Friday, August 18, 2017

Pēteris Vasks - Plainscapes (Sigvards Kļava)


Information

Composer: Pēteris Vasks
  1. The Tomtit's Message (Zīles ziņa)
  2. Silent Songs (Klusās dziesmas): I. Nosāpi pārsāpi
  3. Silent Songs (Klusās dziesmas): II. Dusi dusi
  4. Silent Songs (Klusās dziesmas): III. Trīs meži
  5. Silent Songs (Klusās dziesmas): IV. Paldies tev vēlā saule
  6. Our Mother’s Names (Mūsu māšu vārdi)
  7. The Sad Mother (Skumjā māte)
  8. Summer (Vasara)
  9. Plainscapes (Līdzenuma ainavas)
  10. Small, Warm Holiday (Mazi, silti svētki)
  11. Birth (Piedzimšana)

Sandis Šteinbergs, violin (9)
Guna Āboltiņa, cello (9)
Jānis Kokins, percussion (11)
Latvian Radio Choir
Sigvards Kļava, conductor

Date: 2012
Label: Ondine
https://www.ondine.net/index.php?lid=en&cid=2.2&oid=4749

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Review

Environmentalist Vasks with choral pictures of Latvia

For their second disc of Vasks’s choral music on the Finnish Ondine label, the compellingly brilliant Latvian Radio Choir concentrate on his secular a cappella repertory. The texts are mostly by Latvian poets, the exception being The Sad Mother by the Chilean Gabriela Mistral (although it is sung in a Latvian translation). Their messages encompass the spiritual dimensions of nature, hope and love, sleep and yearning for the sun.

The music recorded here spans 30 years, 1978-2008, a period which included the tail end of brutal Soviet occupation to the rebirth of an independent nation, which had survived against the odds. The earliest piece, Summer, for female voices only, soars ecstatically, with the poise of Stanford’s Blue Bird. The miniature Small, Warm Holiday is equally sublime and accomplished.

Intensity and integrity are the hallmarks of Vasks’s style. He writes in a harmonically rich, reassuringly diatonic idiom, clothed in beautifully balanced and largely homophonic textures. He ranges from the introspectively evocative Silent Songs (Poulenc meeting Górecki) to the more assertive and adventurous Our Mother’s Names. Extended vocal techniques are even more to the fore in The Tomtit’s Message, with its ethereal clusters, glissandos, grunts, groans and whistles.

However, the most compelling piece is the album’s title-track, Plainscapes, an extended vocalise with string duo accompaniment, commissioned by Gidon Kremer in 2002. Although almost too harrowingly beautiful to listen to, I do recommend this magical piece, which together with its companions is performed with consummate perfection by this outstanding body of singers.

-- Malcolm Riley, Gramophone

More reviews:
ClassicsToday  ARTISTIC QUALITY: 10 / SOUND QUALITY: 10
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: **** / RECORDING: ****
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2012/Sept12/Vasks_plainscapes_ODE11942.htm
http://www.allmusic.com/album/peteris-vasks-plainscapes-mw0002279088
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vasks-Plainscapes-Ondine-ODE-1194-2/dp/B006CAXPNQ

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Pēteris Vasks (born 16 April 1946 in Aizpute, Latvia) is a Latvian composer. He trained as a violinist and a double-bass player and played in several Latvian orchestras before entering the State Conservatory in Vilnius in Lithuania to study composition with Valentin Utkin. He started to become known outside Latvia in the 1990s, when Gidon Kremer started championing his works and now is one of the most influential and praised European contemporary composers. Vasks's compositions incorporate archaic, folklore elements from Latvian music with the language of contemporary music.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C4%93teris_Vasks
https://en.schott-music.com/shop/autoren/peteris-vasks

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Sigvards Kļava (born 1962) is a Latvian choral conductor. Sigvards Kļava began working with the Latvian Radio Choir in 1987 and was appointed its Chief Conductor and Artistic Director in 1992. As one of Latvia's most prolific choral conductors, Kļava has collaborated with every leading choir and orchestra in the country, performing standard repertoire and conducting most premieres of new choral works by Latvian composers. He has recorded over 20 CDs with the Latvian Radio Choir. He teaches at the Latvian Academy of Music and the Choral College of the Riga Lutheran Cathedral.
https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigvards_K%C4%BCava
https://www.ondine.net/?lid=en&cid=3.2&oid=3225

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