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Enviable craftsmanship

21st century Latvian
symphonic music,
reviewed by

LNSO    LNSO 001

Latvian Symphonic Music - 21st Century. © 2004 Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

Four works in this concert of new Latvian music inspire a healthy curiosity, for if there is this, then there must be so much more. It is all music of high calibre from composers with a sure skill and enviable craftsmanship.

Arturs Maskats, born in 1957, composed his Tango for this orchestra in 2002 and a year later it was among the final group of pieces chosen for the London Symphony Orchestra's Masterprize. It is a wonderfully vivid evocation of a very typical dance form preserved as well in the Baltic countries as in Finland. This performance features the bandoneon, played by Aldis Jurisons, a small voice amid the ebullience at the end of the piece [listen -- track 1, 10:08-11:36].

The tone-poem Viatore by Peteris Vasks (born 1946) is a work for string orchestra, written in the summer of 2001, and tells of a traveller through life whose journey is illuminated 'by the endless silence of the starry universe' [listen -- track 2, 0:40-2:00].

Aivars Kalejs, born 1951, is both composer and organist, and was so moved by the events of 11 September 2001 that he dedicated his Musica dolente to the innocent victims -- '... what can we do against a violence that does not want to interact with the earth's love ...' with its patterns of simultaneous slow and mesmerising descending and ascending scales [listen -- track 3, 13:53-15:23].

The fourth composer featured in this exciting and valuable introduction to the Latvians is Andris Riekstins, a former principal violinist with the Television and Radio Light Orchestra, born in 1957, whose composition XX Post scriptum has a memorable muscular energy about it that holds the attention throughout its 18 minutes [listen -- track 4, 0:00-1:16].

Sound and balance is as splendid as the musical experience.

Copyright © 7 January 2006 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Latvian Symphonic Music - 21st Century

LNSO 001 Stereo FIRST RELEASE 62'15" 2004 Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

Aldis Jurisons, bandeneon (Maskats); Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; Normunds Vaicis, conductor (Maskats and Vasks); Andris Nelsons, conductor (Kalejs); Normunds Sne, conductor (Riekstins)

Arturs Maskats (born 1957): Tango (2002); Peteris Vasks (born 1946): Viatore (2001); Aivars Kalejs (born 1951): Musica dolente; Andris Riekstins (born 1957): XX Post scriptum (2001)


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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular series of shorter CD reviews