No 1 Prelude in F sharp minor 2'36||8||No 2 Nocturn in C sharp minor 4'10||Four Preludes op. 7||9||No 1 in F sharp minor 1'29||10||No 2 Pastorale in D flat major 1'08||11||No 3 in B major 2'13||12||No 4 In A minor Lydian 1'18||Two Pieces op. 8||13||No 1 Mazurka in E flat minor 1'49||14||No 2 Prelude in F minor 3'24||Three Preludes op. 11||15||No 1 In A minor 0'35||16||No 2 Dainelė in E flat minor 0'58||17||No 3 in B minor 2'05||From Three Pieces op. 12||18||No 1 Prelude in D minor 1'49||19||No 2 Postlude in C major 2'06||From Three Preludes op. 13||20||No 1 in A minor 0'44||21||No 2 in G major 2'33||Theme and Six Variations||22||Theme 0'50||23||Var. 1 4'11||24||Var. 2 0'43||25||Var. 3 1'19||26||Var. 4 0'22||27||Var. 5 1'52||28||Var. 6 0'40||Four Preludes op. 16||29||No 1 in B minor 0'48||30||No 2 in B minor 0'40||31||No 3 in D minor 3'20||32||No 4 Epizode from the Symphonic Poem The Sea 0'50||Three Pieces op. 17||33||No 1 Prelude 2'09||34||No 2 Autumn 1'14||35||No 3 Prelude on the Theme of a Russian folk-song 0'37||Theme ”BEEs ACAEs” and Three Variations op. 18||36||Theme 1'47||37||Var. 1 1'47||38||Var. 2 0'52||39||Var. 3 0'57|
|Three Pieces op. 19||1||No 1 Prelude 1'01||2||No 2 Basso Ostinato 1'25||3||No 3 Nightingale 0'47||Three Preludes on One Theme op. 20||4||No 1 1'05||mp3||5||No 2 3'11||mp3||6||No 3 1'23||mp3||Four Preludes op. 21||7||No 1 1'00||8||No 2 1'59||mp3||9||No 3 0'32||mp3||10||No 4 0'42||mp3||Five Preludes op. 22||11||No 1 1'07||mp3||12||No 2 1'38||mp3||13||No 3 0'30||mp3||14||No 4 0'43||mp3||15||No 5 1'20||mp3||Four Preludes op. 26||16||No 1 1'11||17||No 2 0'32||18||No 3 3'26||19||No 4 2'31||Four Preludes op. 27||20||No 1 1'02||21||No 2 1'57||22||No 3 0'28||23||No 4 1'52||Marios op. 28||24||No 1 1'42||25||No 2 3'07||26||No 3 0'51||From Two Fughettas and Two Preludes op. 29||27||No 1 Fughetta 0'41||28||No 3 Prelude in D flat major 1'35||29||No 4 Prelude 1'27||Three Preludes op. 30||30||No 1 0'48||31||No 2 1'50||32||No 3 1'05||Four Preludes op. 31||33||No 1 1'54||mp3||34||No 2 0'55||mp3||35||No 3 1'02||mp3||36||No 4 1'18||mp3||From Three Preludes op. 32||37||No 1 0'53||mp3||38||No 2 2'02||mp3||Six Preludes op. 33||39||No 1 2'30||40||No 2 1'13||41||No 3 1'06||42||No 4 1'13||43||No 5 1'58||44||No 6 0'50||Fugue op. 34|
Aldona Radvilaitė (1-4) (CD 1)
Raimondas Kontrimas (5-8) (CD 1)
Augustinas Maceina (9-12, 22-28, 37-39) (CD 1)(1-3) (CD 2)
Birutė Vainiūnaitė (13-21, 29-36) (CD 1)
Aleksandra Juozapėnaitė (4-15, 33-45) (CD 2)
Aldona Dvarionaitė (16-32) (CD 2)